Port Augusta - Sydney via Barrier
and Mitchell Highways
Total Distance 1,571km
All distances measured from Port Augusta
Take the Princes Highway (Hwy 1) out of Port Augusta and just
south of town you pass the road (Hwy 47) to Quorn and the Flinders
Ranges. Then you come to a junction (22km) and take the Main North
Road (Hwy 56) to Wilmington (44km) . On the right you will see
Mt Remarkable and there is access to the Mount Remarkable National
We stay with Highway 56 to Orroroo (97km) and Peterborough(148km)
where you need to turn left (still on Hwy 56) and continue for
14km to the junction with the Barrier Hwy (Hwy 32) where you again
turn left. We will stay on the Barrier Highway for the next 857km
with the next major centre being Broken Hill (417km). Here the
clear desert air and colourful landscape has inspired well known
artists like Pro Hart to take up residence and produce some of
their best works.
Mining has been a feature of the town for more than a century
and this is reflected in the names of the wide streets and in
the many fine buildings built in earlier more prosperous times.
There is a Royal Flying Doctor Service base here and the School
of the Air takes care of education for children from a vast area
of the outback.
We are passing through fairly arid areas for the first part of
this trip but at Wilcania (613km) we come to the Darling River
- Australiaís longest waterway where riverboats and paddle
steamers provided a lifeline for remote communities and mining
areas until the coming of railways made them redundant.
After crossing the Darling the highway continues on to Cobar (874km)
and the intersection with the Kidman Way (Hwy 87). The town was
at one time the centre of a booming copper mining industry.
The Barrier Highway (Hwy 32) comes to its end at Nyngan (1,005km)
when it meets up with the Mitchell Highway ( now also Hwy 32).
The river flats on the banks of the Bogan River are ideal pasture
lands but very flood-prone. During dry weather, it is hard to
imagine the scene here during the disastrous floods of 1990 -
flooding was a recurring problem but, after the 1990 flood, high
levee banks were built to give some protection in times of future
From Nyngan we travel just 56km to the junction (1,061km) with
the Oxley Highway (Hwy 34) that goes to Warren and links with
the Newell Highway (Hwy 39) at Gilgandra.
Our route takes us to Narromine (1,129km) on the Macquarrie River
in wheat country. A short drive after this brings us to the city
that claims to be the heart of the ëGolden Westí -
Dubbo (1,170km) - and this is a major industrial and commercial
centre with much to attract the tourist. Probably the best known
of these attractions is the Western Plains Zoo but the area has
plenty of other things that can make a short stay worthwhile.
Leaving Dubbo behind we follow the Macquarrie River down to Wellington
(1,220km) and then on to Molong (1,284km) before reaching the
large and prosperous city of Orange (1,323km). The name of this
town that owes its origins to gold rush days, has nothing to do
with oranges and in fact the orchards in the surrounding districts
are known for their apple crops.
The next major centre also owes its beginings to the gold rushes
- Bathhurst (1,376km) . Overlooking the city is Mount Panorama
known to motor racing enthusiasts all over the world as the home
of 'The Great Race' - the annual 1,000km tussle between the big
Ford and Holden V8s.
From Bathurst with its many attractions we head for the coal mining
and industrial centre of Lithgow (1,435km) and from there find
ourselves in the fabulous Blue Mountains when we reach the popular
tourist centre of Katoomba (1,474km). A cable car ride across
the gorge gives fantastic views of the valley far below and the
district abounds with spectacular and photogenic scenery like
ëThe Three Sistersí and similar rock formations.
Leaving Katoomba and its many nearby attractions, the highway
descends the mountain as it passes through the Blue Mountains
National Park and then joins the M4 Motorway. (1,571km)