Outback NSW, the accessible outback, is an easy drive from Melbourne and the various options take in some iconic and historical routes. The Kidman Way, The Long Paddock are two that provide great opportunities to experience the Riverina and the Murray River. For those that like the road less travelled, there is a great option to experience the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians and the Riverland around Wentworth and the Murray-Darling confluence.
Driving to the Outback NSW from Melbourne
Outback NSW, the accessible outback, is an easy drive from Melbourne and the various options take in some iconic and historical routes.
The Kidman Way, The Long Paddock are two that provide great opportunities to experience the Riverina and the Murray River.
For those that like the road less travelled, there is a great option to experience the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians and the Riverland around Wentworth and the Murray-Darling confluence.
Melbourne to Wentworth
Along the Calder - Mallee - Sunrasia Highways: (Distance = 837km approx)
The most direct route to Broken Hill from Melbourne is along the Calder freeway and allows the traveller to experience a pleasant drive though the Western Districts of Victoria, up though the Mallee, onto Mildura then follow the Murray westward to Wentworth (where the Murray and Darling Rivers Meet).
These are two great places for a stopover. The trip to Broken Hill can either be straight up the Silver City Highway or along the Darling River Run through Pooncarie and the magnificent Menindee Lakes. This route also provides the opportunity to visit Lake Mungo National Park.
Great Ocean Road - 12 Apostles - Grampians - Mildura: (Distance = 1,205km approx)
By far the best route (if time permits) is the tour via the Great Ocean Road, Cape Otway, the Grampians, Victoria's Western Districts, and the Murray Riverland.
The Great Ocean Road is regarded by many as the greatest coastal drive in Australia, and one of the Top 10 in the world. Taking in Torquay, Bells Beach, Anglesea, Lorne and Apollo Bay, the route then traverses Cape Otway. The route then heads west along the spectacular shipwrecked Coast and the magnificent 12 Apostles, Port Campbell and finally, Warrnambool. Leaving the coast, the tour continues northward though the dramatically changing Victorian landscape to the Grampians NP and Halls Gap.
From The Grampians, it is a pleasant drive up to the fruit growing region of Sunraysia (to Mildura) and then following the Murray downstream to its junction with the Darling River at Wentworth.
From the Murray Darling confluence at Wentworth, the run up the Silver City Highway finishes the journey at Broken Hill or alternatively via Lake Mungo or straight up the Darling River to Menindee then across to the Broken Hill.
Melbourne to Wilcannia
The Northern Highway - The Long Paddock:: (Distance = 1,075km approx)
To route from Melbourne via the Long Paddock takes in the Murray River at Echuca (a wonderful stopover), before joining the start of the Cobb Highway at Moama and running up through Mathoura, Deniliquin, Wanganella, Booroorban, Hay, Booligal, Ivanhoe Wilcannia.
Along the historic Long Paddock they are some great interpretive artworks that tell the story of this iconic stock route.
The route then joins the Barrier Highway for the run westwards to Broken Hill. Echuca is one of those destinations that everyone should put on their list of places to experience. The Port of Echuca is Australia's paddleboat capital and one of the best places to experience the Murray River.
The history of the river and its contribution to opening up the pastoral country has been beautifully preserved and showcases the majestic nature of this region.
Melbourne to Bourke
Kidman Way via Cobb & Riverina Highway: (Distance = 837km approx)
The Kidman Way is a great touring route through Shepparton before crossing the Murray River at Tocumwal which is a great place for a stopover to experience the grandeur of one of our greatest rivers.
Continuing north, the Kidman Way provides a wonderful drive through Darlington Point at the Murrumbidgee River, Griffith, Hillston, Cobar, and onto Bourke.
The last section, Cobar to Bourke, passes Gundabooka National Park, one that should be put on the list of things to do and see.