Blessed with a rich Indigenous culture, Bourke is a charming gateway to Australia’s Outback and has hosted many notable poets over the years. This town sits on the Darling River and features a historic river port, a smattering of bakeries and restaurants and surrounding nature conservation areas.
Things to do in Bourke
Discover the history of Bourke at the Back O’ Bourke Exhibition Centre by exploring the interactive displays on Afghan cameleers, old paddle steamers, the native Indigenous people and famous bush poets, such as Henry Lawson and William Ogilvie. Don’t forget about the Back O’ Bourke Gallery, which houses stunning Outback scenery paintings by one of Australia’s best Outback artists, Jenny Greentree.
Are you looking for an authentic Bourke experience? Hop aboard the modern PV Jandra paddle steamer for a leisurely cruise down the Darling River. The two-hour cruise takes you past native river flora and fauna while teaching you about Bourke’s fascinating river boating history. You can see more of Bourke’s river port heritage at the Old Bourke Wharf, which is surrounded by lush scenery.
When hunger strikes, head to the Diggers on the Darling in Bourke for hearty Australian fare in a pub-style setting. There’s also Morrall’s Bakery on Mitchell Street for sweet treats and fresh pastries, while the Bourke Bowling Club serves up affordable pub meals and cold beer. It’s near Central Park, a spacious grassy area with ample room for sports and running.
Drive about 40 minutes from Bourke to visit Gundabooka National Park, where you can discover Aboriginal rock paintings and stay in the historic Shearers’ Quarters. Gunderbooka State Conservation Area is about one hours’ drive away and features hikes to lookouts with panoramic views across treetops and waterways.
Getting around Bourke
Bourke is about nine hours’ drive from Sydney along the Mitchell Highway. You can explore the centre of town on foot but will need a car to venture further afield.