When poring over maps there’s no doubt the Corner Country is a fair hike from Brisbane, but if you break up your drive it won’t seem that far at all.
We started our journey from Brisbane and headed southwest via Goondiwindi and Moree, where there is a free camp just out of Brewarrina situated on the Barwon River that gives you a prime waterfront spot perfect for the first stop on your travels. Take a refreshing swim in the river or a shower in the amenities that are available here and you’ll be raring to go onto your next stop.
4x4 Adventure Series: Season 2 - Corner Country
We got on the road early and pointed towards Tilpa. We know a station owner with a property on the Darling River and we were treated to a wonderful free camp on his property. The drought has had a big impact on this area and the bulldust out here is so thick you can almost cut it with a knife; the toll on all the farmers out west has been huge and there’s no doubt they appreciate travellers spending some coin in the area, either at the local pub or corner store.
Without the tourists, these small towns and businesses cannot keep their doors open. If you need basic supplies here, like ice or fuel or a cold beer, the Tilpa Pub has you covered.
4x4 explore: Darling River, NSW
There’s plenty of history to be found along the banks of the Darling River if you know where to look. As well as the graves of two young girls who tragically drowned in the river in the 1800s, there’s the grave of John Mark (a manager of a property called Marra) who was murdered in 1887. These are perched high up on the banks overlooking one of the winding bends that snake through this property. Time and seasons have taken their toll on them and there isn’t much left to see, but there’s enough left to have you thinking about how hard life would have been like back in those days.
Our next stop was farther west through Wilcannia, and then on to Broken Hill, before we stopped in the world-famous town of Silverton which was the location for the filming of Mad Max 2. Silverton is also famous for its scattered mining ruins, art galleries and pub, and now also boasts a bakery.
If you’re into sunsets, then Mundi Mundi lookout is the place to go, although you might have to share it with all the other travellers that pass through. The lookout stands over the spot where the famous tuck crash was filmed for Mad Max 2.
We set up camp at Penrose Park Camping Area, about 2km out of Silverton. You need a permit to camp here, but the rewards include the clean amenities and generous space to fit everyone in. It’s great for one night or more and highly recommended.
Country Pub: Silverton Hotel
On the road again we headed back to Broken Hill to refuel and get some supplies driving north towards Tibooburra. Halfway along, we stumbled on the Packsaddle Roadhouse where we pulled up stumps for the night. The temperature was climbing into the mid-40˚Cs and the showers here were a nice way to cool down. After a good rest we got away before sunrise and then arrived in Tibooburra, the ‘Capital of Corner Country’, ready for the New Year’s Rodeo, which was a fantastic way to ring in 2020.
Leaving Tibooburra for Cameron Corner, you’re soon off the blacktop and are met with sections of soft red dirt, with ruts that can swallow your wheels right at the top of blind rises. Airing down is advisable, as is driving to the conditions, remembering that despite the isolation there’s always the chance of encountering oncoming traffic. You know you’ve made it when you’re greeted by the dingo fence; if you open a gate you must close it … and this is non-negotiable.
To stand in three states at once is a great feeling and for us it was a great feeling to know that we’d made it to the border of New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, but then we realised how much farther we had to go to get back home!
The road northeast from Cameron Corner to Noccundra proved worse (read: rougher) than the road from Tibooburra, and the 240km trek took us six hours to complete. Cracking that first beer, once we arrived at our campsite along the Wilson River in Noccundra, was a godsend … and what a scenic place to sip on an ale while watching the sun go down. We had the whole place to ourselves, which wasn’t really a surpise seeing as we hadn’t seen another car since leaving Cameron Corner. The Noccundra Pub is a good spot for a feed, refuel and refresh, with showers available.
Heading east, we passed through Eulo and stopped for a photo with the Big Wombat and a beer at the Eulo Queen Hotel where had a chat with the publican who said it was pretty warm outside ... 48°C to be precise! Let’s just say the beers went down a treat. After just over 500km done and dusted, we stopped at another free camp in Bollon on the banks of the Wallam Creek, which proved to be a nice spot to relax after the long, hot day on the road.
Another iconic pub to stop at is the Nindigully Pub, which provided another opportunity for a cold beer while checking out the plethora of memorabilia on the walls. From here we headed home, but only after reflecting on what was one epic 3650km bucket-list trip that we can now tick off. Not to mention we did it in the hottest part of the year, and while towing brand-new off-road camper trailers.
The small towns out west need us. Whether you just stop for a beer or do a whole grocery shop and fill up with fuel, every little bit counts. And what a beautiful country we live in ... so vast, so dry and so breathtaking.
What a wonderful world at 4x4 Explore
We only paid for camping at Penrose Park at Silverton:
$10 pp/pn (with very clean amenities and heaps of space).
The rest of our campsites were free.
Toilets and showers at Penrose Park, Silverton.
Toilets and showers at Noccundra.
Toilets at Bollon.
Mostly red dirt, dusty, rocky, rutted, shaley, corrogated roads.
10 days on the road – 3650km
Hottest camp: Packsaddle Roadhouse at 44°C.
Hottest place we drove through: Eulo at 48°C – we had a beer at the pub there!