White Cliffs, Outback New South Wales
Corner Country, Outback Australia
Like silence? Tired of the bright lights and noises of the city and want a really quite night's sleep under a million brilliant stars? White Cliffs has that for a truly restful night and plenty to explore during the day. White Cliffs is Australia's oldest (seam) opal field and developed from a chance finding of opal in the 1880's by a group of 'Roo' shooters and the opal rush began.
White Cliffs' population peaked in the late 1890's at around 5,000 and started to decline after WW1 and now boasts a population of around 200 people.
With the exception to a few essential travellers' services, most of White Cliffs is underground and it is a truly remarkable experience; even for those who may baulk at the life underground.
The early days of mining opal and living in White Cliffs were harsh; outback heat, water shortages and lack of building materials sent the population underground.
Today, the underground town works very well for locals and traveller and scarcity of water that the early settlers experienced is solved nowadays with extensive use of rainwater tanks. This plus a classic outback pub means the traveller will not go thirsty.
The famous Australian cricketer Bill O'Reilly (1905-1992) who Don Bradman referred to as the 'greatest bowler he ever faced', is White Cliffs favourite son. Bill's father was a school teacher in White Cliffs.
White Cliffs is an very easy 98km drive from Wilcannia on sealed road and is a great side trip of the Darling River Run and joining up to the Run (at Broken Hill or Wilcannia) allows the traveller to experience the Wilcannia <> Tilpa and Wilcannia <> Menindee sections.
Or, for the adventurous, a loop back to Broken Hill via Mutawintji National Park (gravel road) is highly recommended.
Driving to White Cliffs
As a general overview:
Warrego Highway <> Newell Highway <>Gwydir Highway <> Darling River Road <> White Cliffs Road: Distance = 1,343km approx
Castlereagh Highway > Golden Highway <> Mitchell Highway <> Barrier Highway <> White Cliffs Road: Distance = 1,043km approx
Hume Highway <> Cobb Highway <> Long Paddock <> White Cliffs Road: Distance = 909km aprox
Barrier Highway <> White Cliffs Road: Distance = 806km approx
White Cliffs Weather Outlook
White Cliffs See & Do...
- Opal Mining
- Sleeping Underground
- Peery Lake
- Paroo-Darling National
- Park Mutawintji National Park