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Travel in Australia and New Zealand

Broken Hill the Biggest City in the Middle of Nowhere
By:Sidney Morgan

Best known as the "Silver City" because of the rich deposits of silver and other minerals that are mined there, Broken Hill, is also often thought of as the capital of the outback. The locals jokingly refer to their city as the "biggest city in the middle of nowhere." Actually, that is a good description and is one of Broken Hill's most alluring attractions.

You will probably find there is something oddly familiar about Broken Hill when you visit there. You will look at the landscape or down the main street of town and get that feeling of déj vu, as if you have been there before. In a way, you probably have, since the town and its surrounds have been shown in well over a hundred feature films, including classics like Mad Max II and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Broken Hill is primarily a mining town, so you might assume that it is a rough and tumble town without many cultural attractions. When you get there, you will be amazed to discover what a thriving arts community calls Broken Hill home and how many fine art galleries there are in the town. After you've spent a couple of days taking in the scenery, you will know why. There is something magical about the light and the landscape in this part of the outback.

Many visitors remark that there seems to be something mystical about the outback around Broken Hill. It may be because you feel like you have stepped outside of time when you behold the vast red desert spread out before you. As you watch a kangaroo hop in the distance, you could easily be an aboriginal looking at the same thing, some 40,000 years ago. At the same time that time vanishes, the vastness of the landscape and the brilliance of the colours seems to transport you through space.

In order to really appreciate Broken Hill, you have to go to the Living Desert Reserve. When this reserve was established in 1992, it was intended to be a way for everyone to be able to experience the grandeur of the outback and to help protect the local wildlife from the predators that were threatening some of them with extinction. The 2400 hectare reserve has succeeded marvelously with both of these ambitions.

Also within the Living Desert Reserve is the Sculpture Symposium. Situated on the top of a hill in the middle of the reserve, it features 12 magnificent contemporary sculptures carved out of the natural stone on the hill. It is impossible to come away from a walk on the Cultural Walk Trail feeling anything less than inspired.

You may become so enamoured of the outback in Broken Hill, you will want to sleep under the stars rather than indoors. This is easily done. One very popular campground is located in Mutawintiji National Park, where you can see some amazing 8000 year old examples of aboriginal rock art. If you prefer to stay at an indoor Broken Hill accommodation, you can do so in style, so there's no excuse for not visiting "the biggest city in the middle of nowhere."

Get away with the family for a few days, find accommodation in Broken Hill, activities and other travel related information about the area. Or visit our Australia blog http://ozblog.net.au/ for more Australian holiday ideas.

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