TO THE CORNER AND BACK...Tibooburra & The Gorge Loop Drive

Tibboburra is one of those towns - you either like it or not. Harsh, remote, bland- most travellers use it as a just a stop over. After we had an incident several years ago and needed to spend 2 nights here- we discovered that this area has more than meets the eye. 

Tibooburra was settled in the mid 1880's after early explores passed through namely Sturt in 1844 , then later Bourke and Wills heading to the gulf, pastoralists later returned and found gold in nearby areas. 

The backdrop at the local caravan park are large granite boulders ( aboriginal meaning is group of big rocks ), well in fact it looks like the moons surface. The main street here consists of two pubs, accommodation, general store and several touristy shops, and even though you can ‘do’ the main street on 5 minutes it still is a great still back into history if you do stop and look. The NPWS office is a great place to discover the history in this vast and unforgiving area and to grab some up to date local info. We always drink and eat at the Family Hotel where old gums grow out of the footpath and now are part of the pubs front deck- where the front deck has more up and downs than the pacific ocean- very rustic and a great food; one of the days we got talking to the publican and he showed us a secret room under the pub- apparently used for hosting parties- you know 1 girl and several guys !!!….woohoo

When out here one of my favourite drives is 24km east back out into Sturt National Park, where you can explore a massive old shearing shed and quarters, along with a pastoral museum. This is def a step back into time, there are boilers, wool scorers, a water drawing whim, engines, steam gear and a heap more. The locals and NPWS have down a great job out here to preserve the history and the gear from a past life. Just across the creek ( via a suspension bridge ) is Mount Wood Station (www.outbacknsw.com.au/mt_wood_historic_homestead_on_st ). 
Here you can wander freely through the shearing shed- and its like the workers have just knocked off- its great too as there is no rubbish and graffiti laying around. 

Another highlight is the Gorge Loop drive starting from here. Most people don’t associated this area with gorges but along this 100 km loop there are several and it is pretty spectacular.  The drive takes you through several old creek crossings, yet when it is in flood you can see old debris some 20 feet up in the trees. I would say that you rise and fall around 200 metres along this drive- doesn’t sound much but considering just how flat this landscape is- the weathering effect can be dramatic. Half way along you will come to a lookout giving you views down where the water has cut a line in the landscape over hundreds of years- and being so high you can see for literally hundreds of km’s. 

We noticed too the landscape would go from a white granite base rock then to a reddish dirt colour then change again to the typical gibber rock covering with minimal vegetation- except of course where the creeks run. Its amazing just what is out here too. About 80km along stands the remains of Horton Park Station. This outpost was setup as a remote camp away from the main station. If you take time out to wander around you can find remnants of the yards, water rows, even old bottles, and even though the old house still stands- one can only imagine the bloody hardships these folk would of endured. I mean the main complain we had were the freeking flies !!!

Continuing on we were amazed again at the amount of emus that were still around considering that it had been a hard year out here with a lack of water, but thats the way it goes out here. It wasn’t long before we got closer to the end of the loop drive and we popped out on the main road back to Tibooburra. Turning left here towards town we decided also to explore another camp that we had heard of and was told it was pretty good- Dead horse gully !!!!. Now while the camp was very very basic with most campsites tucked in amongst big granite boulders- there were def no facilitates. I will take the caravan park in town any day. Another spot where you can get some great shots and see just how remote this place is- is the sunset lookout, about 2 km north of town on the eastern side you walk ( or more like scramble ) to the top of this 100 metre high rocky outcrop giving you great views all the way around town. 


The gorge loop drive normally takes around 3-4 hours to complete if you want to explore all the points of interest along the way- but it def should be on your to do list here in town, not just a stop over as you race further west. 

With vast skies, iridescent colours and moonscape rocky outcrops- I do love Tibooburra. 




















                                              

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