The magnificent and majestic Darling River, with its primary source on Queensland's Darling Downs, meanders its way south west through Outback NSW onto its confluence with the Murray River at Wentworth on the NSW/Victorian border before flowing as one through South Australian and onto Lake Alexandrina.
Part of the Murray Darling Basin, which covers 1,061,469 square kilometres (14% of the total area of Australia), the Darling River is Australia's longest river flowing 2,739 km.
The river has always been an integral part of indigenous culture and was named the Darling after being 'discovered' by explorer Charles Sturt in 1829 who named it in honour of Sir Ralph Darling - the then Governor of New South Wales.
Steeped in indigenous and European history, the towns of the Darling River provide unique experiences for the traveller and not trip through though Outback NSW or Corner Country would not be complete without experiences this unique outback towns.
Early navigation of the Darling River provided an insight to how the Outback could be opened up for pastoral activities and for this to be realised, river ports along its length would be needed. With the ports, towns grew around them to service the river trade and the outlying farms.
Towns like Wentworth, Wilcannia and Bourke became integral centres for the transport of Australia's wool clip and today, the centres still provide a similar integral link; although the transport today is not by the river but via road and rail.
Boasting some of the best in NSW, the Darling River national Parks provide not only a great way to experience the rich pastoral and indigenous history, but also the ethereal beauty of the landscape along the river.
The indigenous culture along the Darling is rich and many National Parks provide wonderful insights to the river’s significance to the many indigenous groups who have live on its banks and surrounding plains.
Parks like Kinchega and Gundabooka have wonderful facilities for day-visits as well as wonderful campgrounds for traditional and RV camping as accommodation facilities in shearers quarters and the like.
The Darling River Run is one of the great outback driving adventures and includes routes along the river as well as many side-trips allowing the visitor to experience the best of Outback NSW.
Touring the Darling River, whether the entire length or just a small section, provides a great insight to its towns, National Parks, history and indigenous culture.
With a vast array of experience and accommodation along the way, it provides a great additional to those venturing further into the outback and into the Corner Country.
The Darling River has always been the lifeblood for those who live on its banks or surrounding plains; wether indigenous or European. The living Indigenous culture of the region reveals an amazing lineage reaching back over 20,000 years and documents the intimate relationship and understanding that indigenous people have with this land.
While the European connection to the region is far less in time, it is in many ways no less significant and today, we are appreciating the European history and culture to a greater extent and with a greater form of identity; much the same as the indigenous culture and history.
This connection is what makes us Australian and a trip through Outback NSW and along the Darling provides a wonderful opportunity to further understand our history in the context of the early explorers, pastoralist as well the indigenous cultures.