Mutawintji NP - White Cliffs Loop
Outback NSW Touring
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There are many outback towns that claim to be ‘really unique’ but White Cliffs is really one one of the truly 'must-see' destinations.
It is very small by comparison to Lightning Ridge, another Opal mining town but here, most of the living is done underground. A wonderful 92km drive along the sealed Opal Miner's Way from Wilcannia will have you in this unique place in no time and for those that like 'the road less travelled' and want to take in Mutawintji National Park and White Cliffs without having to back track, this loop (Dry weather gravel only) is a fantastic drive.
The oldest opal field in Australia, White Cliffs, developed from a chance finding of Opal in the 1880's by a group of kangaroo shooters and was where it all started in terms of Australian Opals and its 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.
The early days were harsh with outback heat, water shortages and lack of building materials to contend with so with outback ingenuity, the locals headed underground.
Today, the underground town works very well for locals and travellers alike and is well worth a visit.
This side-trip also takes in Mutawintji National Park with its evocative historic site (guided access only).
Mutawintji National Park is one of the most moving and culturally significant areas of NSW and should be put towards the top of any visitor wish list. The wonderful sandstone ridges and gorges fills the senses with wonderment and is one of those places where you can feel the cultural significance of the area and the land; and why it so significant to the indigenous culture.
Broken Hill <> Mutawintji NP <> White Cliffs:
- Route: Silver City Highway <> White Cliffs Road <> Opal Miners Way (366 km - about 5 hours) - Sealed & Unsealed