Mutawintji - Opal Loop

White Cliffs is one of the truly 'must-see' destinations in the whole of Outback New South Wales. An easy 92km drive along the sealed Opal Miner's Way from Wilcannia will have you in this unique place in no time.

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 alternate route to/from Broken Hill (Dry Weather) is via Mutawintji National Park (and historic Site)

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.

Mutawintji National Park and the Mutawintji Historic site is an extremely special place for the living culture and spirituality of Indigenous Australians The historic site has an extensive history as an Aboriginal ceremonial site relevant to many indigenous groups from the Darling River Region and beyond.

The Route:

Broken Hill < > Mutawintji NP < > White Cliffs:

  • Distance = 275km - about 4 hrs 15 mins
  • Route: Silver City Highway <> White Cliffs Road

White Cliffs < > Wilcannia < > Broken Hill:

  • Distance = 290km - about 3 hrs
  • Route: Opal Miners Way <> Barrier Highway