- Copyright © Simon Bayliss 2008-21
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The Darling River Run
The Complete Touring Guide
All Route Options
Around 2006 I took a trip into the unknown, a journey of discovery, and got as far as the drought-ravaged Darling River (at Louth). Even though the river was not flowing there was something magical about it.
Within its banks, the riverbed exuded intangible energy that stirred something in me. I had to learn more and discover the mystical river that has been an integral part of the First Nations, particularly the Barkindji, who have been living in the area for over 30,000 years and the European explorers and pastoralists who came much later.
It can be bone dry or in high-flow; either way, it enables people to connect to each other and to the river itself.
In 2008 I was commissioned to photograph, research, and write content about this ethereal element of Outback NSW. This passion culminated in developing the original, and still the best (IMHO) online resource for travelling the Darling River and greater Far West NSW region. (I believe it is the best because I travel across the area a few times a year; it is a PASSION!)
Over the last decade, I have travelled the entire Darling River over 20 times...
Want to know my preferred route, highlights and accommodation options? Check my Darling River Run Best Route page.
What are all the options? Continue reading as below is my Complete Guide to the Darling River Run.
The Upper Darling River
Walgett to Louth
The upper section of the Darling River Run encompasses the tributaries that flow from Queensland's Darling Downs, primarily the Condamine > Balonne > Culgoa rivers, the Border Rivers, and those that flow north-west like the Macquarie, Namoi, and Barwon.
Iconic towns like Walgett, Brewarrina, Bourke, and Louth provide unique experiences for the Outback NSW visitor (not to mention Lightning Ridge to the north, which is a great option). The upper Darling towns and regions are rich in indigenous history and living culture and European pastoral history.
The Central Darling River
Louth to Menindee Section
The middle (or central) section of the Darling River Run covers the more remote and outback river plain; including the ephemeral Paroo River.
Iconic towns like Tilpa, Wilcannia and Menindee (Menindee Lakes) offer plenty if iconic outback experiences.
The Lower Darling River
Menindee to Wentworth Section
The Lower Darling section of the Darling River Run, Menindee Lakes to Wentworth, covers some of the best outback attractions and Outback NSW experiences, including the iconic Lake Mango (Mungo National Park), a must-see destination with its much-photographed Walls of China, dunes, and Lunette landscapes.
Lake Mungo is more about just an outback landscape of ethereal beauty. It has its own unique story, particularly one about the richness of indigenous culture.
The other prominent unique feature of the Lower Darling is the Murray River and Darling River confluence; the point the two rivers meet before continuing, as one, to Lake Alexandrina.
The Darling River Run - Complete Touring Map and Guide
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*** Safe Outback Travel ***
Before heading out to the outback, for the safety of you and fellow travellers (and as a courtesy to those living in the outback), please to the Safe Outback Travel for tips and hints to get the most out of your next adventure.