We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Driving Broken Hill to Canberra

Which Broken Hill hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Canberra, Australia
posts: 18
reviews: 42
Driving Broken Hill to Canberra

We will be driving back to Canberra from South Australia via Broken Hill in August. As the outward journey to SA was along the Murray, we want to go a different way back, probably via Hay. (We have seen a lot of the countryside between Dubbo and Canberra on previous trips and so don't particulalry want to go that way this time.)

Looking at the map, the options seem to be to drive to Hay via Mildura or via Ivanhoe. The distances are about the same (and we aren't in a hurry anyway). What I am unsure of is how good the roads are. The Mildura route is sealed highway all the way but I am not sure about the Ivanhoe route. My road directory shows the road from Wilcannia to Ivanhoe as unsealed. Is that still the case? (It is an old directory). There is also a route via Minindee but I assume that that is a much worse road. I am prepared to use unsealed roads if they are good ones but am a bit wary of them. Also, which is the more scenic route?

7 replies to this topic
Sydney, Australia
posts: 633
reviews: 6
1. Re: Driving Broken Hill to Canberra

The Cobb Highway is still unsealed between Wilcannia and Ivanhoe - the local member complained about it in Parliament the other day:


It's still a highway so it's probably ok for 2WD vehicles, just take it sensibly.

Unless you have a sturdy vehicle (4WD) and it has been dry for some time, I wouldn't recommend the Ivanhoe-Menindee road. It is not in good condition for an unsealed road like the Cobb Highway is. Keep an eye on this for road closures:


I have not driven roads north of Hay, but the road between the Victorian Border and Hay is very uninteresting - the Hay Plain is simply that, miles and miles of open space without anything growing except very low scrub.

Edited: 7:48 am, May 11, 2011
Canberra, Australia
posts: 18
reviews: 42
2. Re: Driving Broken Hill to Canberra

Thanks RodSyd. That's very helpful

South Pole
posts: 15,408
reviews: 38
3. Re: Driving Broken Hill to Canberra

we did batemans bay, hay mildura and broken hill and on.

the sturt hwy is a dream to drive on. watch the radar traps.

and i love the hay plains.

hay looks a great place to stay. we stopped in narrandara which was a bit underwhelming.

and from BH to mildura be sure u have a full tank. the half way house was out of petrol when we went thru. not an unusual event we found out later.

Canberra, Australia
posts: 18
reviews: 42
4. Re: Driving Broken Hill to Canberra

Thanks lien.

Canberra, Australia
posts: 481
reviews: 90
5. Re: Driving Broken Hill to Canberra

I drove the Pooncarrie track in an L series Subaru wagon a few years ago - it was fine. Unsealed but well graded. The Pooncarrie pub was a nice little stopover. Maybe they'd let you park out the back overnight?

I don't know about the Menindee - Ivanhoe road. (one could assume its similar?) Maybe if you go to Menindee and ask from there. Menindee is worth a stop, but no great difference from most of western NSW. dry, flat + some lakes and wiers. Theres plent of camping in Kinchega, just out of town.

I also like the Hay plains. There's some great dawn/sunset photo shots and wildlife out near the Yanga NR. Theres a couple of spots to pull off out that way too.

PS dont rush back to ACT - its freezing!



Sydney Australia
posts: 6,976
reviews: 61
6. Re: Driving Broken Hill to Canberra

We just recently did a trip very similar to what you are contemplating. Lots of the dirt roads have been closed, so keep an eye on that and choose your route at the last minute if you're thinking of tackling the dirt.

A very useful site is


We wanted a trip different to the Dubbo route so went out to Broken Hill, by turning off the Hume at Bowning and through Temora to West Wyalong then next day up from there to Cobar via Lake Cargelligo which involved 30 kms of dirt. Open when we (and others) were coming through, but it was pretty borderline after rain overnight along that stretch.

Return we came down from Broken Hill to Wentworth and then ducked across for a paddlesteamer ride, before heading across to Hay. I agree fill up at BH before you leave. Especially if setting off early.

Lots to do in Hay and the sound and light show at Shear Outback we found very funny when we did it the previous time we came through. The next day we took our time heading over to Cootamundra. and finally, headed back via Boorowa and Crookwell. Lovely scenic driving all the way. Very relaxing. We also took a detour up to Grenfell on that last day just cause we love the butcher there.. even with that we were home early in the afternoon. I was shocked actually. It looked like a very roundabout way to go, but it was quicker from Grenfell to come back down through Boorowa and Crookwell, than it is slogging your way along through from Bathurst and down the mountains.

...and I too am a fan of the Hay plain. I love it more every time I drive across it. .. it is really at its best with clouds about. That's the one down side to heading from Hay towards Narrandera rather than to West Wyalong, it's not as empty.

Sydney Australia
posts: 6,976
reviews: 61
7. Re: Driving Broken Hill to Canberra

oh, I probably should have mentioned that it's not just the rain to look out for with the road closures. They were saying when we were out in the west that they are expecting the latest batch of Qld floodwater to be coming through in a few months, and that can interfere with some of the routes also. There was water lying about everywhere out in the far west. and it looks set to continue.

Reply to: Driving Broken Hill to Canberra
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted