The addition of the nationally renowned Outback Show to Bourke's tourism line-up will see the iconic outback town claim a stake in the increasingly important regional tourism industry, according to Bourke shire council tourism and development manager Phil Johnston.
The Outback show, which features horseman Luke Thomas and his bullocks, camels, stock and heavy horses, was a major drawcard in Longreach and now is proving to be the same in Bourke.
In addition to the town's already established and highly regarded Back O' Bourke Exhibition centre and the popular Jandra paddle boat tours of the Darling River, Bourke now has much to offer the growing number of regional tourists, Mr Johnston said.
“Our research shows that people are choosing to stay longer in the town because there's just so much more to do here,” he said. “We're attracting more visitors who are deciding that Bourke is a must-see destination on their itinerary and most of our visitors are surprised about how much there is to see and do once they get here, and how beautiful the town is.”
Bourke visitors are well catered for with a range of accommodation, from luxury cabins to budget motels and free camp sites. As well as the big three ticketed attractions – the Outback Show, the Exhibition Centre and the Jandra paddle boat – Bourke also offers a thriving cafe culture, quality gift shops and a range of dining options.
The town is also blessed to be set among some of the outback's most spectacular natural wonders. Gundabooka National park boasts a stunning landscape of red ochres and easy access to ancient aboriginal rock art. Mt Oxley offers views to the horizon and the Darling River is a haven for bird life and also offers great fishing.
“We've worked hard to improve what we can offer visitors to the town,” Mr Johnston said. “We are growing the tourism product, giving more options to our visitors and encouraging them to stay longer to experience what a real outback town is like.
“Bourke is a surprise to most people. We value our visitors and try to offer them an unforgettable experience.”