Start at the Back O' Bourke Information and Exhibition Centre. Set your tripmetre when leaving the carpark.
Take the Mitchell Highway to North Bourke and then the Wanaaring Road.
20km - pass the Cornerstone Community, which was established in 1978 and operated for 27 years, before its closure at the end of 2005. Pera Bore was the first artesian bore-irrigated experimental farm in Australia. Sunk in 1896, the bore serviced a government farm, as well as 30 small blocks.
32km - take the Louth turnoff. You will pass through heavily timbered red country, with a large variety of trees: mulga, gidgee, bimble box, wilga, sandalwood, leopard trees, beefwood, coolabah, etc.
77km - Toorale plough sign. This station was part of the McCaughey wool empire of the 1880s. His stations were the first in the world to use mechanical shears and electricity. Henry Lawson worked here in 1892, and wrote many of his shearing shed stories and poems. Now a national park, Toorale is home to some of the best floodplain landscapes in Australia. While you are passing through, enjoy the ‘Darling River Camp’ (Yapara Paaka Thuru), and the ’Many big rocks’ picnic area (Kannu Yalpa).
Continue to Louth, where a punt was one of the only ways across the Darling-Baaka River. Have a drink at ‘Shindy’s Inn’, and visit the Mary Matthews monument in the historic cemetery. Erected by T. H. Matthews for his first wife, it was bought up-river in sections by paddle steamer in 1886.
10km downstream from Louth, on the western banks of the Darling-Baaka River, is Dunlop Station, home of the first shearing shed in the southern hemisphere ever to complete a full mechanical shearing in 1888. You can take a tour of Dunlop Station shearing shed and homestead and stay at their river campsites.
14km downstream is Trilby Station, once part of Dunlop Station. Visit Trilby’s open-air museum of early settlers’ farm machinery and steam engines. The Murray’s cater for up to 28 guests in their self-contained cottages, bunkhouse, and homestead. They also have lawned, powered sites, and river camping.
10km downstream from Trilby Station is Tilpa - be sure to visit the Tilpa Hotel. Read other visitors’ comments on the wall, and have a drink outside, in their beer garden overlooking the Darling-Baaka River. Hot meals and accommodation are also available.
2km upstream from Tilpa - above the weir, is the historic Kallara Station, established in 1857. In 1877, the first bore in Australia was successfully drilled here. The McClures can accommodate 24 people at their Coolabah Lodge, and with 32km of river frontage Kallara is ideal for fishing holidays.
47km upstream from Tilpa is Idalia Outback Riverstay where you will experience quiet riverside, grassed, powered sites.
East side of the river
30km north of Louth - trek back to Bourke on the other side of the river, stopping at historic Rose Isle Station, with its 1897 homestead. The ‘Moorings’ offer a fantastic morning tea each day, during visitor season, and a variety of accommodation options, including lawned powered sites, river camp sites, as well as a self-contained cottage, shearers quarters, and cabins. Meals are available on request.
40km from Rose Isle Station - Gundabooka National Park has many walking trails and the Mulgowan art site. it’s well worth stopping in on your way back to Bourke or camping the night.