Port Augusta - Sydney via Barrier and Mitchell Highways
Total Distance 1,571km
All distances measured from Port Augusta

Take the Princes Highway (Hwy 1) out of Port Augusta and just south of town you pass the road (Hwy 47) to Quorn and the Flinders Ranges. Then you come to a junction (22km) and take the Main North Road (Hwy 56) to Wilmington (44km) . On the right you will see Mt Remarkable and there is access to the Mount Remarkable National Park fromWilmington.

We stay with Highway 56 to Orroroo (97km) and Peterborough(148km) where you need to turn left (still on Hwy 56) and continue for 14km to the junction with the Barrier Hwy (Hwy 32) where you again turn left. We will stay on the Barrier Highway for the next 857km with the next major centre being Broken Hill (417km). Here the clear desert air and colourful landscape has inspired well known artists like Pro Hart to take up residence and produce some of their best works.

Mining has been a feature of the town for more than a century and this is reflected in the names of the wide streets and in the many fine buildings built in earlier more prosperous times. There is a Royal Flying Doctor Service base here and the School of the Air takes care of education for children from a vast area of the outback.

We are passing through fairly arid areas for the first part of this trip but at Wilcania (613km) we come to the Darling River - Australiaís longest waterway where riverboats and paddle steamers provided a lifeline for remote communities and mining areas until the coming of railways made them redundant.

After crossing the Darling the highway continues on to Cobar (874km) and the intersection with the Kidman Way (Hwy 87). The town was at one time the centre of a booming copper mining industry.

The Barrier Highway (Hwy 32) comes to its end at Nyngan (1,005km) when it meets up with the Mitchell Highway ( now also Hwy 32). The river flats on the banks of the Bogan River are ideal pasture lands but very flood-prone. During dry weather, it is hard to imagine the scene here during the disastrous floods of 1990 - flooding was a recurring problem but, after the 1990 flood, high levee banks were built to give some protection in times of future heavy rainfall.

From Nyngan we travel just 56km to the junction (1,061km) with the Oxley Highway (Hwy 34) that goes to Warren and links with the Newell Highway (Hwy 39) at Gilgandra.

Our route takes us to Narromine (1,129km) on the Macquarrie River in wheat country. A short drive after this brings us to the city that claims to be the heart of the ëGolden Westí - Dubbo (1,170km) - and this is a major industrial and commercial centre with much to attract the tourist. Probably the best known of these attractions is the Western Plains Zoo but the area has plenty of other things that can make a short stay worthwhile.

Leaving Dubbo behind we follow the Macquarrie River down to Wellington (1,220km) and then on to Molong (1,284km) before reaching the large and prosperous city of Orange (1,323km). The name of this town that owes its origins to gold rush days, has nothing to do with oranges and in fact the orchards in the surrounding districts are known for their apple crops.

The next major centre also owes its beginings to the gold rushes - Bathhurst (1,376km) . Overlooking the city is Mount Panorama known to motor racing enthusiasts all over the world as the home of 'The Great Race' - the annual 1,000km tussle between the big Ford and Holden V8s.

From Bathurst with its many attractions we head for the coal mining and industrial centre of Lithgow (1,435km) and from there find ourselves in the fabulous Blue Mountains when we reach the popular tourist centre of Katoomba (1,474km). A cable car ride across the gorge gives fantastic views of the valley far below and the district abounds with spectacular and photogenic scenery like ëThe Three Sistersí and similar rock formations.

Leaving Katoomba and its many nearby attractions, the highway descends the mountain as it passes through the Blue Mountains National Park and then joins the M4 Motorway. (1,571km)