Corner Country Safety
No matter the outback destination, it’s important that visitors travel prepared and acknowledge that they are travelling at their own risk. The distances between some localities may be a few hours and there may be no mobile phone coverage, and emergency services are few.
Incidents are rare but it pays to be prepared. Particularly if traveling for the first time, read through and note the general advice that has been provided for you below.
Be sure to view the Outback Driver Safety Series before leaving home at your own risk.
Fuel, Water, Food
Always ensure that you have plenty of fuel for the journey ahead. Know the distances that you need to travel before the next service station. Do not risk waiting until you get to the destination to fill up. On occasions in the outback fuel outlets may not have had a delivery and none is available.
Broken Hill has many services stations.
Diesel and petrol are available at:
- Packsaddle Roadhouse
- TJ’s Service Station, Tibooburra
- Tibooburra Food & Fuel
- Cameron Corner Store
Note: Fuel is not available at Milparinka
Always carry sufficient water to last at least a week, allowing a minimum of 2 litres of drinking water per person per day as well as some extra to cover radiator issues should they occur. Potable water is available at Tibooburra but not at Milparinka.
Always carry non-perishable food with you, enough to keep you going for a week in the unlikely event that you are stranded somewhere. Once in one of our communities please support our local businesses by purchasing meals, drinks or groceries.
TJ’s Service Station and Tibooburra Food and Fuel both have grocery supplies.
Both of the above mentioned enterprises as well as Packsaddle Roadhouse, the Milparinka Albert Hotel, Family Hotel, Tibooburra Two Storey Hotel and Cameron Corner Store will be able to provide meals.
Roads and Driving
All of the roads along the Sturt’s Steps Touring Route are maintained by Transport for New South Wales and are part of the Unincorporated Area roads network.
As an added feature the route is clearly marked with wayfinder signage to assist travellers to navigate safely and to locate the information shelters and information posts.
Broken Hill to Tibooburra and the Queensland border are linked by the Silver City Highway and is all sealed. Periodically heavy rain across the catchment areas of the creeks which cross the highway cause flash flooding and deep silt deposits causing the authorities to temporarily close the highway, generally in sections from Broken Hill to Packsaddle, or Packsaddle to Tibooburra.
All other roads, although maintained by Transport for New South Wales, are unsealed. There are times when they will also be closed due to rain and often for longer periods if there is a risk of slippery surfaces or bogging.
These roads all pass through Corner Country station properties and may have closed (or open) gates across them. Always leave the gates as you find them, and if travelling in a convoy use a piggyback system of opening and shutting. In other words, the first driver opens the gate, drives through then pulls over and waits for the convoy to pass, then shuts the gate. This way there can be no confusion about what is to be left open or closed.
Advice in brief
- Do not rely on GPS maps, always carry a reputable paper map, and stay on the main road network.
- Road closure advice is provided by NSW Live Traffic reports or by calling Transport for NSW, Broken Hill on the number shown below.
- Drive to the conditions and travel at a safe speed
- NEVER drive through flooding creeks
- If broken down, bogged or stranded for any reason NEVER leave the vehicle.
- Watch out for wildlife, especially early in the morning or in late afternoon
- Don’t follow closely in another vehicle’s dust
- Always carry some tools and bits and pieces to fix minor problems. Be sure that you know how to change a flat tyre, or how to insert cord to reinflate
- Let someone know of your travel plans and report back when safely at a check-in point.
Watch the Driver Safety videos for advice when travelling in the outback.
Health, Emergency Services and road reports
Travellers need to be aware that the only mobile telephone provider north of Broken Hill is Telstra.
Travellers also need to know that there are “black spots” in coverage along the Silver City Highway and that the service provided may only be 3G. 4G is available north of Packsaddle for about 100 km.
Along the western unsealed route there are no mobile phone towers other than at Pimpara Lake Station (4G) and north of Pincally Station (3G) although in the vicinity of station properties travellers may pick up a local signal.
Milparinka has 3G coverage but data download is very slow. Tibooburra has 4G and is much better.
West of Milparinka and Tibooburra there is coverage for a short distance.
Distances between the station properties varies and could be up to 100 km along some sections.
Most station properties use UHF radio for local communication but every property is on a different channel. It is inappropriate to list them here but should a station boundary gate have a channel published on their signage it may be worth noting.
Nationally, transport operators use UHF channel 40.
Satellite telephones and EPIRB
Either device will provide a sense of security when travelling in the more remote locations and is entirely an individual traveller’s decision to carry.