This charming outback town on the banks of the Barwon River is affectionately known as Bre. It was developed in the 1860s as a river crossing for stock, but later thrived because of its position on a Cobb & Co route. Brewarrina was once a meeting place for Aboriginal tribes, with sacred sites including burial and ceremonial grounds, pointing to a culture that revolved around the river. By far the most impressive relics are the ancient stone fish traps of the Barwon River estimated to be 40 000 years old – among the oldest constructions in the world.
Bathurst St; (02) 6830 5152
Nearby national parks
Aboriginal fish traps The traditional Aboriginal story states that the traps were built during a drought. Gurrungga, the water hole at Brewarrina, dried up and this opportunity was used to build the traps in the dry bed. The Ngemba people, who were facing famine, were never hungry again. Anthropologists claim the traps are impressive evidence of early engineering, river hydrology and knowledge of fish biology. Around 500 m long, these traps relied on the currents to sweep the fish inside, where they would be confined when the water level dropped. Thousands of years ago, the traps formed the centrepiece of a seasonal festival, regularly attended by up to 50 000 people from Aboriginal groups along the east coast. At night they held corroborees and shared stories around campfires in a language common to the region. The traps preserve the memory of these ancient times. Guided tours are available from visitor centre.
Aboriginal Cultural Museum: displays on aspects of Aboriginal life, from tales of the Dreamtime to the present; open Mon–Fri; Bathurst St.
Barwon Bridge: one of two surviving examples of the first series of lift span bridges in the state (1889); Bridge Rd.
Wildlife park: native fauna in bush setting; Doyle St.
Self-guided drive: 19th-century buildings; brochure from visitor centre.
Narran Lake Nature Reserve: wetlands and a breeding ground for native and migratory birds; access permits from visitor centre; 50 km NE.
Culgoa National Park: wildlife unique to the western flood plains including falcons, striped-faced dunnat and pied bats. Information from visitor centre; 100 km N.
Fishing: plentiful Murray cod in the Barwon River.
Start of Darling River Run: self-drive tour; brochure from visitor centre.
Campsites around town
4 Mile camping area 5 kmAt 4 miles, or approximately 6.5 km, east of Brewarrina along Coolabah Rd, this is a top spot for fishing and swimming in the Barwon River. You’ll be joining a tradition stretching back thousands of years –... Find out more
Mount Oxley camping area 66 kmMt Oxley is a tabletop mountain with spectacular views over the broad and sunburnt plains surrounding Bourke. This camping area is on private property; to get here, follow the road to Brewarrina for 28 km and take the... Find out more
Mays Bend camping area 83 kmGaze across the Darling River to towering red gums at this spot, just 11 km north of North Bourke. Facilities are non-existent, but it’s quiet and beautiful, and you can fish, paddle, or go for a swim if you... Find out more
Kidmans Camp 88 kmThis is a neat and friendly caravan park in North Bourke, not far from the famed Darling River. It’s got a swimming pool, which is heavenly in the high heat of summer, as well as powered and unpowered tent sites,... Find out more
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Caravan parks around town
Kidmans Camp 88 kmLocated 8 km north of town, this spacious riverfront park has plenty of lawn and lots of shade. The park is in a quiet, out-of-town location backing onto the Darling River.... Find out more
Mitchell Caravan Park 89 kmThis caravan park is located in a quiet, off-highway position about 1 km from the town centre. It has modern, clean amenities and good basic facilities. It is an ideal base for those exploring Bourke. Bookings are... Find out more
Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town
Rest areas around town
Latoka rest area 83 km
57km NW of Byrock (L) or 21km SE of Bourke (R)
Just off the highway among a few trees.
What's on around town
Barwon River Rodeo: Easter.
Brewarrina Annual Races: May.