Viewing the Broken Hill Sculptures in the Living Desert State Park at sunset is one of the best experiences you can have in Broken Hill. Created by a team of artists in 1993, the 12 sandstone sculptures sit atop Sundown Hill. They are accessible straight from an adjacent carpark or you can do the 900m hillside walk from the picnic area carpark below.
Featured Image – The Living Desert, Broken Hill © Destination NSW
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- About the Broken Hill Sculptures
- Getting to the Broken Hill Sculptures
- Broken Hill Sculptures FAQ’s
- More things to do at the Living Desert State Park
About the Broken Hill Sculptures
Artists came from around Australia and the world – Syria, Mexico and Georgia – to take part in the Sculpture Symposium that created the pieces.
There is a brochure about each sculpture at the Pay Bay (and the Visitor Information Centre) that describes each one and the artists that made them. It is worth visiting the sculptures at a quiet time (i.e., not sunset) so you have the time to appreciate the stories behind them
- Sculpture 2 ‘Thomasina’ is unfinished as the artist returned home to Bathurst Island to see his newly born daughter. Tragically, he didn’t return as his daughter became ill and died.
- Sculpture 1 ‘Facing the Day and Night’ had to be finished by a group of sculptors after the lead artist badly injured his hand making the piece.
- Sculpture 8 ‘Angels of the Sun and Moon’ includes a sun dial that once a year marks when the artist worked on the piece.
- And Sculptures 9 & 10 pay homage to Fred Hollows who devoted his life to treating blindness in the Aboriginal population.
Getting to the Broken Hill Sculptures
The Broken Hill Sculptures are in the Living Desert State Park which is 15 minutes from the centre of Broken Hill. The Living Desert Sculptures are sign posted from the Barrier Highway. It is the same turn off you take to get to the Pro Hart Gallery but save that stop for later and follow Nine Mile Road – you can’t miss the signs from there. Alternatively, book a tour and sit back and enjoy the experience.
Broken Hill Sculptures FAQ’s
Do you have to pay to see the Sculptures?
Yes, there is an entry fee to get into the Living Desert State Park. Soon after entering the park, you get to a self-serve cashless pay station. When we visited (December 2022) it was $6 per person or there was a family option. The ticket is valid for the day of issue.
Parking to see the Sculptures
There are two parking areas from which you can access the Broken Hill Sculptures.
From the Pay Bay you can turn left, drive past the Starview Campsite and up Sundown Hill to a carpark. From the carpark, follow a short, wheelchair accessible path to the sculptures. At sunset it can get busy here so it is worth getting there a bit earlier if you can
The other parking option is from the Pay Bay drive 1.5km to the Living Desert Picnic and BBQ area. From here there is a 900m walking trail to the top of the hill. While it is not a long walk it is medium grade steepness. It is a great walk though. It starts near some interesting Aboriginal etchings then takes you up the side of the hill. There are fantastic views across the Barrier Ranges, keep an eye out for wallaroos and there are plenty of birds around at dusk too.
Living Desert Park Opening & Closing Times
Over summer, December – February gates open at 6.00am and for the rest of the year they open at 8.30am. Gates close about 30 minutes after sunset – keep that in mind if you have decided to walk up to the sculptures from the lower carpark.
Best time to see the Broken Hill Sculptures
This is a popular attraction, especially at sunset. If you are hoping for quiet, contemplative walk between the sculptures in the orange glow of a sunset, forget it! The place will likely be teeming with people, posing with the sculptures for the ultimate Insta pic. There was actually a line up for pictures with Sculpture number 7 – Under the Jaguar Sun.
But don’t be put off! An hour or so earlier there was almost no one around and certainly, if you come during the day, you are a chance of having the place to yourself – that is especially the case in summer. Yes, you get great views of the sunsets from Sundown Hill, but the sculptures look pretty amazing at any time of day.
More things to do at the Living Desert State Park
There is a lot more to the Living Desert Sanctuary than the 12 sculptures on top of Sundown Hill. The Flora Trail in the John Simons Flora and Fauna Sanctuary, the Cultural Walk Trail and the Sundown Trail are all worth having a look at. And if you are looking for somewhere to stay in the park, the Starview Campsite is a very good too.
The entrance to the Flora and Fauna Sanctuary and Cultural Walking Trail is from the same picnic ground carpark from where you can leave to do the 900m walk to the sculptures. The Sundown Trail is in quite a separate part of the park – but still worth going to see.
John Simons Flora & Fauna Sanctuary
This is located by the carpark at the Living Desert Picnic and BBQ area where you start the 900m walk to the sculptures. There is a main entrance that takes you past an Aboriginal Camp Oven which is interesting then you fork off towards the 1km Flora Trail loop.
We arrived here around 7.00am hoping to see some animals first thing but struck out. This might be a fauna sanctuary, but it covers a big area, and you’ll do well to spot wildlife. The flora is impressive, a couple more signs would have been helpful, but we did spot a flowering Sturt Desert Pea. In spring there would be wildflowers everywhere.
There were lots of birds early in the morning and the views across the ranges and plains were great. There are several seats around the walk where you can stop and take in the views.
Cultural Walking Trail
The Cultural Walking Trail loop is located by the same carpark and through the same main entrance as the Flora Park. The is a separate smaller gate you go through to get to the Cultural Walk Trail.
The Cultural Walk Trail is a 2.2km loop trail and has a few more ups and down than the flora trail including one short but steep detour to a lookout. But don’t be put off, we thought this was a much more interesting trail.
Sights along the way include story poles, a fantastic lookout, prospectors mine site, quartz quarry, a bird viewing shelter, and Aboriginal Yapara. There are a couple of shade shelters on your way around and a toilet. We saw wallaroos a few times on this walk and lots of birds, its an beautiful and interesting, well worth the 30-45 minutes it will take you.
The Sundown Trail
Although the Sundown Trail is part of the Living Desert State, it is in a completely different area to the Flora and Fauna Trail, Cultural Trail and Sculptures. Unlike the main part of the park, there is no entry fee to access the Sundown Trail.
To get to the Sundown Trail take the Silver City Highway towards Tibooburra and look for the signed turn off on your left about 10km out of Broken Hill. From there you drive along a graded dirt road, past a big shed and work area, for a couple of kilometres until you reach the carpark.
The 2.8km loop walk is tougher than the other walks in the Living Desert State Park. The first section up the gully is quite rugged and uneven and moderately steep, you’d want to be wearing decent shoes.
The gully glistens with flecks of mica, kites and falcons circle above and keep an eye out for wallaroos. There are markers up the gully, but if you can’t spot them, just keep heading up. You eventually get to the top of the ravine and get beautiful views of the Barrier Ranges and plains.
The trail then heads along a ridge and eventually down a different small gully back to the carpark. There is a surprising amount of vegetation and on a spring walk you’d see a lot of wildflowers. The trail is quite exposed so probably do this walk at either end of the day.
If you like the idea of camping in the Living Desert National Park, there is a nice campground here. The Starview Campsite is tucked away off the road on the way up to the Desert Sculptures Car Park. You need to book to stay here, there is a 5 night maximum stay and no pets allowed. Access is through a gate with a PIN code entry.
There are 15 unpowered caravan sites and separate areas for tent camping and large vehicle parking. The sites are big, there are a few trees in the middle of the campground, there is a nice big shelter with free gas BBQs, drinking water and the amenities block looked new and clean. There is a sunrise and sunset viewing area just up on a small ridge and there are also some fantastic star gazing benches that you can lie back in to take in the night sky.
Camping fees are $10 per adult per night and $5 a night for children 5-15 and children under 5 are free. You also need to pay a $6 park entry fee per person for the first night. Bookings can be made through the Broken Hill City Council website.
Read More – Broken Hill Caravan Parks & Camping
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