Darling River drive
Toorale National Park
Darling River drive showcases the natural beauty of meandering Darling River as well as Toorale National Park and State Conservation Area – perfect for 4WD adventurers and independent travellers.
- 41km loop
- Time suggested
- 1hr 30min
- What to
- Drinking water
- Please note
- Remember to take your binoculars if you want to go birdwatching.
- The weather in the area can be extreme and unpredictable, so please ensure you’re well-prepared for your visit. Check the weather before you set out as the road to Toorale National Park can become impassable when it rains.
- This park or attraction is in a remote location, so please ensure you’re well-prepared, bring appropriate clothing and equipment and advise a family member or friend of your travel plans.
- Ensure you bring plenty of water for drinking and cooking.
- There is limited/no mobile reception in this park.
- Please respect the wishes of Kurnu-Baakandji People by protecting the natural and cultural features of the park.
Whether you know this scenic car touring circuit as Darling River drive or Yuthuru Paaka Thuru, the expanse of floodplain is just as awe-inspiring. After rain, the waterways come to life, providing excellent opportunities to go fishing and catch yellow belly and cod. You’ll travel through coolabah woodlands interspersed with lush wetlands, ideal for birdwatching, so pack your binoculars and look out for kookaburras calling the area home.
Enjoy a relaxing picnic or camp overnight and enjoy the vast star-filled sky as it fills with stars. In spring, masses of tiny white sunray daisies appear, and after the rains you’ll be treated to colourful wildflower displays of pigweed, native peas and bluebells.
For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/driving-routes/darling-river-drive/local-alerts
- National Parks Contact Centre
- 7am to 7pm daily
- 1300 072 757 (13000 PARKS) for the cost of a local call within Australia excluding mobiles
- in Toorale National Park in the Outback NSW region
Toorale National Park and SCA is always open, but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.
All the practical information you need to know about Darling River drive.
Getting there and parking
Darling River drive is in Toorale National Park. To get there:
- Travel 10.5km north from Bourke on Hungerford Road
- Continue for 21.5km and turn left at the sign to Louth, onto unsealed Toorale Road (Rural Local Road 10).
- Drive for 38km and, after crossing a stock grid, you’ll see a Toorale entrance sign. 1km from the park entrance, turn left onto Darling River Drive.
- Cross the bridge over Darling River and travel 52km on unsealed Toorale Road (Rural Local Road 10) through the park entrance, and then turn right onto Darling River Drive.
- Unsealed roads
- All roads require 4WD vehicle
Parking is available along Darling River drive, as well as at the Darling River campgrounds.
Best times to visit
You may experience a great range of temperatures on any day in the park. In summer it's generally hot in the daytime and temperatures often exceed 30C. In contrast, winter can be very cold and the temperature drops below freezing at night. Rainfall is also highly variable, ranging from drought to prolonged wet periods. Less rain falls on the western side of the park than on the eastern side. It rains most from December to February and the annual average rainfall is 720mm. Thunderstorms are common in mid to late summer.
During early spring wildflowers are in bloom, including a huge variety of golden wattle flowers With a more moderate climate, spring is a great time to get out and camp under the stars .
Weather, temperature and rainfall
15°C and 30°C
0°C and 15°C
The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day
You’re encouraged to bring gas or fuel stoves, especially in summer during the fire season.
Maps and downloads
A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.
If you're travelling through a national park or reserve on a public road you can have pets inside your vehicle. However, you must keep them inside your vehicle while driving through national parks or reserves. You must also comply with any conditions in the park’s plan of management, and you cannot stop to visit the park or use park facilities (unless for safety reasons, or to use publicly accessible toilets).
NSW national parks are no smoking areas.
Darling River drive is in Toorale National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:
After the rains, the vast natural floodplain springs to life and the wetlands bring an abundance of birdlife. A fabulous spot for birdwatching, bring your binoculars for the chance to see the iconic brolga, pink cockatoo, or the wide range of waterbirds such as the Australian pelican, pied cormorant and royal spoonbill.
Toorale National Park marks the junction of two mighty inland rivers and provides one of only a few opportunities to access the Darling and Warrego rivers. Set up camp on the Darling riverbank, or spend a leisurely day checking out the local wildlife, birdwatching and fishing.
Rich pastoral history
A relative newcomer to the national park family, Toorale was purchased in 2008. The large pastoral station and woolshed changed hands many times, and many people have a historic connection to Toorale, including Henry Lawson, who worked on the station for a short period during the 1890s.
- Toorale Homestead precinct (Yarramarra) Toorale Homestead precinct (Yarramarra) is a must-see for outback travellers near Bourke. Built on the lands of the Kurnu-Baakandji People, Toorale Station was once part of the world’s largest sheep station.
The People of Darling River
This country between the Warrego and Darling rivers is of spiritual and cultural significance to Kurnu-Baakandji People. The name Baakandji comes from the word ‘paaka’, meaning ‘Darling River’, so Baakandji are the People belonging to Darling River. Take a Discovery tour to learn about the culture and heritage of the region as well as local bush tucker such as wild orange, quandongs, wild plum bush, wild bananas and bush tomatoes.