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Gerrof the backpacker route in Oz this summer

Priscilla Queen of the Desert was filmed here, and the name might call to mind Brokeback Mountain; but Broken Hill is a far cry from San Fran or the Sydney Gay Pride parade. Broken Hill is small town about 1000km west of Sydney - a brain rattlingly good 15 hour train ride over the Blue Mountains and into the Bush.

It's an old mining town with streets named after what they found there, oxide, bromide and sulphide streets being just three. In the 80s the ores ran out and the artists moved in, and voila - you've got an artist's haven in the middle of the desert. Best of all - there's not a bloody backpacker in sight.

But there's a catch. They rediscovered silver there about a decade ago so the miners have moved back in. The result? One of the oddest places on the earth - burly miners - they're the ones sporting mullets and teeny shorts - and a vibrant artist community somehow living together harmoniously. You couldn't invent a place like this if you tried. But you've absolutely got to get out and see it if you want something different from your Oz trip.

A few hours north are the Flinder's Ranges - some of the best hiking and rock climbing to be had in Oz.

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