1,157km (717 miles) W of Sydney; 508km (315 miles) NE of Adelaide

At its heart, Broken Hill -- or "Silver City," as it's been nicknamed -- is still very much a hardworking mining town. Its beginnings date to 1883, when the trained eye of a boundary rider named Charles Rasp noticed something odd about the craggy rock outcrops here. He thought he saw deposits of tin, but they turned out to be silver and lead. Today, the city's main drag, Argent Street, bristles with finely crafted colonial mansions, heritage homes, hotels, and public buildings. Look deeper and you see the town's quirkiness. Around one corner you'll find the radio station, built to resemble a giant wireless set with round knobs for windows. Then there's the Palace Hotel -- made famous in the movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Traditionally a hard-drinking but religious town, Broken Hill has 23 pubs (down from 73 in its heyday) and plenty of places of worship.