As I mentioned in my previous post about travelling on the Indian Pacific, guests have multiple opportunities to get off the train for excursions. One of the options when you get to Broken Hill is some refreshments and a show – The Main Drag at the Palace Hotel.
Broken Hill – the backstory
Broken Hill, a frontier mining town in the far west of New South Wales, nestled in the Aussie outback. Doesn’t necessarily sound like a place you’d want to visit. But if you’re after an authentic outback experience this is definitely a place to get it. According to tourism website Travel In, Broken Hill is Australia’s first heritage listed city.
Whilst it’s history is in lead, zinc and silver mining. Which is quite obvious from the moment you hit this desert town.
It’s now home to a much more arty and cultural scene, with 30 different art galleries and countless museums.
And, let’s just say the town has a glitzier side. Brought to life by the 1994 Aussie cult classic Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Confession – I’ve never actually seen the film. *shock horror*. I know, I know. What kind of Aussie am I?! So when I was told to check out The Main Drag at the Palace Hotel I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
The Palace Hotel
For those that don’t know. Priscilla Queen of the Desert is set at the now famous Palace Hotel. But before it was home to drag queens, it had a much quieter history.
Built in 1889 as a coffee palace with visions for a fine dining cafe to be set apart from the rest of the licensed hotels which were everywhere. Something that is pretty standard in these old mining towns.
One of the best features of the Palace Hotel is all its beautiful wall murals. These were painted by hand over a period of many years. And you’ll notice they all feature water, as the owner Mario, wanted it to feel like a desert oasis.
In 1994, the Palace Hotel was used as a stopover for the characters of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Many favourite scenes from the movie were filmed in and around Broken Hill and throughout various locations within the Palace Hotel.
Since then, the hotel seems to have leveraged this and really turned it into a major tourist attraction. You can even stay in the Priscilla suite, which is the actual room the characters stayed in during the film.
The Main Drag at the Palace Hotel
Today, the Palace Hotel, located in Broken Hill’s main drag is also home to ‘The Main Drag’. A Priscilla inspired drag show exclusive to Indian Pacific guests.
Local blokes transform into your Drag Queens, Shelita Buffet and Christina Knees-Up, for a little brassy and highly entertaining performance.
Performing all your typical drag queen numbers and throwing in a lot of hysterical jokes. Sit back, relax, have some of the free flowing bevies and enjoy the iconic show.
Flash photography is encouraged throughout the show as they made very clear. The Main Drag at the Palace Hotel goes for about half an hour. Then you have a chance to get photos with the queens before exploring the hotel.
Alternative Broken Hill excursions
The Main Drag at the Palace Hotel is just one of the excursions available to Indian Pacific travellers. If drag isn’t much of your thing, you can also choose to appreciate more of the town’s art and cultural side.
Check out the Regional Art Gallery – a landmark 1850’s building that houses some of the region’s best celebrated artworks. Enjoy canapes and a glass of wine as you stroll through the different gallery levels admiring all the beautiful artwork.
Or you can check out the Big Picture which, as the name suggests, is the world’s largest acrylic painting by a single artist And from what I heard from guests who did visit, it truly lives up to its name.
If none of this is your style you can just wander about the town at your own leisure or stay on the train. The choice is totally yours. When travelling on the Indian Pacific you arrive in Broken Hill around 5pm and the train departs again around 7:15pm so you have a decent amount of time for exploring this town with a surprising history.
Remember, all excursions are included in your Indian Pacific travel booking.
For more information on the Indian Pacific excursions go here: https://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/trains/the-indian-pacific/off-train-excursions
And for more details or to book your own journey with the Indian Pacific you can go right here: https://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/trains/the-indian-pacific
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**Please note, this trip aboard the Indian Pacific was a sponsored trip thanks to Journey Beyond. However all opinions and experiences in this post were real and are my honest feedback. I do not get any payment or kickbacks if you do book a trip with them. I am simply sharing because I had a wonderful time and would like others to experience this for themselves**