When considering an Australian Outback adventure, you’d be forgiven for jumping straight to the Northern Territory as a conclusion, however, there are definitely other, less well-known options.
An Outback Queensland road-trip is filled with remote towns, prehistoric hubs and wonderful natural attractions. Departing from Brisbane, and covering 3300 kilometres (2050 miles), the inclusions on this itinerary provide fascinating insight into Aussie outback life.
This entire self-drive trip can be done in a 2WD vehicle, and if you really want convenience, you may wish to consider a campervan rental. This allows you to be flexible with your itinerary and spend as long or little time in any of the locations, without the difficulty of organising or rearranging accommodation. By traveling in a campervan, you also get the benefit of unpacking only once on your journey, and keeping food and drinks on hand for those necessary on the road snack stops.
Now that you are ready to hit the road, the Bush Gardens in Roma are a 14-hectare wonderland of native Australian flora and fauna, and our first scheduled stop on the Outback itinerary. A perfect spot for a picnic and to tour the surrounding bushland, which has information on its plant life helpfully distributed along the garden walkways.
For the history buff, The Big Rig Oil Patch Museum in Roma town, is a place to explore the regions oil and gas chronicles, which began in the early 1900’s.
Further inland we reach Charleville, where at least a couple of days are necessary to see and visit all the “must-do” attractions. The Charleville Cosmos Centre is an astronomical observatory, where visitors can marvel at the clear outback night skies. Their powerful telescopes allow viewing of the Milky Way without interruption from city lights or pollution.
Animal lovers won’t want to miss the Bilby Experience, where you get to meet and learn about these adorable nocturnal marsupials. Later, explore the Royal Flying Doctor Service visitor centre, and discover the way this vital service is delivered to outback residents.
Next stop, Longreach, where you will find the iconic Stockman’s Hall of Fame. This collection of outback heritage and storytelling offers interactive and immersive experiences for its guests to enjoy. Longreach is host to many annual festivals, so it’s worth checking the “what’s on” calendars before you visit. In May you can attend the Dark Sky Serenade, Opera Queensland’s “Festival of Outback Opera” or if you are travelling in September, you may be lucky enough to enjoy the “Outback Food Wine and Music Festival”.
Winton, which is located further North and inland, is the dinosaur capital of Australia. Witness the largest Australian dinosaur fossil collection in the world at the “Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum”. Walk amongst life-size dinosaur statues and learn about the evolutionary history of Australia. Winton visitors can also stop in at the Waltzing Matilda Centre, dedicated to the famous Banjo Paterson song. This one-of-a-kind centre contains an exhibition space, an art gallery, a museum and an eatery.
On our first leg of the journey back towards Brisbane, we stop and stretch the legs at Welford National Park, Jundah. Containing a mosaic of native plant life and abundance of endemic animals, it’s worth doing a bush-walk for the stunning panoramic view… whilst keeping an eye out for the beautifully coloured mulga parrots.
Eromanga is famous for its location, which is being Australia’s farthest town from any ocean or sea. However, this is not the only reason for a visit, the Natural History Museum is also worth stopping for. The largest dinosaur ever discovered in Australia, a massive titanosaur named Cooper, is housed here, and there is also a wide variety of mega and micro-fauna fossils. On the way out, stop by Eromanga Knot-a-saurus Park for a photograph with the huge Sauropod sculptures.
The Yowah fossicking area is located near the township, and lets you have a go at finding your own matrix opal. You can hire equipment from the nearby Yowah Nut Café.
The next town on our itinerary is 850 kilometres (530 miles) from the nearest beach, but that doesn’t get in the way of riding the sand dunes of Cunnamulla. Hire a sand board from Out The Back Australia, located in town, and enjoy the fun!
For those less enthusiastic about adrenaline activities, the Bowra Sanctuary, part of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, might be more up your alley. This refuge for Australia’s vulnerable birdlife is a perfect destination for wildlife viewing.
Queensland Outback doesn’t exactly scream “Wine Country”, but you may disagree after a visit to Riversands Winery in the town of Saint George. For those less into fine dining, Nindigully Pub’s claim to fame is being the state’s oldest pub, having held the longest sustained licence in Queensland. Hugh Jackman was filmed here during the shooting of his film “The Paperback Hero”.
Toowoomba is the last, but not least, stop on the way back to Brisbane. If you happen to be visiting on a Saturday, start your day at the Farmers Markets. Held between 7am and midday, you can grab a bite to eat, buy some local produce or a handmade gift for those back home. Venture to the nearby Ravensbourne National Park for a hike through its eucalypt forest, home to more than 110 species of birds.
If you are lucky enough to visit in Spring, you may get the chance to attend the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers. This annual celebration features a street parade, food stalls, carnival rides and live music, as well as 10 days of flowers at both private gardens and public parks.
Arrival back in Brisbane concludes the road-trip.
With such a unique blend of History, Nature, Art, Culture, Food & Wine, who would have imagined that a self drive holiday in the Queensland Outback had so much to offer?
Author – Leila Gear, Discovery Rentals
Leila was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel from a young age, and has since visited over 20 countries, including Oceania, Asia, Pacific, Europe and USA. After finishing her Tourism studies in 2000, she began her adventure in the travel industry, commencing work at an International Travel Agency. In 2014, Leila joined the team at Discovery Rentals, this current role corresponds perfectly with her passion for road-trips, eco-tourism and self-drive holidays.