Queensland Outback

Queensland Outback starts at the Great Dividing Range and heads west to the Northern Territory and South Australia borders. There are several main highways leading through the Queensland outback, although once you head off of these tracks the roads deteriorate. If travelling through the outback you should make sure that you have all essential supplies and plenty of fresh water, and notify someone if heading off of the beaten track.

West of Brisbane through the pretty Darling Downs you will finally reach Charleville. The town is situated along the Warrego River and has an interesting Historical House Museum, and a great Aboriginal Workshop. Several other places of interest include the School of the Air and the fascinating Skywatch. South of Charleville is Cunnamulla, a sheep farming town which has exceptional wildflowers in Spring.

Charleville ParkIf you continue west of Charleville, you will reach the Channel Country, which is the south western corner of Queensland where the Queensland border meets the New South Wales, Northern Territory and South Australia borders. The area is extremely dry, with the Diamantina, Georgina and Hamilton Rivers only wet when water has poured down from North Queensland during the Monsoon season. This water then continues towards South Australia's Lake Eyre.

The first place you will come across is Quilpie which is an opal mining town, 210km west of Charleville. There are general facilities here, and a fuel station. From here you can head south west past Eulo, Noccundra, Thargomindah and the Yowah Opal Fields. Eulo gets busy during August/September when it holds the World Lizard Racing Championships, which are great to see. You can continue from here to Innamincka and follow the Strzelecki Track into South Australia.

Mt Isa from LookoutContinuing west of Quilpie you will get to Windorah, which is the last stopping point for fuel before you get to Birdsville. (Make sure you have plenty of fuel to make the 348km.) You can also head north west towards Bedourie. North of Bedourie is Boulia, which has an interesting museum and features the bizarre Min Min Light (which looks like car headlights hovering above the ground). It is then a further 295km to Mt Isa.

You can also get to Mt Isa from Charleville, passing Blackall the home to a mythical 'Black Stump'. Blackall also hosts the only steam driven scour (which is a wool cleaner) called the Blackall Woolscour. North of Blackall is Barcaldine where you will find the 'Tree of Knowledge', which stands for workers rights after the 1891 shearers' strike. You can find out more about the history of the area at the Australian Workers Heritage Centre, and the Barcaldine and District Folk Museum. Further north is Ilfracombe which is home to the interesting Ilfracombe Folk Museum which displays various historical buildings and farming equipment, and north again is Longreach a famous outback town in Queensland.

Continuing north from Longreach towards Mt Isa, you will pass the Carisbrooke Station which offers Aboriginal paintings and a Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Lark Quarry Environmental Park which displays dinosaur footprints. North again you will pass Winton, a sheep town. North again is Kynuna, which has a popular pub and its own surf life saving club. From Kynuna you can visit the Combo Waterhole which was supposedly visited by Banjo Paterson before writing 'Waltzing Matilda'. Another famous spot is north again at McKinlay, which is home to the Walkabout Creek Hotel which featured in 'Crocodile Dundee'.

The StrandJust north of McKinlay is Cloncurry which was a major copper producer, although is now known for the setup of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. You can find out more about the service at the John Flynn Place Museum. From Cloncurry you can head east towards Townsville or west to Mt Isa.

Heading east you will pass Julia Creek, where you can head north to the Gulf Savannah, and Richmond before arriving at Hughenden. Hughenden claims to be 'the home of beauty and the beast', with beauty being the Porcupine Gorge National Park, and the beast displayed in the Dinosaur Display Centre. Continuing east you will pass the small towns of Pentland, Prairie and Torrens Creek before reaching Charters Towers in the North Queensland Hinterland.

Heading west from Cloncurry to Mt Isa you will pass a Burke and Willis Expedition Memorial, as well as the Kalkadoon and Mitakoodi Memorial which marks an the boundary of an Aboriginal tribe. If you would like to get involved in some water activities, including canoeing, fishing and sailing, then stop at Lake Julius. Just north of the lake is Kajabbi where you can join in the fun of the April Yabbie Races.

RockhamptonIf you don't fancy driving through the outback then there are various means of transport which you can take, so you at least experience some of the rugged and rough Australia. Greyhound offer bus services between Brisbane and Mt Isa, Rockhampton and Longreach, and Townsville and Mt Isa. There are also three train services between Brisbane and Longreach, Brisbane and Charleville, and Townsville and Mt Isa. You can also get flights from Flight West Airlines to Mt Isa, and flights with Airlines of South Australia to Bedourie, Birdsville and Boulia.

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