Outback Queensland is absolutely brimming with off-the-beaten-track towns and attractions, making it the perfect opportunity for a road trip.
Although not as popular with tourists as some more well-known, and much larger, cities and regions, the Queensland Outback is much less hectic and offers visitors an insight into the area’s rich history and beautifully diverse landscapes.
Due to the isolated nature of many outback towns, many travellers, both local and international, choose to rent a campervan when embarking on this journey. This method of transport is ideal, in that it not only provides accommodation, but also kitchen amenities and in many cases, bathroom as well. You can unpack your belongings just once, and have the flexibility and freedom to change your plans at a moment’s notice.
If you are looking for some travel inspiration for your next self-drive holiday in Australia, then here is a collection of outback Queensland cities to help get you started.
The small township of Winton is famed for being Australia’s dinosaur capital. The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum houses the country’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils and forms part of the “Dinosaur Trail”, a triangle of three towns that contain some of the world’s most well-preserved dinosaur relics.
Contrastingly, Winton has also been nicknamed “Hollywood of the Outback”, for it’s ties to the annual Outback Film Festival that it hosts each year. If you are lucky enough to travel in June or July, it is worth organising a Festival Pass and enjoying a film or two.
The Waltzing Matilda Centre also calls Winton home and is a dedicated museum to the well-known Banjo Paterson song.
The name of this town alone, makes you feel like you’re in the thick of the Queensland Outback, and here you are, over 800kms (500miles) from the nearest shoreline.
The Cunnamulla Fella Centre is recognised by the large statue that graces its entrance, and which compels the obligatory tourist photo. Inside, there is also a museum offering a look into local history, and an art gallery. While here, visit the attached tourist centre and pick up a map on the area, it will help you navigate the Heritage Trail, which includes a saddlery, the Warrego Watchmen and Tonkin House.
Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s “Bowra Sanctuary” is located in Cunnamulla, and is a haven for endangered birdlife, as well as a perfect opportunity to do view some native wildlife.
If you feel like getting active, Cunnamulla offers some of Australia’s best natural sand dunes, and by hiring a sandboard from “Out the back Australia”, located in town, you will be on your way to outdoor thrills in no time.
Charleville is one of the larger outback towns, and even so, the population sits below 4000. Stay a few days to enjoy the country-living vibes and variety of attractions.
At the Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitor Centre, you’ll learn how this important resource is provided to residents of the outback.
For a chance to stargaze up at the unobstructed outback sky, Charleville Cosmos Centre is the local astronomical observatory. The telescopes here are powerful enough to allow incredible viewing of the Milky Way in all its splendour.
For the animal enthusiasts, you will want to stop by the Bilby Experience, to admire these darling marsupials and learn about their nocturnal antics.
History buffs won’t want to miss the opportunity to visit WWII Secret Base. This interactive exhibit allows you to experience a little of what daily life was like for the US Army Force who was posted here is 1943.
The iconic outback attraction, The Stockman’s Hall of Fame, is found at Longreach. It contains a compilation of outback heritage, paying tribute to its pioneers.
Qantas airlines say they were born in Winton but grew up in Longreach, and it is in the latter that you will find their world-class Founders Museum. Take a guided tour of the Airpark or simply enjoy interacting with their many displays and exhibits.
If travelling through the region in May, stop in for the annual “Festival of Outback Opera”. This Dark Sky Serenade is organised each year by Opera Queensland. Later in the year, Longreach hosts their spring “Outback Food, Wine and Music Festival” every September.
Between the months of April and October, you are in for a treat, as this is the only time of year that you can hop on board the Outback Pioneers’ sunset cruise on the Thomson River. This tour includes guided commentary, photo opportunities and a traditional bush dinner and entertainment, complete with campfire stories and laughter.
One of Eromanga’s claims to fame is that out of any location in Australia, it is located the furthest away from the country’s surrounding oceans. The other is that it houses the largest dinosaur ever discovered in Australia, at its Natural History Museum. The gigantic skeletal remains of “Cooper”, the titanosaur, are also accompanied by a large assortment of micro-fauna and mega-fauna fossils, taking you through a visual discovery of evolution.
Leila Gear, Discovery Rentals Australia – Author
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, where she first worked for 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.