QueenslandOutback QueenslandIt’s big, it's vast and its people are welcoming. Roll into one of the many local pubs, order a cold one, and experience Australia's outback spirit first hand.
The Queensland outback gets under your skin and seeps into your soul. Covering almost a million kilometres, the endless red plains are framed by iridescent blue skies in a tough country that’s both relentless and mesmerizing. The country towns dotted along the way each has a unique story to tell. Brimming with history, from Aboriginal stories to tales from Burke and Wills. You could find yourself sitting by the billabong in Winton where Sir Banjo Patterson penned Waltzing Matilda or pulling up a pew at the Birdsville hotel - one of the most iconic outback pubs in the country; whatever you do make sure you turn the engine off and take in the sunset, surrounded by million-acre properties.
Go to Birdsville
At the end of the Birdsville Track is the frontier town of Birdsville, one of Outback Australia’s most recognised towns. Deep in the heart of the wild and isolated country, Birdsville is situated between the eastern edge of the Simpson Desert, the vast gibber plains of Sturt’s Stony Desert to the south, and rich Channel Country to the north. Once a notorious place through which cattle drovers moved their stock, Birdsville is a thriving community where you can enjoy a cold drink at the iconic Birdsville Hotel, try your taste buds on a curried camel pie, back a winner at the world-renowned Birdsville Races, or dance the day away at the Birdsville Big Red Bash. Watch the sunset over Big Red, the tallest sand dune in the Simpson Desert, or spend an unforgettable day with family and friends at the Birdsville billabong, where birdlife, fish, yabbies, and marsupials abound. If you’ve always wanted to visit this iconic destination, now is the time to tick Birdsville off your bucket list.
As you roll into Longreach the unmistakable red and white livery of a Qantas jumbo jet dominates the skyline from kilometers away. Inside the dedicated museum, you’ll uncover many a story linked to the founding of Australia’s national airline. Across the road, you’ll spot the shimmering curved roof of another Australian icon. Just like Hugh Sawrey’s famed artwork A Vision Splendid, the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame pays tribute to the Aussie Stockman. The five themed galleries also celebrate the stories of Indigenous Australians, Pastoralists and Explorers. Feel the surge of adrenaline as you’re transported full-tilt in a restored Cobb & Co stagecoach along the original Longreach-Windorah mail route. Follow the winding curve of the Thomson River or capture the golden glow of a perfect outback sunset from the air with Queensland Helicopters. Snap-on a harness and step out on the wing of a Jumbo Jet at Qantas Founders Museum – guaranteed to get the heart pumping! Heighten your sunset experience with a river cruise and authentic outback entertainment. Choose to glide the waterway in old-world style aboard a paddle wheeler before a traditional campfire dinner and old-time sound & light picture show. Or, relax on the top deck of a fully licensed catamaran as it cruises to Sunset Bend. Top it off with a two-course camp oven dinner and live entertainment on the river stage. But why should you choose? Experience the best of both worlds and do both! For a real slice of Aussie history visit our multi-generation cattle and sheep properties. Join the Strathmore Station Smoko Tour to learn about their award-winning water run on a tour of the station and tuck into some of Maree’s home-baked delights for morning tea visit with the Walker family on a sunset tour of Camden Park Station, see the historic shearing shed before joining Outback Dan for sunset drinks. Visit Nogo Station for an intimate insight into station life by the Kinnon family. The tour includes sheep shearing, morning tea, and a station safari in an open-top double-decker.
Australian Stockmans Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre
Outback Australia. It tells the story of the rural areas from the arrival of the Aborigines more than 40,000 years ago, settled by the British, exploration, the establishment of grazing, agriculture, mining, forestry and other industries in country Australia. It follows the story through to the present day where technologies of many kinds are playing the role in farming, business and communications. Themes also include the development of the outback properties, living in the outback, and the stock worker. Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame was officially opened in 1988 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Over one million people have visited this premier tribute to the men and women of the outback. Be sure not to miss the "Wool Bale" cafe where you can enjoy a snack or relaxing cuppa. The live 'Outback Stockman's Show' tells the story of real-life stockmen and women who work on the land. The show features trick horses, a bull, dogs, sheep and so much more. A must-do on everyone's itinerary. The Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame is truly an iconic Queensland Outback experience.
Marvel at Carnarvon Gorge, Carnarvon National Park
You’ll need at least a week to fully appreciate the beauty and diversity of Carnarvon Gorge, in Carnarvon National Park, set deep in the Central Highlands. Walk, drive, hike and camp in the park's four sections and be captivated by the diverse landscapes and rich wildlife of the Sandstone Wilderness. Spend days immersing yourself in Carnarvon Gorge. Marvel at the vastness of the Amphitheatre, the cool quiet of Mickey Creek Gorge, and the prehistoric life in Ward’s Canyon. Let the world-renowned Art Gallery whisper stories of ancient cultural connections. Climb the gorge walls and watch the pastel-pink dawn tones dance across the creamy sandstone cliffs on the Boolimba Bluff walk. If adventure is more your style, pack your gear and head out on the 87 kilometre Carnarvon Great Walk—an experience not to be missed if you love a challenge. Towering multi-hued cliffs, basalt-crested tablelands, sandstone escarpments and plateaus, cool streams, and a colorful mosaic of plant life are waiting to be explored.
Go to the Outback Stockman's Show
This live Outback Stockman's show tells the story of real-life stockmen and women who work on the land. It encompasses the modern-day aspects of being a stockman, as well as telling the tales of what it used to be like in the past. All be it with working dogs, horses, sheep, bull and their larrikin Stockman Lachie Cossor. The show is a must-do on everyone's itinerary is sure to entertain. Shows run between April and October, daily from 11 am from Tuesday to Sunday. Their all-new live dinner shows will be on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings. Bookings are essential.
Go to the Qantas Founders Museum
Qantas Founders Museum (QFM) is an independent not-for-profit community organisation, operating since 1996, to commemorate the ethos and preserve the material heritage of the founders and early operations of Qantas Airways Ltd. QFM is a world-class museum and cultural display, eloquently telling the story of the founding of Qantas through interpretive displays, interactive exhibits, replica aircraft and an impressive collection of genuine artifacts. The collection incorporates the Consolidated PBY Catalina Flying Boat, the Super Constellation, Douglas DC3, Boeing 707 and the legendary Boeing 747. In addition, QFM has full-scale replicas of De Haviland DH-61 Giant Moth, De Haviland DH-50, and Avro 504k Dyak; Qantas' first aircraft. From 2 September 2019 – 31 March 2020, QFM's aircraft tours will change due to construction work for the Museum’s Airpark Roof Project which will affect the Museum’s current aircraft tours. From 2 September 2019, QFM will offer a one hour Captain’s Tour which will include a guided tour of the perimeter of the Airpark site filled with information about the Museum’s Airpark Roof Project, Boeing 747, 707 and Super Constellation followed by a video display of behind the scenes footage of the Boeing 747 narrated by a retired Qantas Boeing 747 Captain.
"Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong..." You'll be forgiven for relentlessly whistling this famous tune while you're in Winton, as it's the very home of Banjo Patterson's 'Waltzing Matilda'. Reputedly inspired by an 1894 shearer's suicide at the nearby Combo Waterhole and first performed in Winton's North Gregory Hotel on 6th April 1895, you can learn all about Banjo and the adopted national anthem at the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton. First settled in 1875 and originally called 'Pelican Waterhole', Winton has plenty on offer to keep you busy for at least a day or two. The town is home to Boulder opals that you can view and buy in town and a day trip will take you to Queensland's oldest opal fields at Opalton. Also just out of Winton is Lark Quarry, where 93 million-year-old dinosaur fossils will give you a glimpse into prehistoric times. The quirky Winton Music Fence, developed by percussionist and composer Graeme Leak, is free and a fantastic spot to let the kids explore their hidden musical talents. Arno's Wall, a wall surrounding a private residential property in town, is worth a look for its unique construction from all sorts of things including motorbikes, lawnmowers, crockery and historical items. Winton is in the heart of Matilda Country, a diverse region in which vast Mitchell grass plains are broken by magnificently coloured gorges, ridges and mesas; what the locals call 'jump-ups'. Visitors to the region will be amazed by the vastness of the plains and the undulating nature of the landscape. There is a wide variety of animal and birdlife in the area, generally best seen around dusk and dawn on minor roads and tracks.
Marvel at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum
The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History is home to the world's largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils. A working dinosaur museum with the most productive Fossil Preparation Laboratory in the Southern Hemisphere, it's located on 1,800 hectares of spectacular mesa plateau with vast scenery, wildlife, and walking trails. At the museum, you'll see and hear about their exciting finds of unique dinosaurs that lived 100 million years ago, including gigantic sauropods and "Banjo", Australia's greatest carnivorous dinosaur. In 2017 the Museum introduced Dinosaur Canyon to the world. The new attraction consists of five outdoor galleries featuring life-sized bronze dinosaurs. Board the Noble Express shuttle and prepare yourself for the adventure of a lifetime! Tours are conducted hourly through the Laboratory, Collection Room and Dinosaur Canyon starting at 9 am daily. The last full tour for the day leaves a 2 pm. Half tours are available thereafter. The entire tour takes three hours. Please aim to arrive 15 minutes before your tour start time so that you have time to purchase your tickets and to enjoy a cold or hot drink at the Cretaceous Cafe before your tour.
Barcaldine is situated on the junction of the Capricorn and Landsborough Highways and known as the Garden City of the West. Many visitors use Barcaldine as a base from which to explore central west Queensland. The extensive range of accommodation and shopping facilities make Barcaldine a relaxing place to stay, recover and explore. Barcaldine is the largest town in the Barcaldine Regional Council area and it is proud of its interesting and famous history. Barcaldine is home to the Tree of Knowledge, the reputed birthplace of the labour movement in Australia. The Tree - a ghost gum - grew outside the Railway Station for about 180 years until 2006 when sadly, it was poisoned by an unknown culprit. The famous tree has been preserved and placed under an award-winning timber structure that was constructed to protect the preserved tree and celebrate its importance in Australia’s history. The structure is impressive during the day but when viewed at night is truly magnificent. The name Barcaldine originates from the Oban region in Scotland. Donald Charles Cameron was one of the first settlers in the district and a direct descendant of the Campbell's of Barcaldine Castle. He settled on a portion of land fronting the Alice River and immediately named his property “Barcaldine Downs”. The railway line came as far as Lagoon Creek in 1886 and the township of Barcaldine developed on land from the Barcaldine Downs run. The Australian Workers Heritage Centre is a national project commemorating not just these events, which changed the course of the nation's working history, but is a tribute to all Australian working men and women. Set in over five acres of landscaped gardens, it is also home to the Wanpa-rda Matilda Outback Education Centre, which is a unique residential facility for schools and community groups. Barcaldine is also home to the old world Radio Theatre, complete with its canvas seats, and the working windmill that pumps water into the sculpture designed and erected by the Youth of Barcaldine, which stands outside the information centre.
Munga-Thirri National Park (Simpson Desert)
Munga-Thirri National Park, also known as the Simpson Desert, spans 1,012,000 hectares in the arid outback, making it Queensland’s largest protected area. Parallel wind-blown sand dunes dominate the striking landscape. Some dunes extend 200 kilometers and reach 90 metres high. Saltpans and gibber-ironstone flats occupy interdunal areas. More than 180 species of birds, including the Eyrean grasswren, and numerous mammals and reptiles live in the park. Wildflowers are prolific after good rains. Along your way, visit Big Red, the largest sand dune just east of the park boundary. At Poeppel's Corner, attempt to stand in two states and a territory at once. Camp and admire the expansive night sky and make sure you take binoculars and a camera! This park is extremely remote and visitors need to be self-reliant, well-prepared, and experienced in remote outback travel. The park closed from 1 December to 15 March due to extreme summer temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees celsius.
Visit Riversleigh World Heritage Site
The Australian Fossil Mammal Sites at Riversleigh and Naracoorte were inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1994 for their outstanding representation of the evolution of Australian mammals and the quality of their fossils, which are preserved in limestone. The Riversleigh section, which covers 10,000 hectares, is located in the southern section of Boodjamulla National Park in north-west Queensland. Naracoorte can be found over 2,000 kilometres away in South Australia. The Riversleigh fossil deposits are among the richest and most extensive in the world, with some fossils dating back 15 to 25 million years. The site provides exceptional examples of mammalian assemblages in a continent whose mammal evolutionary history has been the most isolated and most distinctive in the world. It includes the first records of many groups of living mammals, such as marsupial moles and feather-tailed possums, as well as other unique and extinct species such as the 'marsupial lion'. The area open to the public was one of the first fossil deposits found and allows visitors to view many fossilised mammals and reptiles first hand.
View wildlife at Porcupine Gorge National Park
Towering sandstone cliffs and lush vine-forest fringing Porcupine Creek provide a striking contrast with surrounding flat plains. Porcupine Gorge is an impressive canyon that has been carved into the landscape by the eroding action of Porcupine Creek, revealing strata of sedimentary rocks spanning hundreds of millions of years. In the wider section of the gorge, the creek has also created the Pyramid, an isolated monolith of multi-coloured sandstone rising from the floor of the gorge, shaped as its name suggests. The gorge is a great place for viewing wildlife, especially birds. Explore the sculptured sandstone and deep pools of the gorge floor along the 2.4 kilometre (return) Pyramid track. Enjoy the bird calls and look for wallaroos and red kangaroos. The short walk to the Pyramid lookout is well worth the scenic views over the gorge. Set up camp in the camping area and enjoy the solitude of the outback.
Bladensburg National Park
Bladensburg National Park features Mitchell Grass Downs and Channel Country, including unique birdlife, plants, and animals. It is home to a wonderful variety of wildlife, including tiny mammals called dunnarts. Impressive flat-topped plateaus and residual sandstone ranges provide a scenic backdrop to vast grassland plains and river flats, river red gums, and rocky scarp. The park is important to Traditional Owners, the Koa people, and also contains reminders of the area's pastoral history. At the original homestead complex, learn about the early days of station life and the park's plants and animals. Camp at Bough Shed Hole beside Surprise Creek, and enjoy spotting prolific birdlife. Camping fees apply. Visit Scrammy Gorge for impressive views. Take the Route of the River Gums drive and visit the stony Top Crossing, once used by horse-drawn wagons. The night skies are amazing so make sure you spend time stargazing!
Drive the Birdsville and Oodnadatta Loop
The Outback Loop is a vast region in the far northeast of South Australia and southwest Queensland, where travellers can experience the astonishing and contrasting beauty of Australia’s desert zone. Stretching from Parachilna in the south to Birdsville in the north, and Mt Dare in the west to Innamincka in the east, the area includes a diverse range of environments including sandy and stony deserts, floodplains, mountain ranges, and wetlands. Incorporating three iconic outback tracks – Birdsville, Strzelecki, and Oodnadatta – The Outback Loop invites travellers to explore this unique region. Start at Birdsville and travel via the Birdsville Track to Maree, then take the Oodnadatta Track to William Creek and continue via Oodnadatta Track to Mount Dare and Dalhousie Springs, then onto the French Line across the Simpson Desert, and back to Birdsville.
Currawinya National Park
In Currawinya National Park, waterbirds and migratory shorebirds are drawn in their thousands to globally important wetlands in the otherwise dry and dusty mulga lands of south-western Queensland. Red sandplains and mulga scrubs beside long, dusty roads give a little hint to the lakes, rivers and wetlands that make Currawinya one of Australia’s most important inland waterbird habitats. With more than 200 bird species, along with large kangaroo species and reptiles, wildlife watching in this park is a stunning experience. The park is also home to a population of greater bilbies enclosed within a 25 square kilometre predator-proof fence (there is no public access inside the fence). Drive (four-wheel drive only) to saline Lake Wyara and freshwater Lake Numalla early in the morning. Fish, or simply relax under a shady tree, along the Paroo River. Bush camp at Ourimperee Waterhole behind the Woolshed or near the old Caiwarro Homestead site on the Paroo River. Visit the park's cultural heritage sites. This park is remote. You need to be well prepared and self-sufficient in fuel, food, and drinking water. Image credits: Adam Creed, Qld Govt
Discover more in Queensland
- Atherton Tablelands
- Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park
- Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park
- Cape York
- Carnarvon Gorge, Carnarvon National Park
- Fraser Coast
- Gold Coast
- Great Barrier Reef
- Hervey Bay
- Magnetic Island
- Mission Beach
- Outback Queensland
- Port Douglas
- Seventeen Seventy
- Southern Queensland County
- Sunshine Coast
- The Whitsundays
- Thursday Island
- Tropical North Queensland