From sensational stargazing to full-tilt stagecoach gallops, Outback Queensland is home to absolutely sterling and sometimes unexpected adventures.
Love a good road trip? Have an interest in our country’s pioneering past? Want to dip your toe in the red dirt of remote Australia? These Outback Queensland attractions are a must on your itinerary.
Outback Queensland is the proud home of Australia’s Dinosaur Trail. This Jurassic adventure, encompassing realistic replicas, sculptures and preserved fossils, links the rugged towns of Winton, Richmond and Hughenden.
Undoubtedly, the crème de la crème of Outback Queensland attractions for dinosaur lovers if Winton’s Australian Age of Dinosaurs. Here, you’ll find the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils. You can even get hands-on, assisting in the fossil preparation process.
In Richmond, marvel at Australia’s best-preserved dinosaur skeleton, named Penny. At Kronosaurus Korner, discover a diverse range of marine reptile fossils and see them being processed at a world-class standard. At Hughenden, quirky dinosaur sculptures adorn historic streets and public buildings. Hughie, a terrific seven-metre Muttaburrasaurus, is the star attraction of the extensive Flinders Discovery Centre. While in Hughenden, witness the incredible light and sound exhibition presenting Porcupine Gorge National Park’s formation more than 500 million years ago.
If you want to experience all the Jurassic entertainment possible, be sure to pick an Australia’s Dinosaur Trail (ADT) Pass. The pass includes entry to all three towns’ museums. Plus, a tour of the world’s only recorded evidence of a dinosaur stampede 110km south-west of Winton.
Love dinosaurs? Read this: Discover a dinosaur adventure in Winton
Stagecoach and Slab Huts in Longreach
Discover the thrills and traditions of pioneer life with the eclectic diversity of true-blue experiences in and around historic Longreach. With Kinnon & Co’s Outback Pioneers, relax and be taken aboard an entirely organised Longreach Long Weekend. Alternatively, create your own unique selection of experiences. Take an open-top wildlife tour of historic Nogo Station, or enjoy bush tucker and poetry under the stars. Maybe a sunset cruise aboard the charming Thomson Princess Riverboat is more your speed?
One of the truly unmissable Outback Queensland attractions is the Cobb & Co Stagecoach Experience. It’s the only stagecoach gallop in Australia to authentically recreate our Aussie pioneering past. Gallop full-tilt across the old Longreach–Windorah mail route, take a ‘smoko’ (aka tea break), catch a classic bush movie in retro cinema and experience a traditional tribute to the old travelling shows.
At the end of the day, retire in authentic Aussie tradition at your choice of heritage 4- and 4½-star accommodation. Reside in a rustic Pioneer Slab Hut, complete with canopy bed and quirky bathtub terrace. With a little imagination, the setting will transport you 100 years into the past. Or stay in the Homestead Stables, where stable boys slept along with horses. Both are a pleasant walk or cycle into Longreach.
Stargazing in Charleville
The uninterrupted illuminations of our night sky are something entirely awe-inspiring to behold. With minimal air and light pollution, flat surroundings and very few cloudy days, Charleville is a sensational location for viewing the Milky Way.
As the roof is rolled back at Charleville Cosmos Centre and Observatory, and the powerful Meade telescopes is focused in on what’s above, the night sky is spectacularly revealed. Specially trained guides share their knowledge on star clusters, planets, binary stars and nebulae. Together, we ponder our place in the Milky Way and the wider solar system.
During the day, the learning and wonderment continues. On a visit to the Cosmos Theatre, discover the explanation behind falling stars, the formation of the solar system, and its five new dwarf planets. You can even hold an other-worldly meteorite in your hands.
Check out what we got up to one our road trip to Charleville here.
On the edge of the ethereal Simpson Desert, the small town of Birdsville comes alive each September. Racegoers flood in, ready for two days of outback racing, glam and entertainment.
From humble beginnings in 1882 with just a few local spectators, the Annual Birdsville Racing Carnival today encompasses a 13-race program recognised throughout the world. The spectacle is accompanied by exceptional entertainment in and around the outback town.
You can join in support of the Royal Flying Doctor Service at their annual Fun Run. Or witness the last boxing tent showman in the world at Fred Brophy’s Boxing Troupe. Experience the excitement of Fashions on the Field and dress up to for the Birdsville Races Cocktail Party — the most glamorous event of the week.
Don’t forget to check out Tent City, a lively pop-up community built overnight before the races begin. It’s a popular choice as the races regularly book out all town accommodation a year in advance.
You can find more accommodation and restaurant recommendations in Birdsville here.
Jackaroo Farmstay at Bonus Downs
For the ultimate historic experience, a stay in the classic homestead of Bonus Downs is just the ticket. It’s one of the few Outback Queensland attractions where you can fully immerse yourself in old-fashioned country life. Experience warm outback hospitality surrounded by tranquil bushland and raw outback beauty.
The environment surrounding Bonus Downs is both a birdwatcher and photographer’s paradise. It’s home to an unofficial list of more than 100 bird species and abundant wildlife. Bushwalkers may venture out on their own to explore the winding trails around prehistoric Ooline Forest, or join a personal tour led by welcoming owners Madonna and Lyle for insights into the forest’s history, various plant species, wildlife and continuing conservation. Learn the ins and outs of station work through stockwhip cracking, cattle mustering and sales, blade ploughing and assisting the working dogs. Or cool down with a canoe ride on the lovely dam.
The property is complete with a traditional smokehouse with spit-roast fireplace and camp oven. You can choose to stay in their rustic 1911 Jackaroo’s Cottage or bring your own swag and stay in the Shearing Shed. Perhaps finish off the day with the two-course spit roast Sundowners Dinner, watching the sun set by the water’s edge.
Rockin’ Rodeos of Outback Queensland
Home to some of the best rodeos in Australia, Outback Queensland is spoilt for all the bull riding, steer wrestling, agricultural exhibits and live entertainment that the greatest rodeo buff could ask for.
The rodeo capital of Australia is undoubtedly Mount Isa, meaning their annual event is the one to witness. It’s the biggest rodeo of the Southern Hemisphere, with unique events from wild-horse racing and live rock concerts to a glitzy Rodeo Ball and Rodeo Queen Quest. All of this is packed into four exciting days every August. Easter time welcomes the Augathella Diggers Rodeo & Races, an authentic experience in a fascinating town steeped in the history of its bushranger and sheep-station past. The arrival of April also brings the Einasleigh Races & Rodeo, a terrific weekend of country-style racing, rodeo action and entertainment the whole family can enjoy.