Spectacular sunrises and sunsets that only the red earth at the heart of Australia can deliver await travellers to Quilpie Shire, along with an abundance of natural beauty and diverse events providing an entirely uniquely Outback experience.
As the sun rises across the region, a natural choir of birdsong welcomes the new day. This Outback region is teeming with wildlife following heavy summer rain: silvery grey ‘dancing’ brolga and pelicans dot the waterways, with colourful vegetation – including spectacular wildflowers – peppering the red earth.
Here, days are filled with activities as varied as yabbying, opal fossicking, exploring dinosaur history and enjoying the country hospitality of a township renowned as one of the friendliest in the Outback.
Songbird under the stars
Adding to this natural majesty, Quilpie also serves up a world-class side of arts and culture. On August 26, experience a special performance by renowned classical performer Mirusia.
Set in one of the most spectacular ‘venues’ in Australia, Quilpie’s Baldy Top Lookout will be the backdrop as Mirusia performs her best-selling ARIA Australian Classical Crossover 2022 album of the year ‘Songbird’ under the stars with a classical spin on iconic songs such as Jolene, Amazing Grace and The Long and Winding Road.
One of the most sought-after sopranos in the world, Mirusia has toured for more than a decade with the legendary André Rieu and the Johan Strauss Orchestra at stadium sized concerts – and is looking forward to the uniquely Australian setting and more intimate audience in Quilpie.
In the lead-up to Mirusia’s extraordinary Quilpie performance, travellers on an extended Outback odyssey will be able to take in Polocrosse in both Toompine and Quilpie, with the popularity of the restored Toompine Hotel – ‘the pub with no town’ – continuing to grow as a must-visit watering hole and dining destination.
For tickets, see visitquilpieshire.com/event/mirusia-under-the-stars.
Sports, scarecrows and street parties
For the sporting minded, the Quilpie leg of the Outback Queensland Masters will be staged on July 1-2 – or if those dates don’t suit, why not come to town early and sign up for the Quilpie Golf Open on August 19-20? Keen golfers can enjoy the unique fun of hitting a few rounds on a red earth course, recognised as one of the first and best established in the Queensland Outback all year round.
Quilpie is also a popular stopover point for travellers making the annual pilgrimage to the iconic Birdsville Races on September 1-2, giving travellers the opportunity to dust off their race-wear finery to attend.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Kangaranga Do Street Party will be staged on Tuesday August 29 in Quilpie following Mirusia’s performance. The street party is a pre-races fun-filled family night of music, bars and entertainment, including a bathtub derby, wool bale rolling and the popular “get your rocks off” competition.
Rounding out a bucket-list trip are the renowned Quilpie and District Show and Field Days, with Australia’s oldest scarecrow competition and rodeo on September 8-9 for travellers making the return trip from the Birdsville Races.
By the lake
While Quilpie offers a range of boutique accommodation options, one of the best ways to see the region is by camping – whether that’s in a van, a motorhome or with a simpler tent set-up – with several campgrounds options available, boasting fantastic outdoor bath experiences.
The Lake at Quilpie has award-winning camping facilities, a spectacular lake flanked by huge old River Red Gums that remains full after summer rainfall as well as an abundance of bird life and yabbies. The Lake is also home to a herd of Kalahari goats and some resident rescue kangaroos and emus, and is an ideal spot just out of town for star gazing.
“At the moment the smell of fire pits and freshly cooked fish and yabbies is something we get to enjoy on a nightly basis. There’s so much to explore and see during the day from swimming and kayaking to exploring the wool shed and property, and then the nights are made for warming up by a fire and enjoying the fruits of a day spent fishing and yabbying on the lake,” said Louise Hoch, co-owner of The Lake at Quilpie.
The Lake’s freshwater yabbies are easily trapped – and the two local supermarkets in town have you covered with all BBQ supplies, while yabby traps are sold in abundance from a number of local businesses for those who haven’t brought their own.
Tour the towns
In town, the locals favourite Off-Shears Bakery is a must-visit stop – with the traditionally made meat pies baked by World Champion Women’s Shearer Cathy Wendelborn. Locals recommend eating the legendary pies ‘Quilpie style’ by pulling the lid off and dunking it in the delicious thick gravy.
After kickstarting your morning with wholefood treats at the renowned Unstable Coffee horse float coffee cart, wander down Brolga Street and enjoy a coffee at the Old Empire Café. If opals are your thing, visit the incredible opal altar at St Finbarr’s Catholic Church or take the popular Mulga Walk.
The Visitor Information Centre sells fossicking kits for only $9.50 where you can try your luck at the Free Fossicking Area – and with Quilpie remaining the largest opal producer in the world, lady luck is often on the side of hopeful fossickers.
No trip to the region would be complete without visiting the Eromanga Natural History Museum – home to Australia’s biggest ever dinosaur ‘Cooper’ who was discovered locally at Coopers Creek.
Eromanga also has a number of motel, cabin and caravan park accommodation options for those wanting to take in a family dinosaur prep session and museum tour.
For further information on Quilpie Shire, see visitquilpieshire.com.
For more exciting Outback events, check out our top picks for what’s on in Outback Queensland in 2023.