When you think of the Outback, what do you picture? Emus and kangaroos? A tumbleweed blowing across an arid landscape? Think again!
The outback is Australia’s Wild West – vast, ruggedly beautiful country where people are few and far between. If you can bear to tear yourself away from Brisbane or Cairns for a day or two, pack your camera and get ready for some breathtaking sights.
The Outback region of Queensland is so enormous that it has been divided into sub-regions to get a better view of it. Please choose an area and explore it, beginning with Biloela, South West including Roma and Charleville, Central West including Longreach and Winton, North West including Mount Isa, and Far West including Birdsville.
Outback Queensland is brimming with museums, cultural attractions, and breathtaking natural scenery that make for a memorable holiday. So why not schedule your vacation around one of the unusual and iconic activities like the Birdsville Races if you ever wanted an excuse to go to the outback?
Here are my top 11 most spectacular places in Queensland’s Outback:
1. Australian Age of Dinosaurs
The Australian Age of Dinosaurs in Winton presents Australia’s unique evolutionary history, with a particular emphasis on dinosaurs and other prehistoric fossils being discovered and conserved in outback Queensland. The museum houses the world’s biggest accumulation of dinosaur fossils, including dino footprints, bones, and eggs from Australia’s ancient past. It is also home to many discoveries, such as the Fossil Preparation Laboratory, The Jump-Up, and Dinosaur Canyon.
Located in the town of Winton, in Central West Queensland, the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum is open seven days a week from 9 am to 4 pm. Admission prices start at $75 for adults, so that it would be $200 for a family of four. Free for children under 4 years old.
2. Tree of Knowledge
In 2006, the Tree of Knowledge was poisoned and destroyed in Barcaldine, Queensland, Australia. It was a 200-year-old ghost gum Corymbia aparrerinja. It was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register in 1992. After that, it was rebuilt and honored with a monument placed under the original tree.
It is now a symbol of hope, reflection, and joy. The tree is beautifully lit at night, giving the appearance that it is still alive. Interpretive panels and sculptures are dedicated to the 1891 Shearers’ Strike and labor movement’s leaders.
3. Charleville Cosmos Centre
At the Charleville Cosmic Centre, see the beauty of astronomy by the day, or enjoy a clear view of the Milky Way without city light pollution at night with a powerful Meade telescope. With it, you can discover some of the cosmos’ mysteries, such as star clusters, binary stars, and various planets. You may also observe comets from here as they pass the atmosphere during their orbits. The centre also offers you the opportunity to hold a meteorite and explore the Space Tunnel or go to the Cosmos Theatre, among other things.
If you book a night session, it will surely be fun for the kids. Because they lock the observatory, and all of the lights are extinguished in the area after this time to avoid disturbing visitors’ stunning view of the spectacular night sky, as the observatory roof is wide open for you to have a detailed look with powerful telescopes.
4. Outback at Isa
You’ll discover the Mount Isa Visitor Information Centre (VIC), Isa Experience, Outback Park, Hard Times Mine Underground Tour, Riversleigh Fossil Discovery Centre, the Mount Isa Regional Art Gallery, and Outback at Isaac Cafe in Outback at Isla.
Learn about Mount Isa’s mining and rodeo history, take a tour of the Hard Times Underground Mine to learn about mining methods from a historical perspective, discover Australia’s ancient world in Riversleigh Fossil Discovery Centre, or visit the café for a cup of tea, free Wi-Fi, or buy souvenirs from the gift shop.
5. Longreach Qantas Founders Museum
Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service are popularly known as QANTAS. The airline was founded in Outback Queensland, which is why the Qantas Founders Museum is located in Longreach.
As a result, it’s no surprise that this museum has become almost iconic as a Queensland tourism attraction because it tells the inspiring story of how this major airline came to be. There’s still lots to keep energetic kids occupied at the Cadets’ Corner Play Zone and Kids’ Trail after seeing the numerous replica planes, including the first jet ever owned by Qantas.
6. Roma Cattle Saleyards
The Roma Saleyards is Australia’s busiest cattle marketplace, with over 400,000 animals moving through it every year. Enjoy the NEW state-of-the-art interpretive center that tells the story of the cattle industry. Although you may be forgiven for thinking you’ve joined a cattle drive on the large paddock as you enter the Interpretive Centre, the curving entrance comes to life. The Roma Saleyards Interpretive Centre is open every day, including weekends, from 8 am and 5 pm.
Retired cattlemen volunteer their time on Tuesdays from 8 am until 11 am to answer visitors’ questions about the sale yards and, more generally, the cattle industry. Store Sales are open every Tuesday, and despite the fact that visitors are no longer permitted entry, you can hear the sounds of a sale being conducted.
7. Tara Festival of Culture and Camel Races
This colorful three-day event is not to be missed, being a little more than three hours by car from Brisbane Airport. During each two-year cycle, the Tara Festival is held. It honors the region’s varied culture and features martial arts displays, Bollywood performances, working shepherds, and a strong lineup of regional country music.
The real show-stopper, though, is the camels. If this Camel Racing isn’t on your itinerary when traveling around rural Queensland, it should be. The extraordinary speed of the animals, as well as all the dust, make for a show-stopping event, and the kids will love it. It will be crowded, so get there early if you want to camp. The event is free; please arrive early if you plan to camp.
8. Charleville Bilby Experience
The Bilby Experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the magnificent nocturnal home of these adorable marsupials and learn about their delicate conservation status. You’ll get to see not just the cute bilbies in their amazing nocturnal home but also hear about the plight of the bilbies and the successful breeding and release program. You will have time to ask questions, peruse our informative displays, and watch short films after taking the guided tour.
Visit the Bilby Experience to get up-close and personal with these fantastic marsupials. Purchase a souvenir in the shop if you’d like to round out your visit – every bilby item purchased or given helps fund Save the Bilby Fund’s conservation efforts. Or join the movement and support them all year long as a Mate of the Bilbey.
9. The Big Rig
The Roma Big Rig Roma will show you the distinctive history of how and where Australia’s oil and gas sector began. You can see the first oil rig in Roma, and it’s all housed within a fully-functioning replica of what you would expect to see on a primary construction site.
You’re welcome to attend an actual drill site; take a look behind the scenes during the heavy road Wayman and equipment operator courses, and watch some of Australia’s best workers climb their way up through the rigger facility. It’s all done with safety in mind for everyone involved, so come down and meet them!
10. Augathella Meat Ant Park & Giant Meat Ant Sculpture
The $250,000 Big Meat Ant sculpture was installed in 2011. Amanda Feher created the steel, copper, and brass sculpture as part of an effort to bring tourists to this beautiful tone of Augathella. The Meat Ant Park is now named after it.
Take a tour of Augathella, “Meat Ant Country,” and the rich historical heritage the village offers. Then, take a stroll around Meat Ant Park, which is located adjacent to the town library. Check out the colossal meat ant sculpture; it’s over a million times bigger than an actual ant. You can see storyboards placed throughout the park while you’re there.
11. Blackall Aquatic Centre
The aquatic centre has a massage spa, a 50-meter swimming pool – heated in the winter, walk-in access in beach style, disabled lift, showers, change rooms, and toilet facilities. The pool will be kept at a heat of 29 to 30 degrees.
If you’re searching for a peaceful place to unwind and enjoy a refreshing dip, this is it. After a day on the road, it’s heaven if you need some relaxation for a unique retreat.
Queensland is a land of diverse landscapes, stunning natural attractions, and unique events that are not to be missed. From the outback to the coast, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this amazing Australian state. So get out there and explore!
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