Point the car west and travel along the Warrego Highway to Queensland’s Garden City, Toowoomba. You can stop for morning tea at Picnic Point, best known for its expansive views across the Great Dividing Range, and its themed Magical Witches Forest playground is sure to be a hit with the kids.
If time permits, call into the Cobb & Co Museum, before following the tracks of these original people movers to Chinchilla, the Melon Capital of Queensland. Relax on the banks of Charley’s Creek with a picnic lunch.
Next stop is Roma, home of the ‘Big Rig’ and the gateway to cattle country. Check-in to your accommodation and get ready for the Big Rig Night Show – a sound and light show spectacular, telling the story of Australia’s oil and gas exploration.
Today is a day of explorer and bushranger stories as we drive the short distance to Mitchell. The town is named after Sir Thomas Mitchell, explorer and Surveyor General of New South Wales, who explored the area in 1846. See the original courthouse where local bushrangers, the Kenniff Brothers were committed to stand trial then head to Arrest Creek, where they were captured. Cool off with a refreshing swim in the natural artesian water at Mitchell’s Aquatic Centre. Grab a casual lunch at the pool, before travelling the short distance to Bonus Downs Farm Stay.
At Bonus Downs, spend time with your hosts, take a tour of their beautiful station and meet the cattle. Take part in a range of seasonal activities; learn how to crack a whip, check the bore pumps and watch working dogs in action. Cool off in their large dam, paddle a canoe and spot spectacular birdlife in this lovely tranquil setting. Enjoy a spit roast Sundowner Dinner on the waters edge tonight, and watch a spectacular Outback sunset.
Photo: Aussie Road Crew
Overnight Bonus Downs Farm Stay
Bonus Downs Farm Stay to Morven (approx. 129km / 1hr 43min)
Morven to Charleville (approx. 89km / 57min)
This morning, join in on some more station activities and share a traditional ‘smoko’ with your hosts, before setting off once again to Morven and Tregole National Park. Stop for a bush picnic or barbeque lunch at Tregole National Park, formerly a grazing property. The Park is famous for its Ooline forest, an attractive dry rainforest dating back to the Ice Ages.
Drive the short distance to Charleville to join the Up Close and Personal Bilby Experience. Meet this delightful marsupial, also one of Australia’s most endangered species. Have a chat with the dedicated volunteers who will share their knowledge and passion for the Bilby preservation.
Tonight, an experienced guide will take you on a tour of the Outback Night Sky through powerful Meade Telescopes. See star clusters, planets, nebulae and learn about the Milky Way.
Charleville to Cooladdi (approx. 60km / 50min)
Cooladdi to Quilpie (approx. 150km / 2hr)
Today, you’ll visit one of the smallest towns in Australia to retain its own postcode. Cooladdi, taking its name from an Aboriginal term for “black duck”, was once a home to 270 residents. Now only four remain. Call in to the only business in town, the Fox Trap, a pub, post office, restaurant, motel and service station rolled into one!
On arrival in Quilpie, make your first stop the Visitor Information Centre, Museum and Gallery. Relax in air-conditioned comfort and access the free WI-FI. Quilpie is home to the exquisite Boulder Opal. The whole family can have a go at uncovering this pretty gemstone at a free fossicking site just two kilometres west of Quilpie.
Late this afternoon, drive approximately 7.4km from Quilpie to take in a spectacular sunset from Baldy Top, a magnificent boulder formation, millions of years old. The relatively easy ten-minute climb to the top will reward you with breathtaking panoramic vistas, the perfect sunset photo stop.
This morning, drive to Eromanga, the furthest town from the ocean in Australia. Meet Cooper, Australia’s largest dinosaur and other 95 million year old dinosaur giants at the Eromanga Natural History Museum. The one hour guided tour is a hands-on tour through the museum workshop, dinosaur and megafauna laboratories and collection room.
Return to Quilpie and the Bulloo River, a great place to cast a fishing line and try your hand at catching a Yellowbelly for one of the freshest feeds the Outback has to offer.
Drive south along the “Dowling Track” to Toompine, once a regular coach stop on the Cobb & Co service. Take a break at the Toompine Hotel (circa 1893) and have a yarn with the locals.
Travel through sheep and cattle grazing land to Eulo well known for its local honey and bees wax products. For something different, try a traditional mud bath at the Artesian Mud Springs (there are activities for children).
Arrive in Cunnamulla early afternoon with time to relax before heading out to the natural sand hills for some exciting sandboarding thrills and spills. Alternatively, you can hire a kayak for a relaxing paddle on the Warrego River.
As you travel east along the Adventure Way towards St George, call into the tiny town of Bollon. Take a stroll along the 1.2km creek-side walkway and keep an eye out for koalas, echidnas and emus.
Drive the short distance to St George, then pack your picnic lunch and follow the Cotton Self Drive Trail to learn more about the local cotton industry. Late afternoon, board the Sandytown River Cruise and enjoy sunset on the Balonne River.
Overnight St George
Homeward bound, make a morning tea stop at Moonie on the intersection of the Leichhardt and Moonie Highways. At Moonie Crossroads you’ll see brilliant murals depicting the history of the town and a giant cod caught in local waters.
Visit the Woolshed at Jondaryan, the oldest and largest operating Woolshed in the world. Take a self-guided tour of the historic museum village and enjoy a casual lunch in the Damper Hut. Follow the Warrego Highway, via Toowoomba, returning to Brisbane late afternoon.