About This Drive
Duration: 9 days
Route: Brisbane - Charleville - Cunnamulla - Brisbane (loop)
Start your journey by heading west to Roma with stops in Toowoomba and Chinchilla on the way. In Roma, check out the Big Rig Night Show telling the story of Australia's oil an gas exploration. Head off to Mitchell in the morning and cool off with a swim in the Artesian Spa and lunch by the pool. Next up is Charleville where you can get join the Up Close and Personal Bilby Experience and later take a tour of the Outback Night Sky. Head to Quilpie which is home to the Boulder Opal and the whole family can have a go at a free fossicking site. Eromanga is home to the Natural History Museum where you can meet Australia's giant dinosaurs and go on a guided tour of the workshop. On to Thargomindah where you can visit the iconic Noccunda Hotel and take a walk on the Bulloo River. Head East to Cunnamulla to try out sandboarding on the natural sand hills or go for a sunset kayak on the Warrego River. Your last stop will be St.George where you can learn more about the local cotton industry and end your day with a Sandytown River Cruise at sunset.
See The Big Rig Sound & Light Show in Roma
Take a refreshing dip in natural artesian water
Bushwalk in the Ooline Forest of Tregole National Park
The Cosmos Centre & Observatory in Charleville
Fossick for opals in Quilpie
Meet Cooper, Australia’s largest dinosaur
Relax with a therapeutic mud bath in Eulo
Follow a self-guided Cotton Trail tour
Visit the Woolshed at Jondaryan
Day 1: Brisbane to Roma (504km / 5hr 20min)
- Brisbane to Toowoomba (approx. 157km /1hr 45min)
- Toowoomba to Chinchilla (approx. 160km / 1hr 45min)
- Chinchilla to Roma (approx. 187km / 1hr 50min)
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.
Day 2: Roma to Mitchell (89km / 1hr)
Mitchell is situated on the banks on the Maranoa River. 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 Artesian Spa. Grab a casual lunch by the pools and explore the town before settling in for the night.
Day 3: Mitchell to Charleville (178km / 1hr 52min)
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.
Day 4: Charleville to Quilpie (211km / 2hr 51min)
- Charleville to Quilpie (approx. 211km / 2hr 51min)
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.
Day 5: Quilpie to Eromanga (106km / 1hr 16min)
- Quilpie to Eromanga (108km / 1hr 16min)
This morning, take the fully sealed Cooper Developmental Road to Eromanga, the furthest town from the sea in Australia. Eromanga is home to the internationally recognised Eromanga Natural History Museum where you can meet Australia’s largest dinosaurs including ‘Cooper’ and ‘George’, who are in the top 10 largest dinosaurs in the world. The one hour guided tour is a hands-on tour through the museum workshop, dinosaur and megafauna laboratories and collection room. The museum is 3 kilometres outside of Eromanga off the sealed Mt. Margaret Road.
It is easy to spend a day or more in and around Eromanga, visit the Living History Centre close to one of Australia’s iconic outback pubs, the Eromanga Royal Hotel est. 1885, Knot-a-saurus and Opalopolis Park and enjoy a picnic near the famous Kyabra waterhole.
Day 6: Eromanga to Thargomindah (319km / 5hr 56min)
- Eromanga to Noccundra Hotel (approx. 177km / 3hr 35min)
- Noccundra Hotel to Thargomindah (approx. 142km / 2hr 21min)
Take the Cooper Developmental Road and begin your journey towards Thargomindah. Make a stop at Noccundra and visit the iconic Noccundra Hotel which was established in 1882. Across from the pub, the Noccundra Water Hole on the Wilson River is a great fishing spot. Noccundra is a popular stopover for visitors driving to the Burke and Wills Dig Tree and Cameron Corner.
Thargomindah is home to Australia’s first hydro-electric power plant, so take the opportunity to visit their Hydro Power Plant Complex where demonstrations are run between March and October. The Bulloo River Walk and Heritage Walk are great options for those looking to unwind at the end of the day. Thargomindah is perfectly positioned for day trips to Cameron Corner, Hungerford and Currawinya National Park.
Day 7: Thargomindah to Cunnamulla (214km / 2hr 42min)
- Thargomindah to Lake Bindegolly National Park (approx. 44km / 39min)
- Lake Bindegolly National Park to Eulo (approx. 101km / 1hr 15min)
- Eulo to Cunnamulla (approx. 69km / 48min)
Head east from Thargomindah and take the short drive to Lake Bindegolly National Park which is a wildlife refuge featuring salt and freshwater wetlands. The park is home to more than 195 species of birds, 80 other kinds of animals and 300 species of plants.
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.
Day 8: Cunnamulla to St George (293km / 3hr 14min)
- Cunnamulla to Bollon (approx. 180km / 1hr 59min)
- Bollon to St George (approx. 114km / 1hr 16min)
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
Day 9: St George to Brisbane (534km / 5hr 37min)
- St George to Moonie (approx. 189km / 1hr 50min)
- Moonie to Jondaryan (approx. 143km / 1hr 27min)
- Jondaryan to Brisbane (approx. 202km / 2hr 20min)
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.
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