Natural Sciences Loop

Total Distance: 995 KILOMETRES

About This Drive

Duration: 5 days
Route: Charleville - Eromanga - Quilpie - Charleville (loop)

It has it all; birds, opals, fossicking, fossils, starry night skies, rivers, geology, lakes, billabongs, artesian waters, bilbies and the famous Dig Tree. It's natural history and heritage all rolled into one. Stand on the bitumen or get off the beaten track to explore. Discover Outback Queensland's natural and manmade heritage, outback towns, outback people, big sky, big country, wildlife habitat [now and prehistoric], rainbow rocks, starry nights and more...go on explore the loop.

Day 1: Charleville to Cunnamulla (200kms)

Highlight: Cunnamulla Fella

Travel to Charleville to Cunnamulla via Wyandra along the Matilda Way. Cunnamulla is located on the Adventure Way and locals reckon that in their town, the handshake’s stronger and the smile lasts longer. Perhaps that’s why Slim Dusty’s ‘Cunnamulla fella’ has become the epitome of bush folk and the bronze statue of him in the main street immortalises the larrikin in all Australians as he sits on his swag enjoying the moment. When you visit Cunnamulla you are standing on the Eromanga Basin, the world’s largest underground river that flows beneath half of inland Australia. The water takes almost two million years to travel from its starting point at the Great Dividing Range to where it surfaces in the deserts of central Australia. To experience this amazing occurrence, come and visit the Artesian Time Tunnel at the Cunnamulla Fella Centre. The Cunnamulla Bushlands is a 6 hectare area which takes you on a journey through different ecosystems within the region. Hit the Cunnamulla sand dunes if you are looking for a sandboarding experience.

Day 2: Cunnamulla to Thargomindah (197kms)

Highlight: Wills Dig Tree

Travel 68 kilometres west along the Adventure Way to Eulo. Artesian water opened up the Outback and the unique town of Eulo due to its position on the banks of the pristine Paroo River. Stop by the Eulo Artesian mud baths to relax the body in mind with nature’s own unique formula. Continue west and you have the option of travelling to Yowah. Yowah is ‘The Friendly Opal Field’ 165 kilometres west of Cunnamulla. It is the home of the Yowah Opal Nut and the Ironstone Matrix Opal, an opal type to be found only in this part of Queensland.

Your next town is Thargomindah, 131 kilometres west of Eulo along the Adventure Way. Vincent Dowling’s decision in 1864 to establish a pastoral lease (which he named ‘Thargomindah Station’) resulted in a town of the same name being gazetted in 1874. Thargomindah provides the perfect launch pad for Cameron Corner where three Australian states meet, the iconic Burke and Wills ‘Dig’ Tree at Cooper Creek and historic hotels at Noccundra and Hungerford. Take a free tour of Australia’s first hydro-electricity system driven by artesian water pressure or enjoy fabulous birdwatching and nature activities at the unique Lake Bindegolly and Currawinya National Parks.

Day 3: Thargomindah to Eromanga (280kms)

Highlight: Eromanga Natural History Museum

Take the fully sealed Bundeena Road to begin your journey to Australia’s furthest town from the sea, Eromanga. Sustained by surrounding pastoral properties, some of which are over 8,000 square kilometres, Eromanga is home to the Eromanga Oil and Gas Basin, which produces around one and a half million barrels of oil each year.

Find Australia’s largest dinosaurs in Eromanga, including ‘Cooper’ and ‘George’ who are of the top 10 largest in the world! The internationally recognised Eromanga Natural History Museum is a ‘must see’ on any Outback Queensland holiday. See the real bones of Australia’s largest dinosaurs, plus other massive 95 million year old Eromanga dinosaurs (there are lots of them) and the world’s largest marsupials and reptiles, the Eulo megafauna + much more.  This regionally based museum has developed Australia’s most comprehensive dinosaur, megafauna and arid microfauna collection, all held in context.  There are many programs and experiences on offer for you to participate in at the museum and you can even stay on site at the brand new Cooper’s Country Lodge (4 star equivalent).

It is easy to spend a day or more in and around Eromanga, visit the Living History Centre, one of Australia’s iconic outback pubs, the Eromanga Royal Hotel est. 1885, Knot-a-saurus and Opalopolis Park and enjoy a picnic by the famous Kyabra waterhole.

Day 4: Eromanga to Quilpie (106kms)

Highlight: Baldy Top Lookout

Travel 108 kilometres east along the fully sealed Cooper Developmental Road (79A) to Quilpie, where a stay in Quilpie can be as busy or as relaxing as you wish. Picnic and fish at the Bulloo River or swim a few lazy laps of the pool. Enjoy the native bottlebrush trees and beautiful gardens around the district, and the stunning wildflowers (in season) throughout the surrounding countryside. When you are ready for action, spend the day fossicking for opals, climb Baldy Top Lookout to admire the spectacular sunset, visit the Opal Altar at St Finbarr’s Church or head to the Visitor Information Centre.

Day 5: Quilpie to Charleville (212kms)

Highlight: Charleville Cosmos Centre

Head east along the Warrego Way to Charleville, passing through the towns of Cheepie and Cooladdi with the option of taking a turn off to Adavale along the journey. Charleville is the largest town in Queensland’s south west and is a hub for visitors and pastoralists alike. In the heart of ‘mulga country’, Charleville and surrounding pastoral properties are rich in history, flora and fauna. The Save the Bilby Fund, is worth a visit for an up close and personal experience with Australia’s most famous endangered marsupial.

The Cosmos Centre provides an intimate look at our night sky, and with the outback’s low residual light, there’s no better place to do so. Visit the Charleville Bureau of Meteorology and find out how as you talk with a meteorologist and watch the release of a weather balloon. Take a look at the Vortex rainmaker guns at the Graham Andrews Parklands which hoped to bring rain to the region during drought. The Charleville Botanical Reserve showcases major vegetation types of the eastern mulga lands and while you’re there try spot a rare yellow-footed rock wallaby. At Queensland Parks and Wildlife Office you also have the opportunity to view yellow-footed rock wallabies.

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