About This Drive
Duration: 5 days
Route: Hebel - Dirranbandi - Thallon - St George - Bollon
This 5-day journey across the St George Region will have you exploring this country oasis by experiencing historic pubs, national parks, and local history and culture. Spot wildlife, learn from local producers and unwind under shady trees on the banks of creeks and rivers. Travelling in November? Time your trip with the Nindigully Pig Races. The day consists of live music, raffles, auctions, fireworks, camping and of course pig races.
Day 1: Hebel to Dirranbandi (66km)
Begin your exploration of the St George Region in Hebel, where today tales of the Ned Kelly Gang and Cobb & Co still linger. For those looking for a four-wheel drive adventure, Hebel is a great base to visit Culgoa Floodplain National Park. Park up by the waterholes in the early morning to spot the abundant birdlife or imagine the stories behind the Hillview Homestead at this scenic outback national park. Make the 66-kilometre trip to Dirranbandi by afternoon and enjoy the freedom of the wide-open roads. The town booms during the cotton harvesting season where if time permits in your schedule, a tour of Cubbie Station, the largest cotton producer in the Southern Hemisphere, is a must. Come hungry to Dirranbandi, where the Dirranbandi Bakery will have your taste buds dancing. Russian-born baker Natalia runs the local gem that has cabinets stocked with homemade pies, bakery favourites and sweet Russian delights. Treat yourself to their traditional honey bread, Pryanick or Turkish delight to take for a picnic along the river at Jack Dwyer Park. A visit to Dirranbandi’s Railway Precinct will have you uncover the town’s history. Call into Railway Park to find the old waiting room, the original parcels office and the 1913 Station Master’s residence, now the Dirranbandi Rural Transaction Centre. Dirranbandi offers a range of accommodation including a caravan park, two motels and a hotel. Overnight Dirranbandi.
Day 2: Dirranbandi to Thallon (65km)
Have an early start to enjoy a walk along town’s river walk or throw in a line from the pontoon at Jack Dwyer Park this morning. Continue your journey 65 kilometres to Thallon and be greeted by the giant 30-metre-high grain silos as you roll into town. The breathtaking silos feature the spectacular ‘Watering Hole’ mural. Head to the Francis Hotel to grab your copy of the self-guided town history trails and fill your day diving into Thallon’s early European history. Don’t leave town without getting a selfie with the giant ‘William the Wombat’ sculpture. Here, learn about Thallon’s connection to the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat and the need to protect them as one of the most critically endangered mammals in the world. Camp up at the McGeever Recreational Grounds with a view of the silos or head to the Francis Hotel for a home-style meal and historic pub stay. Tonight, remember to look up and the gaze at the endless stars above. Overnight Thallon
Day 3: Thallon to St George (79km)
Wind down the windows, breathe in the fresh country air and admire the vast landscapes as you make the 79-kilometre trip to St George. Along the way, see if you can spot some of the region’s wildlife including kangaroos, emus and echidnas. Pitstop for lunch in Nindigully, home to the Nindigully Pub; Queensland’s longest continually licensed pub. Those with an appetite can tackle the pub’s famous Road Train Burger, known to feed up to 10 people or sit back and enjoy the hum of chatter of travellers and locals alike on the veranda. Alternatively, park up under the shade along the Moonie River and try your luck at reeling in Yellowbelly or Murray Cod. Continue to St George, arriving in time to hop on board the ‘Balonne Baroo Andoo’ for a sunset cruise down the Balonne River with Sandytown River Cruises. You’ll learn about the river’s cultural aspects and the local flora and fauna including over 240 species of birds which call the St George Region home. Stay in town to make sure you’re ready to make the most of your day tomorrow. There’s plenty of accommodation choices; take your pick from their variety of caravan parks and motels. Overnight St George.
Day 4: St George
This morning begin your day by exploring Queensland’s Inland Fishing Capital on foot along the shady Balonne Riverbank Walkway. Grab a pair of binoculars and keep an eye out for the local birdlife as you make tracks along the two-kilometre stretch. Stroll the town to find your breakfast fix from one of the town’s quaint cafes or St George Bakery. Ask about a tour of town on the 1917 T Model Ford with the town baker. After your coffee fix, make your way to the Unique Egg where you’ll find emu eggs transformed into hand-carved pieces of illuminated art by a local artisan. For those interested in the history and development of St George’s cotton industry, pack some smoko and explore the Cotton SelfDrive Trail. The 94-kilometre self-drive takes you through the history and development of the area’s irrigation and cotton industry. The main cotton season is between October to March each year. Alternatively, visit the Anchorage Homestead on a four-hour guided tour with morning tea. Built in 1903 and steeped in history, the homestead is surrounded by an acre of green lawn and cottage-style gardens, adding to the beauty of the residence. Spend your afternoon in the gardens of Riversands Vineyards, experiencing Queensland’s most western winery. Sip your way through a personalised tasting of their wine range on arrival at their cellar door and hear the stories about the characters whom their wines are named after. Otherwise, find a spot in their country garden to experience the best of their boutique wines and country hospitality. Overnight St George – caravan parks, motels and hotel accommodation available.
Day 5: St George to Bollon (115km)
It’s time to head west to Bollon. Journey 115 kilometres along the Adventure Way and watch how the soil begins to turn a deeper shade of red. Get your camera ready to spot emus who are often found strolling the streets of the town. Visit the Nullawokka First Nations Gallery and admire the works of emerging artists from the local area and shop for authentic gifts. Join their two-hour Bollon Cultural Walk in the afternoon to discover traditional scar trees, find bush medicine and experience a gourmet bush tucker tasting with a descendant of the local Gwamu/Kooma people. Serious bush campers and four-wheel drive enthusiasts can venture out to Thrushton National Park, found 37 kilometres north east of Bollon. Situated in the heart of the mulga lands, it conserves a remnant of original vegetation and features the Thrushton Homestead ruins. For those hoping to spot the elusive koala while in Bollon, take an afternoon stroll along the shady creek-side walkway that features Aboriginal dreamtime artwork. Take your pick from a shady spot down at the Wallam Creek Caravan and Camping Area or stay in the comfort of the Bollon Hotel and enjoy a classic pub meal for your night here in Bollon. Overnight Bollon.
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