10 things to do in Birdsville

By Sally Bird

One of Queensland’s most remote towns is also its most renowned.

Birdsville is just as hot on travel bucket lists as its bitumen is in summer (read: over 40 degrees).

Perched on the eastern edge of the Simpson Desert, Birdsville is surrounded by vast gibber plains and braided Channel Country.

What it lacks in local count (with a population of 115 to be exact), it makes up for in things to do.

If you’ve made it all the way from Australia’s coast, here’s 10 things to help you kick-start your Birdsville itinerary.

1. Have a beer at the Birdsville Hotel

You can’t stay you’ve been to Birdsville without taking a photo of the weathered sandstone walls of one of Australia’s most photogenic pubs, the Birdsville Hotel, which has welcomed travellers since 1884.

Whether you’ve made the journey during the height of summer or in its cooler months, be sure to step inside and perch yourself at the bar for an ice cold bevvie.

Stay in one of their 27 motel rooms to get the full experience or tuck in to a pub meal, After all Birdsville is the only place you can find food and accommodation for a few hundred clicks.

2. Climb sand dunes at Munga-Thirri National Park

#OutbackQueensland photo by @aussiewidetravellers

You may be 900km from the coastline, but Birdsville’s got more sand dunes than you can count.

Its most famous dune is Big Red. or by 4WD, this 40m tall sand dune is worth the climb, after all it’s the first and tallest of sand dunes in the Simpson Desert (Munga-Thirri National Park).

Surf down its red waves on a boogie board or catch sunset with your mates from the top the iconic sand dune.

Four-wheel drive enthusiasts can explore the National Park further, with tracks that span more than one million hectares.

Camp under the stars, get red sand in your socks and feel the crunch of the ironstone pebbles under foot in Queensland’s largest protected area which also plays home to hardy mammals, strange reptiles and 180 species of birds.

Note: Big Red is on private land, so please show respect accordingly.

Munga-Thirri National Park is closed from 1 December to 15 March every year due to extreme summer temperatures which can exceed 50 °C.

3. Get a taste of the Outback at the Birdsville Bakery

Gastronomes can get their culinary fix at the old-time favourite, Birdsville Bakery.

Suitably, it’s got one helluva menu to fill your pie hole. From its top-seller curried camel pie to kangaroo and claret and lamb shank pie, you won’t be alone if you decide to make the trip back to Birdsville for round two with these pastry parcels.

What makes this bakery even better? It’s one of the few licenced bakeries in Australia. Cue clinking of glass bottles.

If you’re salivating for a further foodie fix, check out these best places to experience an outback menu.

The bakery is generally open from April to September but please call them to confirm opening hours.

4. Try your luck at the Birdsville Races

Join thousands of pilgrims as they swarm on the town to get trackside the first weekend of September and try your luck at the Melbourne Cup of the outback.

Since 1882, bets have been placed on horses and onlookers have been dust covered at this iconic race meet.

Warm up for the event at the Windorah International Yabby Races the Wednesday before the races. Did you say yabby racing? Get some tips on how to claw a win with these crustaceans here.

Like your trackside events? Check out these other outback races to try your luck.

5. Catch the sunset from Big Red

From the top of Big Red or from town, sunsets are an essential part to any Outback Queensland road trip, with no sky scrapers to block the changing hues from oranges and pastel pinks to deep blues and greens.

Find some of our other favourite sunset spots in Outback Queensland here.

6. Sing your heart out at the Big Red Bash

#OutbackQueensland photo by @bigredbash

Once a year, Australian music lovers descend from across the country to attend the world’s most remote music festival.

Don your Akubra and polish up your boots, it’s time to kick up some dust while you boot-scoot on the desert floor of Birdsville to Australian rock royalty at the Big Red Bash.

The Big Red Bash is staged at the base of its namesake dune creating a huge desert amphitheatre.

Guess what? Everyone’s invited to this party, including your dog.

Heading to the event for the first time? Check out our first timer’s guide to the Big Red Bash.

7. Go for a paddle at the Birdsville Billabong

#OutbackQueensland photo by @mrcourtneyatkinson

You may be on the edge of the desert, but this town has its own watercourse, the Birdsville Billabong.

Go for a swim, cast out a line or take out your kayak or SUP and explore Birdsville on water.

Head down to Pelican Point to get a great view of the billabong and to observe the local birdlife.

8. Visit one-of-a-kind outback trees

Head 12 km north of Birdsville towards Bedourie to find the largest patch in the world (and one of only three in the world) of rare Waddi Trees, standing boldly on a gibber flat. If you’re looking for firewood then you won’t be in luck; these trees have abnormally hard wood, so hard it can damage an axe and is impossible to burn.

9. See Birdsville from the air

#OutbackQueensland photo by @outback_snapshot

The outback is not only dazzling from land with its vastness stretching to the far horizons; but the transforming landscape is also just as impressive from the air.

So whether you’re too time-short for a road trip or looking for the best views, Rex Airlines will take you to new heights along the milk run flight to Birdsville from Brisbane, touching down in the outback towns of Charleville, Quilpie and Windorah before reaching your destination.

You may be missing out on the experience of an iconic road trip,

The smaller aircrafts and short-haul flights mean that you’ll be flying at a lower attitude, so you can get a birds-eye view of the changing coloured landscape from dark deep reds to bright oranges and interwoven channels of the Channel Country.

Need more convincing on taking the skies? Here’s 5 reasons why you should fly to Outback Queensland.

10. Adventure out

#OutbackQueensland photo by @aus_traveler

History buffs can explore 81 km from Birdsville to find the Carcory Homestead Ruins, built out of local limestone in 1877. The only remains of the homestead is the small stone cottage, which was abandoned due to drought.

Nature lovers can venture out to Diamantina National Park to experience sweeping sandstone ranges and stunning desert-like vistas.

Make sure your camera is ready when you arrive at Deon’s Lookout, located near ghost town Betoota, where you’ll find spectacular stretching views of the Channel Country.

Ready to go? Check out this guide to the Warrego Way to get you there.

Have you been to Birdsville? Let us know in the comments.