For a town of 3000 people, Longreach punches well above its population-weight when it comes to things to see and do.
Wearing the title ‘heart of the Outback’ there’s lots to love about Longreach with its stockmen, shearers, sunsets and big blue skies.
Whether you’re here for a weekend or four week stay, these are our top things to see and do in Longreach:
1. Visit the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame
Not many things show off Australian agricultural life better than McLeod’s Daughters, but the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame gives the tele-show a run for its money.
It might not have the climatic cliffhangers, but with themed galleries displaying a range of artefacts and audio-visual presentations, this is a place where you can delve into the lives of Australian explorers, stockmen and Aboriginal people from the local area.
Their Dinner and Show packages are not to be missed – for $75 tuck into a spit-roast dinner accompanied by a live Stockman’s show. With a cast of dogs and horses we reckon it’s worthy of its own Logie award.
2. Have dinner at Harrys
If you ask anyone in Longreach where the best restaurant is in town – the answer is unanimously Harry’s. Upstairs on Galah Street you’ll find this bar named after local legend Harry Redford.
You can expect a bar at the front and a linen tablecloth, date night atmosphere down the back. Their breakfast game is strong, but their evening meals are even stronger – serving Monday to Saturday from 5.30pm – 8.30pm.
Our pick? The maple glazed pork belly topped with wild mushroom sauce served with creamy potatoes and wilted greens.
Want to find more taste bud tingling places in Longreach? Read on here.
3. Tour the QANTAS Founder’s Museum
Fly back in time when you visit the QANTAS Founder’s Museum, a cultural display of the airline’s beginnings. You’ll truly discover the spirit of Australia exploring a collection of genuine QANTAS artefacts that can’t be described as plane (boom-tish) and boring.
In fact, there’s a full-scale replica of QANTAS’ first ever aircraft on display, along with other important models from QANTAS’ history (Boeing 707, DeHaviland DH-61 Giant Moth and Avro 504k Dyak to name a few).
A wing walk of the Boeing 747 is the real treat, where harnessed up you can walk along the wing which spans 60m in length, the equivalent of two stories above ground level.
That’s not where the fun stops either, you can go inside the cockpit and stand inside one of the Rolls-Royce engines that propelled this aviation icon across the world throughout its 23 year career.
4. Jump aboard a Cobb and Co Stagecoach
Hold onto your hats for a one of a kind Cobb and Co Stagecoach ride through Longreach’s bush scrub.
Outback Pioneers lets modern-day adventurers travel along the original Longreach-Windorah mail route in a restored stagecoach, drawn by five stock horses. Bear in mind, the mechanics of the whole thing hasn’t changed much in 160 years, but what the ride lacks in comfort, it makes up for in laughs.
After your 45 minute gallop, settle down for a smoko of scones complete with jam and cream. Then relax into retro Aussie cinema seats as you enjoy a classic bush film, followed by the Harry Redford Old Time Tent Show, Outback Pioneers take on the old travelling shows before a Billy Can Lunch.
5. All aboard the Spirit of the Outback
If cruising in the back of a Corolla is not your ideal way of navigating the rugged terrain from Brisbane to Longreach, then look no further than the Spirit of the Outback.
This iconic train ride takes you through the historic Outback towns of Barcaldine, Emerald and Blackwater in total comfort.
Gone are the days of sitting upright for this ride – there are sleeping carriages to choose from, showers, toilets and a rest-lounge complete with movie entertainment (via your own tablet).
The chef-prepared meals are the highlight of this journey and put roadtrip snacks to shame, with hearty bacon and egg breakfasts and lamb chop lunches.
6. Climb up to Captain Starlight’s Lookout
Bushranger Captain Starlight may be one of Australia’s most famous cattle thieves, but we think the majestic rock formation he discovered is what really deserves a moment in the spotlight. 55km north-west of Longreach, Captain Starlight’s lookout is a 20 minute hike from the bottom and on a clear day provides unrivalled views over the town.
Getting there is a little tricky, the roads are unsealed and usually off limits during wet season – so it’s 4WDs only. But the trek is well worth it, and the sunburnt country puts on a show with wild horses, pigs, emus and kangaroos entering the stage below while you watch from your front row seat.
7. Dine at the Welcome Home Cafe, Tearoom and Stonegrill
The Welcome Home Cafe, Tearoom and Stonegrill brings the moodiness of a modern saloon to Eagle Street, Longreach.
It’s out to prove that eating in the Outback can be more than meat pies and sausage rolls, with a menu for every Outback occasion – Smoko, Lunch, Dinner and Damper.
Filled with old world charm, friendly staff and tasty outback grub, you can relax on one of Welcome Home’s bentwood chairs or antique couches and enjoy a jacket potato decked out with veggies, chicken and sour cream, a Bushman’s Burger, or Lamb Shanks for lunch. By night you’ll be served up only the best cuts and freshest produce on 400-degree hot-stones right at your table, for a drool-worthy night at their Stonegrill.
For the sweet tooths, they’ve got CWA-style biscuits, slices and cakes to rival Parisian patisseries. It truly is Outback fare with flair.
8. Go back to school for a day
Thought your school was big? Try again. The Longreach School of Distance Education is one of the largest classrooms in the world.
Jump on one of their daily tours and go behind the scenes of the school that takes algebra lessons and spelling bee’s to the air, teaching kids in remote locations across Queensland. Don’t worry, surprise pop quizzes not included.
9. Go cruising outback style
If you asked a local where’s the best place to end the day in Longreach they’d tell you the Thomson River.
Take your pick of ship from the Longreach Explorer with Outback Aussie Tours or the Thomson Belle Paddlewheeler with Outback Pioneers to get you cruising down the Thomson.
See how many species of local birdlife you can spot or simply sit back and relax and enjoy the sunset – just don’t leave the camera at home for this one. Looking to chase more sunsets? Check out these 5 epic sunsets.
If you’d rather explore the river on land, grab your fishing line and cast away from the beach-like banks. It’s rated as fishing hot spot here in Outback Queensland.
10. Visit the royals favourite outback spot
Take the 10 minute trip out of town to Camden Park Station, a working sheep and cattle station.
In 1970 the Queen rolled up to Camden in her Rolls Royce to check out their digs and meet a grand champion bull. If the Queen visited it must be good right? The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have also ticked this spot off their Longreach bucket list.
Have you been to Longreach? What was your favourite thing to do – let us know in the comments.