Cloncurry aka “The Curry” is a small country town with a whole lotta spice – and not just because its average winter temperatures resemble a vindaloo, rarely dipping beneath 25 degrees.
But it’s not just the temperatures that give this town its fiery reputation.
It’s recognised as one of the friendliest towns in Queensland.
If you’ve got a spare 48 hours up your sleeve, here’s how we recommend spicing things up during your time in Cloncurry.
12pm: Arrive in Cloncurry
Accessible by train, plane, and car, it’s safe to say all roads lead to Cloncurry.
If you’re hailing from North Queensland, jump on board The Inlander departing bi-weekly from Townsville. This Queensland Rail classic takes approximately 15 hours to pull into Cloncurry Station on Hutchinson Parade.
The bitumen stretches 784km between Townsville and this outback town, and if you’re prepared for it – 1704km (19hrs) from the city lights of Brisbane.
Your other option is to wing it with REX, Qantas, or Virgin – all departing from Brisbane or Townsville to Mount Isa, which is a short (by outback standards) 2.5 hour flight and then a 1.5 hour drive onto Cloncurry.
12.15pm: Discover your new digs
Located on the eastern entrance into town via the Overlanders Way, pull into Discovery Parks Cloncurry. From cabins and standard motel rooms to powered and unpowered camping sites, the park provides all the ingredients for your outback trip.
Even if you are doing it classic outback camping style with a swag and the open sky, the park is equipped with a restaurant, swimming pool and gym, which makes it feel like glamping on a camping budget.
7pm: Dinner at the Gidgee
A short 15 minute stroll down the road and you’ll find the Gidgee Inn Bar & Grill.
Putting a sophisticated twist on classic outback décor, the a la carte dining is set amongst jarrah timber tables and walls with an iron clad bar to top it off.
Although the menu reads everything from quinoa salad to lamb shanks, it’s hard to go past the wide selection of grain-fed steaks and the impressive wine list the restaurant prides itself on.
10am: Say hi to Mary
After fuelling up for the day with breaky at Discovery Parks, head over to your new next-door neighbours, the Cloncurry Tourist Information Centre.
Travel through the town’s history at the centre’s museum, ‘Cloncurry Unearthed’ and explore the remnants of the now deserted nearby town of Mary Kathleen.
On the doorstep of the centre is the Mary Kathleen Memorial Park, where you can take a stroll through the parklands to the lookout. Treat yourself to panoramic views of the town and the outback landscapes beyond.
Also located on the property are impressive outdoor mining and farming displays that demonstrate the history of the town.
One of the displays is a 1941 Ford V8 Rail Ambulance, a car converted to train due to the rough conditions that left the roads impassable.
12pm: Grab some tucker at the Bakery
The quality of an outback town is best judged by its bakery, and the Cloncurry Bakery is no exception.
It’s just a five minute drive or a 20 minute walk along the main street of the town from the Cloncurry Tourist Information Centre before you’re hit by the smell of freshy baked bread.
With classic offerings of pies and pastries, the bakery is also a fresh food mecca with salads and sandwiches available.
1pm: Fly through time
As the birthplace of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the John Flynn Place Museum and Art Gallery plays homage to the founder and the service that is an essential part of the outback way of life.
Learn how the service has evolved from its evolution in 1928 to its modern day technologies with photographs, memorabilia, and models.
5pm: Sunset with a waterfront view
Stop by the Cloncurry lookout to see 360 views of the town from the banks of the Cloncurry River before continuing to the Chinaman Creek Dam.
Wander along the water’s edge or set up a seat ready to watch the mesmerising hues of sunset over Mt Leviathan.
10am: Explore the region
Consider the north-west pocket like a bucket-list of outback adventure, waiting for you to tick off.
If you’re heading west, Mount Isa is only 120km along the Overlanders Way. Explore the town’s rich mining history with an underground tour or relax by the scenic Lake Moondarra.
If you’re travelling in the opposite direction, stop by the quaint town of Julia Creek which is only 1.5 hours drive east from Cloncurry.
Each year in April, the small town population of 400 swells to 3,000 for the annual Julia Creek Dirt ‘n’ Dust Festival, a famous outback triathlon set to test the toughest of the tough.
Head north 380km along the Matilda Way to arrive in Normanton, in the Gulf Savannah. Here it’s mandatory to get a photo with Krys the Savannah King, a life size replica of the largest croc in the world (at 8.6m) to be caught. Crikey!