When you think of Windorah, do you think of water?
If not, get yourself to the heart of the channel country, where criss-crossing creeks interrupt the dry, red dirt plains of Outback Queensland.
En route to Birdsville, it’s home to the famous Windorah International Yabby Races and swells from a population of 100 people to thousands, one night a year.
If you find yourself in the west, here’s how we recommend spending 48 hours wandering around Windorah.
2PM: Arrive in Windorah
While the black bitumen road is the only way to get to Windorah, you can break up your one-on-one time with the steering wheel with these options:
- If the fastest route has your name on it, take to the air with a flight into Longreach. Pick up a set of wheels from the heart of the outback and point your compass south-west 320km for the 3.5-hour drive to Windorah.
- For the scenic, relaxed version of your outback adventure, hop on board Queensland Rail’s Westlander, departing from Brisbane and arriving in Charleville 16 hours later. From Charleville, pick up a rental car and put 460km and 5.5 hours between you and the star-gazing hotspot to arrive in Windorah.
- If you’ve got the time up your sleeve, hit the road for a 14-hour stint along the Warrego Way from Brisbane, clocking up 2,400km on your odometer for the return trip.
2.30PM: Check into your cabin
Keep it simple and stay smack bang in the centre of town at Cooper Cabins, where you’re provided with all the creature comforts (read: air-conditioning).
4PM: Get all the info
Once you’ve settled into your surroundings, head over to the Visitor Information Centre for a lesson in all things outback.
Step back in time at the Whitula Gate Musuem, where an old slab hut built in 1906 stands tall as the museum’s centrepiece. With an 1800’s homestead and station equipment, take a peek into outback life in the pioneering days.
Pssst – with a four-by-four street-wide grid, you’re better off lacing up those walking shoes and taking a tour of the town by foot than using the car.
7PM: Dinner at the pub
Dine like a local and have a feast at the town’s watering hole, the Western Star Hotel.
Ask anyone in the joint and they’ll tell you the same thing – the best thing to do in town is bet on a blue crustacean and watch it prove its pace on the racetrack (read: ring).
Yup, you heard it here first folks, the Western Star Hotel is home to the International Yabby Races, which shuts down the main street of Windorah for a night of live music, food and drinks, and of course, yabby racing.
You only get one chance a year to witness the clawed creatures race, with the event held annually on the Wednesday night before the iconic Birdsville Races.
10AM: Experience the outback landscapes
When in Windorah, you’re also in channel country, where waterways are braided through the arid towns of the west.
The 12km drive to the creek is its own adventure, with over 45 plant species identified and described on interpretive signage.
Once on the banks of the creek, feel free to cast a line to hook yellowbelly – after all, Windorah is an aboriginal word for ‘big fish’, referring to the abundant inland fishing.
Swap channel country for dry desert for the afternoon with a visit to the Windorah Sand Hills at Ourdel Station.
Like the nearby Simpson Desert, cover yourself in the red dirt of the sand dunes, and settle in for an afternoon of birdwatching, sand tobogganing, strolling and driving around the dunes.
Stay until sunset and you’re in for pastel performance over the blood-orange sand – pack a picnic for dinner and a show, outback style.
9AM: Wander further west
For more bang for your outback buck, stop a while in Windorah before continuing on to through the Outback, with Birdsville (home to the Birdsville Races and the world’s most remote music festival – Big Red Bash) in your sights.
Break up the four hours and 380km with a pit stop to explore ghost town, Betoota, which re-opens its doors on the town’s pub in August 2018.
Have you been to Windorah? What did you get up to while there?
This post is sponsored by Cooper Cabins