By Sally Bird
There’s no doubt Outback Queensland is home to scorching summer days; our very own Birdsville taking out the title for Queensland’s hottest day at 49.5°C back in December 1972. But don’t let the thermometer-breaking days fool you – come mid-year, temperatures can drop below the zero mark in Outback Queensland.
Early mornings and nights will almost have you thinking you’ve taken a trip to the Antarctic (minus the penguins), but trust us the sunny, blue sky days are ideal with temperatures often sitting around 24°C.
Rather than climbing under your doona, here’s five ways to stay warm in Outback Queensland this winter.
1. Pack for the weather
While beanies, gloves and scarves may sit in the bottom draw for locals almost year round, crisp winter mornings will have Outback Queenslander’s racing to pull them on. You’ll be thankful you packed thick bed socks and an extra blanket (or hot water bottle) for the bed, especially if you’re camping or caravanning.
Locals know how to keep warm, with Outback Queensland helping Australia’s wool industry prosper since the pioneering days. Want to know more about your woolly winter wear? Set your GPS to Blackall along the Matilda Way, for a guided tour of the last steam operated wool washing plant in Australia, the Blackall Woolscour.
2. Take a bath outdoors (yes, outdoors)
Bathing outdoors may seem counter intuitive in Ugg boot weather, but we’ll let you in on our little secret … the Great Artesian Basin
The bonus? The thermal mineral waters are the ultimate muscle tension relievers and make your skin silky smooth.
3. Get moving
With over 15 national parks calling Outback Queensland home, there’s no better way to keep warm than to get out and about
You’ll find bush walking tracks in all compass directions, from covering the ever-green Carnarvon Gorge trails (which range from 1 kilometre to 22 kilometres) to Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park’s 3.8km spectacular Indarri Falls track that will have your friends double tapping with envy.
If you really want to get your sweat on, take on the Porcupine Gorge (north from Hughenden) Challenge in June to seriously get your calves burning as you scale the appropriately named Pyramid Track. If there’s no pain, there’s no gain, which in this instance is views of Australia’s mini Grand Canyon.
4. Build the perfect campfire
Swap your exposed brick fireplace and BYO (build your own). All you need is wood (Outback Queensland’s gidgee wood is a favourite for building fires that last all night long), a fire pit or an appropriate place to build one, a fire starter and a camping chair to gaze upon the magic you’ve just created. Cinch right?
If your Survivor skills aren’t up to scratch, we can assure you your closest tourist caravan park will have the flames going for you upon arrival with a night full of campfire sing-a-longs. Forget dinner duty too, the town’s best camp oven stews are often found at caravan parks, served with a side of traditional damper of course.
Don’t forget to pack the marshmallows for the kids (and the big kids) to avoid any winter blues.
5. Head indoors
As much as a trip to Outback Queensland is all about experiencing our wide open spaces, we’ve got plenty to show and tell indoors too. When the winter mornings turn your cheeks rosy pink, a trip to one of Outback Queensland’s many museums is in store.
From the greatest Australian pioneering ventures to dinosaur discoveries, we’ve got your history lessons covered from past to present without hitting the books. If you’re looking for a real classroom, Longreach’s School of Distance Education will show what it’s like learning your ABC’s or a musical instrument in a virtual classroom that’s twice the size of Victoria.
Your youngest travelling companions won’t complain either, with endangered Aussie animals to meet, planes to fly and dinosaurs to dig; putting screen time to the grave during a family winter getaway.
Planning a summer vacation to Outback Queensland? Here’s how to do it right.
How do you stay warm in the outback in winter?