Name a town in Outback Queensland whose silver was used in the Sydney 2000 Olympic medals, is home to the toughest triathlon on the Australian circuit and where you can catch a glimpse of an endangered species? We’ll wait.
Located in the heart of north-west Outback Queensland and known as the “Gateway to the Gulf” due to its position on the Overlander’s Way, Julia Creek has transitioned from a town with origins of sheep and cattle grazing to a destination for sport, culture and relaxation.
No need to spend over 17 hours covering 1,631 kilometres of bitumen from Brisbane to visit Julia Creek, put a fly/drive combo on your itinerary and touch down in Townsville and navigate the Overlander’s Way all the way to this tiny town of 300 people.
Get in the know with what to put on your itinerary, following this guide.
1. GET IN THE FESTIVAL SPIRIT
Got annual leave in April? Time your visit for the Julia Creek Dirt ‘n’ Dust Festival, which sees the town swell from 300 to over 3,000 each year.
While the festival is best known for hosting Australia’s toughest triathlon, there’s plenty of ways to participate without working up a sweat – like shaking your tush in the best butt competition.
Whether you sit on the sidelines or participate, the novelty events (think: three-legged race and cow pat throwing) along with nightly entertainment make this event one for the bucket list.
2. MEET DONALD AND DUNCAN
Never heard of a Dunnart? You wouldn’t be the first person.
Get to know these endangered nocturnal marsupials, which are no bigger than a mouse – making them almost impossible to spot in their natural habitat.
Forget setting up camp outside at night with your binoculars to catch a glimpse, just stop by the local Visitor Information Centre, ‘At the Creek’, for an up-close Dunnart encounter with Donald and Duncan during their daily feeding time at 10am and 2pm.
3. MAKE A SPLASH
Unless you’re travelling in winter, you’ll want to find somewhere to cool off when the temperature rises.
Grab your swimmers and towel and dip your toe (or whole body) into the newly renovated Julia Creek Swimming Pool and Water Park.
Don the goggles for laps along the 25-metre pool or let your inner-child loose on the water slides – there’s a designated kids’ play area too, if you have your little ones in tow.
4. VISIT THE OPERA HOUSE
No need to pack your black tie and ball gown for a visit to Julia Creek’s Opera House.
Although you won’t see world-renowned acts on the events calendar for this location, you can look through a collection of local and regional photographs of this century-old building that opened on the same day as its Sydney namesake.
5. TAKE A CRUISE ON TWO WHEELS
Swap the steering wheel for handlebars and explore Julia Creek by bike.
Grab a free (yes FREE) cruiser bike from the Julia Creek Caravan Park or RV Park and turn the legs over along the sealed walking and riding tracks through town.
Pack a picnic, find a shady spot under a coolabah tree and extend the kickstand – you’re on holidays, after all.
6. VISIT THE SPIRIT OF THE LIGHT HORSE SCULPTURE
Combine lunch and a coldie with an installation tour along Goldring Street.
Step it out 200 metres after finishing your meal at Julia Creek Hotel to the old Julia Creek RSL, to visit the Light horse sculpture.
Located on the corner of Goldring and Matthews Street, the vintage metal monument created by local artist Sue Tilley uses objects found around town, and proudly sits as a tribute to the spirit of the ANZACs.
7. TAKE A WALK
Make tracks early morning or late afternoon and catch local birds and wildlife along the nature trail.
Follow the seven-kilometre walking circuit behind the Julia Creek Caravan Park and keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos, brolgas, emus and lizards – make sure you have your camera ready to snap one of our local natives.
8. ENJOY A BATH
Not all bathtubs were created equal, and the tubs at Julia Creek Caravan Park prove the point.
With uninterrupted views of vast open plains, your Instagram followers will be double tapping with envy as you soak away your outback stresses in these open-air claw footbaths.
Drawing water from the artesian basin, plan your soak in the afternoon to relieve any tired, travelling muscles.
Don’t think you have to soak alone, either. With two tubs per room, grab your partner or bestie and order some wine and nibbles, because #holidays.
Have you been to Julia Creek? What was your favourite thing to do?