Ancient lands, ancient stories – Outback Queensland offers unique Indigenous experiences across the entire region. Learn about Aboriginal culture first-hand with tours and attractions that provide real insights into the past and present.
There’s more demand than ever for authentic cultural experiences that celebrate the First Nations of Queensland. Here are a few ways you can discover more about one of the world’s oldest cultures by experiencing Indigenous customs and history in Outback Queensland.
The Mitakoodi people have a rich connection to the land around Cloncurry. Head to Cloncurry Unearthed Visitor Centre and Museum to see Indigenous artefacts and archaeological items, and experience the bush tucker garden and trail where you can enjoy the gardens and explore native bush tucker including honeyberries, pigweed and native gooseberries.
Carnarvon Gorge in Carnarvon National Park is 27 million years old and an enduring treasure that continues to fascinate and delight, attracting up to 70,000 visitors every year. Take a walk to see the ‘Art Gallery’, considered to be one of the most significant collections of ancient artworks in the country, featuring over 2,000 paintings, ochre stencils and engravings along a 62-metre stretch of sandstone wall in the national park. Guided tours are also available – but ensure you book in advance.
Head off the regular tourist trails to Bedourie, Betoota and Birdsville to visit the awe-inspiring, large-scale Betoota Serpent, an open-air artwork created from stone and gibbers to tell Indigenous women’s Dreamtime stories. The serpent can be seen on the hillside from a distance and represents the river systems connecting the Channel Country.
A 72,000-acre cattle station is the last place you’d expect to find Indigenous art, but Wallaroo Outback Retreat has many surprises in store for guests. Here you can view Indigenous rock paintings and stencils at Rainbow Cave and Arch Rock and visit the Axe Factory where hundreds of indents show where blade-sharpening occurred on the rocks thousands of years ago.
Note: To see the cultural sights on Wallaroo you must book a tour with Boobook Eco Tours. All tours must be prebooked as there’s no general public access. You’ll find the five-star glamping retreat 160km north of Roma, among the Carnarvon Ranges.
At the Cunnamulla Fella Centre in Cunnamulla, be transported to a time when the Eromanga Sea covered the Outback. Discover the stories and culture of local Indigenous peoples and see the collection of some of the best local artworks on display at the Art Gallery and Heritage Museum.
Take a drive along the South West Queensland Indigenous Cultural Trail of seven Outback Queensland communities with significance to the local Indigenous peoples. The trail takes in key cultural heritage sites across Dirranbandi, St George, Surat, Roma, Mitchell, Charleville and Cunnamulla.
Visit the new Desert Dreaming Centre and Indigenous space in Barcaldine where you’ll find First Nation exhibits, workshops and tours to experience Indigenous and paleo culture first-hand. The Desert Dreaming Centre acknowledges and honours the identity of the ‘Desert Mob’, Barcaldine’s original tribes that interconnected far across the region, from the Desert Uplands and Channel Country and down into Lake Eyre. Trackers Tours offers day tours in and around Barcaldine.
Located in Bollon, Nullawokka First Nations Gallery and Tours offer unique gifts, bush tucker food and authentic First Nations artwork. Join Bill Speedy, a proud Gwamu elder, for a cultural walking tour along the tranquil Wallam Creek. Listen to the First Nations stories and history of the area, try some bush tucker, learn how to track animals and discover traditional scar trees on this fascinating and fun excursion.
Coming soon: the Iningai people share their ancient stories of the land through a 200-metre-long natural wall featuring thousands of etchings, petroglyphs and paintings at Turraburra, a former station near Barcaldine. While it is unknown how old the art is, it is the evidence of past generations who have left their mark. An ecotourism experience will include camping facilities, walking tracks, cultural activities and a BBQ and picnic area.
Visit Red Ridge in Blackall to buy a piece of Indigenous art for yourself. Red Ridge is a not-for-profit community organisation that undertakes a wide range of community and public art projects, including visual and performing arts, fashion design, craft and textiles. Red Ridge the Label features central western Queensland Aboriginal artists – with their stunning artworks presented via the beautiful fashion brand.
The Cosmos Centre offers visitors an exciting journey through the Cosmos, including the ‘Universal Dreaming’ tour experience that provides an enchanting insight into the ways many different ancient cultures connected with the night sky. These ageless stories are shared at night around an atmospheric fire-pit. The experience is only available on request so please book ahead. To complete your Indigenous journey in Charleville, pay a visit to the Warrego River, where you’ll find the ‘Waadyanana Pathway’, a 1.4km walking track designed by the local Aboriginal people.
This favourite breakfast and lunch spot in Barcaldine is owned by local Iningai woman, Cheryl Thompson. The cafe serves her own Indigenous coffee, Coolamon Coffee, and sells a range of Indigenous products. Ridgee Didge Cafe employs Indigenous staff and provides training opportunities for local Aboriginal women.
In their live shows, the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame pays a spectacular tribute to the roles Indigenous people have played in the pastoral history of Outback Australia. Visit the museum and the ‘Songlines and Stock Routes’ exhibit to learn more about the origins of travelling stock routes and through their collection of over 350 video stories and interviews with Indigenous stockmen and women from all over Australia.
This action-packed Indigenous festival is held in Roma. Plan your trip for the next big event in September 2023 or the smaller one planned for September 2022. The big, one-day event is a celebration of Indigenous arts, dance, crafts and culture with live entertainment, numerous displays and cultural trails and hands-on activities to try. Meet the artists in residence, learn traditional craft skills and shop for beautiful gifts at the market.
The Star of Taroom is located at the Wardingarri Keeping Place at the Taroom Historical Museum. The Wardingarri ‘Keeping Place’ houses artefacts from Iman Country, including the 160kg ancient sandstone rock carved with a large, beautiful star. The museum is only open by request. Call: 0409 663 701.
So are you ready for an authentic, cultural, indigenous experience?
Save this blog page to your favourites for easy reference when planning your next Outback Queensland adventure!