If you’re thinking about a trip to Outback Queensland, this is your year. 2021 is set to be the year of Australian travel, and there’s no place better than the Queensland Outback. It has stunning and unique natural landscapes and holds our most diverse and unique history. From sacred indigenous sites to the spectacular sandstone cliffs of deep hewn gorges, from dinosaurs and deserts to bilbies and billabongs, there are adventures, natural wonders, cultural and historical sites and one-of-a-kind Outback events waiting over every horizon.
And there’s no better way to uncover them all than on the road. Download our new Drive Outback Queensland Guide to get you started!
Drive Outback Queensland
Outback Queensland is like nowhere else in the world. It’s the place where millions of years ago ancient Australian dinosaurs left footprints in the mud. It’s the place where breathtaking gorges nestle in pristine national parks. And it’s the place where Indigenous peoples sharpened their blades on the rock faces leaving us with hundreds of rock indents to spark wonder and admiration.There’s something for everyone in the Outback.
Outback Queensland has also been called ‘our living museum’ – and there’s no better description. It’s revealed so much of Australia’s prehistoric past from Kronosaurus Korner in Richmond to the Eromanga Natural History Museum, home of Cooper, a 95-million-year-old titanosaur. There’s no shortage of dinosaur experiences in Outback Queensland. Ask any kid – there’s nothing more adventurous than dinosaurs.
There’s no place more unique, diverse and stunning than the Outback. At Lawn Hill (Boodjamulla) National Park you can get off the beaten track and into a desert oasis where you’ll be awed by the breathtaking sandstone cliffs and emerald-hued waters. Don’t miss the 20 species of fish, 12 species of frogs, three species of turtles and the freshwater crocodiles that call Boodjamulla home.
Boodjamulla is just the beginning. Visit Carnarvon Gorge with its sacred sites and abundance of plant, bird and wildlife, Currawinya National Park with its mars-like red sandplain landscape or Mt Scoria, the ‘musical mountain’. There are truly places in the Outback that will give you sights and experiences that you can’t get anywhere else in the world.
There are also plenty of things ‘to do’ if that’s more your thing, and thankfully 2021 sees the return of many of our favourite Outback Queensland events. Stop in at the Mount Isa Rodeo (the biggest rodeo in the Southern Hemisphere), the Birdsville Races (and the accompanying Yabby Races) or the Cunnamulla Fella Festival to get some insight into what life in the Outback is really like. You can see country music performances, rodeo, bushmen contests, motorbike races, market stalls, fireworks, bull riders, shearers, stockmen and good, old-fashioned Outback hospitality.
If you love music you’ll want to head over to the Big Red Bash – an iconic three-day desert music festival held at the Big Red Sand Dune near Birdsville.
Whether you’re looking for Indigenous culture, pioneering culture or both, the Outback is the place to find it. One of our favourite nearly secret spots are the three heritage houses filled with memorabilia at the Baralaba Historical Village (but be sure to make an appointment). And please don’t pass up the well-known and well-loved Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame. It’ll be reopening in April 2021 after a major renovation and will be well-worth the visit. The Top Secret WWII Tour in Charleville is an eye-opening insight into some of the region’s ‘secret’ WWII history.
2021 is the Year of Indigenous Tourism in Queensland. There are guided tours in Carnarvon National Park and Carnavon Ranges, the new Mitakoodi Bush Tucker Garden and Tour in Cloncurry, and the South West Indigenous Cultural Trail. There’s also the incredible Nullawokka Gallery and Cultural Walk in Bollon where you can see a range of First Nations artworks as well as experience a walking tour.
And for an experience that brings together both parts of our history, be sure to visit the ‘Spirit of the Land’ water reservoir mural in Biloela. It’s a dedication to the land told through the eyes of two women from different cultural perspectives.
Outback Queensland is 932,678km2. That’s a lot of ground to cover. So, we’ve put together some key drive itineraries that can help you narrow down your choice (and we have a lot more in our Drive Guide), or at least help you decide which to start with.
- The Adventure Way begins in Brisbane and passes through St George, Ballon, Cunnamulla and Thargomindah before ending in Innamincka. This five-day trip will reward you with sites like Burke and Wills’ famous ‘Dig Tree’, the Artesian Time Tunnel and the Sandytown River Cruise (among many others).
- The Australian Dinosaur Trail will see you hitting up Richmond, Winton, Lake Quarry, Hughendon and Porcupine Gorge before ending back in Richmond. But more importantly you’ll be seeing some of the incredible prehistoric artifacts and dinosaurs from this part of the ancient world.
- Gems of the Outback Loop takes you from Emerald through Jericho, Barcaldine, Muttaburra, Hughendon, Winton, Longreach, Blackall, Tambo, Roma and Carnarvon Gorge before you circle back to Emerald again. Along this route you can meet Hughie the giant Muttaburrasaurus and visit the incredible Carnarvon Gorge!
There are so many more driving holidays to experience and so many other things to see and do. Download our Drive Outback Queensland Guide for much, much more!
And check out all the other Drives on our website – there’s way more to explore in Queensland’s backyard!
Despite its size, getting to Outback Queensland is easier than you might think. You can jump on one of the Outback rail services from Queensland Rail, enjoy a classic Outback bus trip or coach tour (and rest from being the driver), or grab an air connection. Qantas, Virgin Australia, Alliance Airlines and Rex Airlines all service Outback Queensland towns acrosss the region. Hire cars are available from Roma, Charleville, Longreach or Mt Isa Airports.
And, of course, there are the self-drives. You can take your own ultimate Outback road trip where you’re the boss.
For a special family adventure why not hire a campervan or motorhome? Both Apollo Campers and Britz Campervan Rentals have braches in Brisbane and Cairns, with a variety of vehicle to suit all family needs and sizes.
It’s easy and well worth it because the Outback is something special. It takes us back to our roots, to the heart of what makes us Australian and reminds us how lucky we are to live in this incredible country.
Let Us Help You!
Travelling in the Outback doesn’t have to be the least bit daunting. We’ve put together a beautifully detailed Drive Outback Queensland Guide that gives you everything you need to plan your best Outback holiday yet… including the best glamping, bird watching, cafes and walking trails (among many, many others!). And of course, all the information you need to have an incredible driving holiday in the Outback.
We’ll see you on the road!