Outback Adventures Queensland

Queensland Outback – 20+ Best things to see and do

Where will your Queensland Outback Adventures take you? What stops will you be making along the way? 

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After spending a couple of weeks this year touring Queensland, I thought I would pass on some of the experiences I had exploring this area of Australia. This will help you decide on some of the stops you might like to make yourself and help you plan your journey. 

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Cobbold Gorge

Cobbold Gorge has increased it’s popularity over the past few years and has grown to be a “Must do” stop when heading on your Queensland Outback Adventures. I found the gorge itself was the smallest I have seen, but didn’t disappoint on it’s beauty. It does happen to be on private land, so accessing the gorge on your own is not possible. Luckily, they have a great set up with options of Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP), Boat tours with under 15 people and Helicopter flights with 3 people.

On top of that, accommodations vary with different types of Cabins, caravan and camping sites. There are options to stay at Forsayth that might be a little cheaper, but will require a 2 hour return trip along a dirt road to get there.

Please click this link to watch my You Tube on my Cobbold Gorge Visit

Cobbold Gorge - Outback Adventures Queensland
Cobbold Gorge - Outback Adventures Queensland

Porcupine Gorge

Just a little north of Hughenden we have our next Queensland Outback Adventure at Porcupine Gorge. There a couple of different viewing spots for this one overlooking the gorge. If you’re really keen, then walking the 1.4 kilometres down into the gorge is really beautiful. We made the mistake of doing this one in the peak of the day and a lacking of shade, can be a bit harsh. Although very much worth it!

If you have managed to visit when there is more water around then it might be a good option to pack the swimmers and make a day of it. Our visit was very dry and hardly any water around. However this did make the water calm for photo’s and reflections.

The 1.4 kilometres walk back up the hill was a bit hectic too, so make sure you take enough water. A few stops and breaks along the way did help…lol.

Please click this link to watch my You Tube on my Porcupine Gorge National Park Visit

Porcupine Gorge, Outback Adventures Queensland
Porcupine Gorge, Outback Adventures Queensland

Rangelands Station

Normally this one is only available on tour from Winton, but I was lucky enough to visit on my own recently. Rangelands Station is a privately owned working cattle station where erosion has formed and created long channels through the rock. If your into Natural rock formations is a nice addition for your Queensland Outback Adventures in the Winton region.

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Please click this link to watch my You Tube on my visit to Rangelands Station

Rangelands Station, Winton

Bladensburg National Park

Bladensburg National Park has a number of different sites to see like Mitchell Grass Downs and Channel Country. If your lucky to spot them, you also have some unique birdlife, plants and animals to encounter along the way. Only 7 kilometres from Winton itself and easy enough to explore on your Queensland Outback Adventures.

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It offers you a look into station history at the old Homestead and surrounding buildings and Shearing Shed, as well as a concentrated and beautiful collection of Winton’s landscapes.

You are welcome to camp at Bough Shed Hole, which is also a popular swimming spot. Maybe stop off for a picnic lunch at Engine Hole or explore Scrammy gorge for those views.

Please click this link to watch my You Tube on my visit to Bladensburg National Park

Bladensburg National Park, Queensland Australia
Bladensburg National Park, Queensland Australia

Welford National Park

About an hour’s drive outside of Windorah, in Western Queensland, you have the Welford National Park. Although it’s only a small park, it does have camping allowed, and you can spend a couple of days exploring the sites. One of the biggest drawcards for me was seeing those vibrant red sand dunes. This is a four-wheel-drive area, and the popular Desert Drive can be done on a day trip from Windorah.

Please click this link to watch my You Tube on Welford National Park

Red Sand Dunes - Welford National Park, Outback Queensland
Red Sand Dunes (Desert Drive) – Welford National Park

Waltzing Matilda Centre Winton

The Waltzing Matilda centre is also the Tourist information centre for the Winton area. This holds a lot of history and displayed as a museum, Art Gallery and a number of different exhibits. After you gain entry, you walk through a number of different rooms while looking at all the art and exhibits.

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Winton’s Waltzing Matilda Centre tells the story of Waltzing Matilda, a song that lives in the hearts of all Australians and museum is dedicated to it. It was written by ‘Banjo’ Paterson whilst holidaying on Dagworth Station. Legend has it that this song was first performed in public at the North Gregory Hotel.

This is a new centre, reborn in 2018 as unfortunately the original one was destroyed by fire in 2015. The building incorporates the Waltzing Matilda legend and aboriginal history & culture. As well as opal mining, Qantas and even showing you about the Shearers Strike and the Dinosaur trail.

The museum tells the story of Waltzing Matilda, the Exhibition tells about WW1, the Art Gallery displays travelling exhibitions, and lastly the Qantilda Museum tells the story and history of the Winton Shire. This is not to be missed on your Queensland Outback Adventures.

Price – $32/Adult (2020)

Opening Days/Hours:

April to September is Open 7 days a week : 9am – 5pm

October to March is Open Monday to Friday : 9am to 5pm

Please click this link to watch my You Tube on The Waltzing Matalida Information Centre

Waltzing Matilda Centre Winton

Channel Country Tourist Park

Ultimately, the Channel Country Tourist Park is a place to stay with both Camping and Cabins accommodations. Alternatively, you have a unique experience with Hot Artesian water being used in Spa Baths. This makes for a relaxing experience all day, or while your watching the sunset.

Other options in the area would be to climb to the top of Baldy Top Lookout. I managed to catch an amazing sunrise there. Furthermore, right near the airport you have a free Opal fossicking area and you can try your luck at finding your fortune.

Channel Country Tourist Park Quilpie Spas
Channel Country Tourist Park Quilpie Spas

Age of Dinosaurs Winton

One of the Biggest highlights on your Outback Adventures in Winton, is learning about the dinosaurs that roamed the area millions of years ago.

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We ended up purchasing the package deal called the Ultimate Dinosaur pass. This package takes about 3 hours and has 3 different sections of the museum to see. You have a number of different tours time throughout the day to choose from and cost $55 for each Adult (2020). Alternatively, the centre has a small café and store where you can buy lots of Dinosaur themed toys, books & souvenirs.

Opening days

April to 30 November   Open everyday

December to March     (Closed Sundays)

Fossil Prep Laboratory

First stop is the Fossil preparation laboratory, which goes for about 30 minutes. This is where you are guided behind-the-scenes through the most productive Fossil Preparation Laboratory in the Southern Hemisphere. Discover how dinosaurs are found and move to this department to eventually be on display.

The Collection Room

The Collection Room takes about another 30 mins in a dark Movie theatre. It holds the only known specimens of Australia’s largest, and most complete carnivorous dinosaur – nicknamed “Banjo”. The guide & documentary film tell the story of “Banjo” and “Matilda” and you watch as the fossils are put together and brought back to life.

Dinosaur Canyon

Dinosaur Canyon takes about 1.5 hours including the 10 mins drive to the canyon. You get to the outpost and the guide will lead you along the way with commentary of all the different sections.

This includes:

  • Death in the Billabong exhibit
  • Cretaceous Garden and the Valley of the Cycads.
  • Pterodactylus Family exhibit
  • the Dinosaur Stampede exhibit which represents the Lark Quarry stampede
  • The Kunbarrasaurus exhibit

These are all life-size dinosaur exhibits being displayed around easy to walk on pathways and lookout points.

Please click this link to watch my You Tube on Age of Dinosaurs Exhibit

Age of Dinosaurs Winton - Outback Adventure
Dinosaur Canyon Winton

Truck Museum Winton

Officially called Winton’s Diamondtina heritage truck & machinery museum where there is a history lesson on how Australia’s transport pioneers carved a road transport network.  They recognise the men and women who contributed and drove all these great machines of the past. Venture through the undercover sheds or check out all the rough diamonds out the back.

It First opened in Winton in 2007, and established by a group of community minded truck enthusiasts who used the local area and surrounds to collect a number of different additions to this awesome collection.

Highlights of the collection are the legendary lady truckie Toots Holzheimer who pioneered to truck route from Cairns to Weipa. Other additions you could see are an 1890 Ruston stationary steam engine, 1910 Talbot, 1934 dodge Fargo and Several Leland trucks. As well as an International Atkinson which is a local addition called the Diamondtina King and a collection of small stationary engines dating back to the 1930’s.

Truck Museum Winton - Best Outback Adventures

Windorah

Windorah is a small country town located in Channel Country, or the Barcoo Shire. This is your first look at the bright red sand with the Windorah Sand Hills or the Welford National Park. You could easily spend a few days exploring the different areas, or simply watching the amazing sunsets. You obviously have the camping sites or free camping available in the area. Alternatively, the Western Star Hotel is there for your fixed accommodation needs. 

Please click this link to watch my You Tube on Windorah & the Sand Hills

Windorah Sand Hills - Outback Queensland
Windorah Sand Hills – Outback Queensland

Qantas Founders Museum

No visit to Longreach would be complete without visiting the Qantas Founders Museum. This has been on my radar for a few years and really glad I had an opportunity this year. Our visit consisted of a night tour and a morning tour. The night tour was to see the Luminescence show and the Morning tour walked us the through the museum, Guided Airpark tour & a Wing walk on the 747 plane. 

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The Luminescence Show went for about 20 mins just after dusk. A Qantas story is told in lights in which the 747 plane is used as a white canvas to display. The whole experience is just beautiful and only cost $20 per adult.  

The next day we spent about 4 to 5 hours going through a number of different open museum exhibits. The guided Airpark tour took about 1.5 hours and was a great opportunity to learn the different planes. This included, the Boeing 707, Boeing 747, Super constellation & DC-3. The new overhead enclosure is awesome to keep out the rain and harsh sun. 

My highlight was walking on the wing of the Boeing 747 as I haven’t seen anything like this around the world. Being a part of this tour you got to enjoy different areas of the plane including being in the drivers seat and having a play. As well as checking out the new viewing platform over the Airpark.

Please click this link to watch my You Tube on the Qantas Founders Museum 

Qantas Founders Museum, Longreach - Outback Adventures Queensland
Aquarius Traveller in Longreach walking the wing of 747 Qantas Plane

Australian Stockmans Hall of Fame

Longreach is only a small town ( known as the Heart of the Queensland Outback) with roughly 3000 people but hordes of tourists will flock to this place each year to enjoy what the town has to offer. One main site on your Outback Adventures, is visiting the Australian Stockman’s hall of fame.

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The Australian Stockmans Hall of fame is a museum tribute to the pioneers of the the Australia Outback along with the Stockman who shown bravery and courage working the lands. The statue out the front is named “The ringer” and was sculpted to mark the opening of the centre in 1988. It symbolises endurance against all the odds.

General Admission for an Adult is $35 AUD (2020) and bookings are essential at busy times. There are different packages available, as well as live shows and a dinner ( if available).

There is a cinematic Experience which is fairly new and included in the normal general admission ticket price. Its showcasing virtual and real footage across a 16 metre screen which will bring your senses alive seeing through the eyes of an Australian Stockman.

You enter the museum and find there is a couple of different floors with six themed galleries depicting an important aspect of the pioneering history. The Discovery Centre, the Pioneers, Outback Property’s, Royal Flying Doctors, Stocks Workers & an Art Gallery.

I’m told there is more than 1200 items currently on display but ever growing with new donations and increased exhibits. These comprise of objects, Images, audio visual presentations and open displays to tell the story of Outback Australia.

Please click this link to watch my You Tube on the Australian Stockmans Hall of Fame

Australian Stockmans Hall of Fame Longreach QLD - Outback Adventures | Things to do In Longreach

Baldy Top Lookout near Quilpie

The Baldy Top lookout is about seven kilometres or 10 minutes outside the town of Quilpie. It’s only a short walk to the top but gives you a perfect, clear view of the Queensland Outback valley floor. If you’re lucky to catch it on the right day with some high cloud cover, you can see something like in the photo below. The great thing is, this spot is good for sunrise or sunset.

The town of Quilpie is small, but check out the Chanel Country Tourist Park if you need somewhere to stay. There are some hot artesian Spa Baths for relaxing in, after a long day touring!

Baldy Top Lookout, Quilpie - Outback Queensland
Fiery Sunrise at Baldy Top Lookout, Quilpie

Charlotte Plains Station

Spend a couple of days on a Sheep property and unwind in your very own Bath tub full of Hot Artesian Water. This is exactly what your Going to get at Charlotte Plains Station and the unique open-air hot tubs experience. Located about 40 minutes outside of Cunnamulla and offering both Camping and cabin accommodations. 

Please click this link to watch my You Tube on Charlotte Plains Station 

Charlotte Plains Station - Artesian Hot baths | Outback Queensland

Eromanga Natural History Museum

The Eromanga Natural History Museum is part of the Dinosaur trail you will find all through the Queensland Outback. This includes Winton, Hughenden, and Richmond. The town of Eromanga is small, so we only stopped in for a day trip in between Quilpie and Windorah. This was enough time to take the tour, have some lunch and be on our way. If you have more time though, I know some do hang around for a couple of days.

Definitely take advantage of the Australian Wildflowers in the area and keep an eye out on the side of the road. Between Eromanga and Windorah was where I saw the most.

As for the museum, it was only a short hour tour and tells the story about “Cooper & George”, the Largest Dinosaur bones found in Australia. There is a very nice, new centre developed with a small cafe for drinks and snacks. Eventually, they will take you out the back to see the replica bones, the process in order to uncover the bones, and where they were found. The tour is very similar to the Age of Dinosaur exhibit in Winton but well worth the extra stop in here.

NOTE – They are building a life size version of the Dinosaur found and you should visit for that alone!

Please click this link to watch my You Tube on The Eromanga Natural History Museum

Eromanga Dinosaur Museum | Eromanga Natural History Museum - Outback Queensland
Eromanga Dinosaur Museum | Eromanga Natural History Museum – Outback Queensland

Carnarvon Gorge

Who’s into hiking? Then I have just the spot for you! Carnarvon Gorge has a number of different spots to enjoy and hike around. The hikes are fairly easy (in the main section) and not much elevation, just long (depending on where you go). 

Your journey will take you up the sides of the Gorge, crossing at a number of different spots. As well as a number of detours off the main track to see some gorgeous spots. My favourites would have to be the moss garden and the amphitheatre, along with mickey creek and warumbah on their own track. 

There are camping and cabins options for accommodation right near the track. Another cheap option could be staying at Rolleston, but this is also an hours drive one way from the park. If your option is a multi-day hikes, there is bush camping along the track. 

Watch out for wildlife as there are plenty around – especially kangaroos. One tip would be not to leave packaged food in your car, some animals can find there way in!

Check out my two part You Tube video series below for Carnarvon Gorge:

The Moss Garden and the Amphitheatre

Mickey Creek and Warrumbah Gorge

Aquarius traveller at Carnarvon Gorge Queensland, Outback Adventures

Big Red – Birdsville

You can’t get any more remote than making it to Birdsville in Outback Queensland. About 16 Hours west of Brisbane and very close to the South Australian and Northern Territory border. This is the Simpson Desert and where you will find the Big Red Sand Dune which is high on peoples bucket list. This is the first and the highest Sand dune, out of 1140 Dunes, driving into the Munga Thirri National Park. Standing at 40 metres high, it doesn’t seem to be that difficult to get up, but you do need to have your 4WD basics down. 

Please click this link to watch my You Tube on Driving up the Big Red Sand Dune

The Big Red Sand Dune, Birdsville
The Big Red Sand Dune, Birdsville

Dreamtime Serpent Rock

This will be a short 15 minute stop in between Birdsville and Betoota. If you’re travelling into Birdsville, it’s signed as a rest stop on the right-hand side of the road. The Art piece depicted below is straight across the road and a must-see when touring around the Queensland Outback.

This is the Dreamtime Serpent Rock, So huge it was only possible to photograph in its entirety with my drone. This is an Indigenous Art installment placed on a hill made out of rocks and dirt supplied in the area.

Please click this link to watch my You Tube ( Shorts) on The Dreamtime Serpent Rock Art Installation

Serpent Rock - Between Windorah & Birdsville - Outback Queensland
Serpent Rock – Between Windorah & Birdsville

Roma Bottle Tree

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Roma has heaps of bottle trees around, but have you ever seen one with a girth of 9.5 metres? If you just passing through, then take 10 mins to stop off and see this marvel of nature.

Aquarius Traveller at Romas Bottle Tree, Outback Adventures, Queensland

Charleville

The town of Charleville has so much to offer a tourist and a big hit for every kind of traveller. Due to the Cosmos Centre, I find it’s advertised as the darkest area for watching the stars, but you can see this anywhere in the Queensland Outback. The Cosmos Centre does allow you to view the sun and stars from high-powered telescopes and a worthwhile experience.

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Apart from that, The Australian Bilby experience is definitely a must, which is located right next to the Tourist Information centre. Additionally, the weather balloon releasing every morning at 915 at the airport was pretty cool too. In addition, if you’re into World War remnants, then you might want to visit the secret base and also tour the ruins still left from the American Base.

We only managed to stay two nights here, but definitely could have used a couple more for the activities. If you looking for somewhere to stay then the Bailey Bar Caravan Park was where we stayed.

Please click this link to watch my You Tube on Highlights of Charleville

Cosmos Centre Charleville, Outback Queensland
Cosmos Centre Charleville, Outback Queensland

Tree of Knowledge Barcaldine

Passing through Barcaldine, then take 10 minutes to stop off and check out the Tree of Knowledge Ghost gum. It symbolises the foundation of the organised representation of labour in Queensland. As well as being added to the Heritage register in 1992.

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Tree of Knowledge Ghost Gum, Barcaldine Queensland

Great Artesian Spa

Visiting a Hot spa is a great addition to your Queensland Outback Adventures. Mitchell Great Artesian Spa, which just looks like a pool, but happens to be around 40 degrees. It’s like a giant natural bath…lol.

A small entry fee of $8AUD (2020) per adult and you can stay as long as you want. Although they recommended 15 mins intervals between the Hot Spa and the normal pool, so you don’t overheat and dehydrate. 

Aquarius traveller at Micthell Great Artesian Spa, Queensland

Blackdown Tablelands National Park

My happy place is anywhere in the water, so I love finding new places to swim in the wild. This national park has a small camping ground and a number of different hikes to do. I was looking for some rock pools, but ending up loving the nice cool waters of Rainbow Falls. The water wasn’t running heaps, so the pool was a little still, but clear as and had a sandy bottom. The 2klm hike including 240 steps was a little harsh on the way out, felt like I needed another swim…lol. Overall, a very nice experience.

Please click this link to watch my You Tube on The Blackdown Tablelands National Park

Aquarius Traveller at Rainbow Falls, Blackdown National Park Outback Adventures Queensland

The Unique Egg Shop

St George is the home of the Unique Egg Shop where a self taught Artist transforms large Emu eggs into an illuminated display piece. There is a $5 charge to see display in the back, but you can enter the store and learn about Stavros ‘Steve’ Margaritis and his passion for his work over the years. 

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St George Unique Egg Shop, Queensland

Painted Silo at Yelarbon

You probably know that these Painted Silo’s are all around Australia and new ones are popping up at the time. This one is located about 30 mins outside of Goondiwindi near the border of Queensland and New South Wales. At this stage, I think there are only a few available in Queensland and an actual trail to follow the ones in Victoria. If your passing by then it’s worth stopping off for 10 mins to appreciate the work that goes into displaying these beautiful art pieces.

Painted Silo at Yelarbon, Queensland - Outback Adventures

Sunrise & Sunsets

The Sunrises and Sunset’s in the outback are always more defined and you can see some amazing colours. This can obviously be done anywhere on your Australian Outback Adventures. I think with less smog and pollutions from city living, the gorgeous come out to play and worth it to stop and appreciate your surroundings.

Aquarius Traveller & a Longreach Sunset, Queensland

Sunflower Farms

Sunflowers across the state are very much seasonal and only around for 2 to 3 weeks after blooming. I’m not that big into flowers, but to see these Sunflowers in person was incredible.

I was lucky to be passing by Warwick in November, and it was just announced a day before that they were flowering. Typically, they tend to flower from January to March, so these ones were a little early. The timing couldn’t be more perfect, and glad I got the opportunity to photograph and see them. This location was on the corner of the New England Highway and Willowvale Road. I wandered down both streets to find the perfect Sunflower for me to photograph. Alternatively, other locations in Queensland are Allora, Toowoomba, Cambooya & Nobby.

Please remember that these farms are private property and should only be observed from the fence. This is the farmer’s livelihood, and you shouldn’t enter the property without permission. Many have trampled or destroyed these Sunflowers by doing so.

Sunflower Season, Warwick November 2020

Girraween National Park

Lots more hiking opportunity’s available at the Girraween National Park. On my recent visit, I completed the Pyramid Track and the Sphinx & Turtle Rock track.

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The Pyramid Track was the shorter of the two ( 2 hours return), but the end was difficult and not for the faint-hearted. The first three-quarters had lots of stairs and average hiking. The last quarter has you scaling a large rock formation and extremely steep.

The Sphinx & Turtle rock track took a little longer or around three hours to return. The was still a lot of uphill section and stairs, but definitely easier than the Pyramid Track.

Overall, the boulders and rock formations are stunning, surrounding the Girraween National Park. The Cicada’s couldn’t have been more hypnotising with their noise.

Please click this link to watch my You Tube on the Pyramid Track Hike

Please click this link to watch my You Tube on the Turtle Rock & Sphinx Track Hike

Girraween National Park Pyramid Track, Queensland, Australia
Pyramid Track
Girraween National Park Turtle Rock track, Queensland, Australia
Turtle Rock Track

Check out my Queensland Outback Adventures Playlist on You Tube here.

Thanks

“Hi, I’m Chris Fry, the writer and photographer behind Aquarius Traveller, where I share my outdoor journeys, provide valuable information and inspiration for your land and underwater travels. I live in Australia, have travelled extensively across Australia and to 36 other countries”

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Chris 😀

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