Spread the love
" />
Back to home
in Travel, Travel Australia

Discovering Outback Queensland: Camooweal to Emerald

  • August 29, 2014
  • By 50 Shades
  • 4 Comments
Discovering Outback Queensland: Camooweal to Emerald

We crossed the border into our home state of Queensland after leaving Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory. The countryside was stark and barren with wide expanses of flat plains with little vegetation and a roadside that was littered with dead Kangaroos. Discovering Outback Queensland was a revelation. We found it to be largely affected by drought over a lengthy period, so we were surprised by the large amount of Australian wildlife.

Pink Skies in the Arid Outback

Pink Skies in the Outback

Our first stop was the small town of Camooweal situated on the Georgina River, just 12 kilometres over the Northern Territory/Queensland border. Here we camped for a few nights on the Georgina River billabong that was teeming with a variety of waterbirds.

Camooweal

Camooweal proudly declares itself as being the “Gateway to the Northern Territory/Queensland”. The surrounding district is honeycombed with rare sink holes and caves, dating back to the Cambrian Period, about 500 million years ago. For those who are experienced in serious caving, they will discover a whole new world beneath the Camooweal region.

Camooweal Caves

Camooweal Caves

While in Camooweal visit The Barkly Tableland Heritage Centre, Freckleton’s Store, Camooweal Caves National Park, Camooweal Cemetery and the Drovers Camp Information Centre. It is very much the home of the drover and a visit to the Drovers Camp shares the story of droving in the outback in an entertaining way.

Camooweal Mural Depicting Drovers

Camooweal Mural Depicting Drovers

Also don’t forget to take a comfy chair, a pair of binoculars and a camera to the waterlily laden Georgina Billabong to view the magnificent waterbirds including Brolgas, Egrets, Pelicans, Swans, Ducks, Corellas, Kytes and White Cockatoos.

Brolgas at Georgina Billabong

Brolgas at Georgina Billabong

20 kilometres south of Camooweal is the Camooweal National Park where you can explore the rare sinkhole caves that were formed 500 million years ago. This park is home to many species of birds, and there is a a camping area beside the billabong.

Georgina Billabong at Sunset

Georgina Billabong at Sunset

Mount Isa

Our next stop across Outback Queensland was in the iconic Australian mining town of Mount Isa, that is dominated by the sprawling Mount Isa Mine with its 270 metre exhaust stack from the lead smelter. The mine is the deepest underground mine and is still the worlds largest single producer of copper, silver, lead and zinc.

Mount Isa Mines

Mount Isa Mines

A good introduction to Mount Isa is a two hour city tour where you will learn the history of mining from discovery to current day operations. Get a bird’s eye view of the town from the Hilary Street Lookout. We discover it’s an especially good spot to take sunset photos or evening mine shots.

Sunset views of Mount Isa from the Lookout

If you don’t do the tour, make sure you see the Underground Hospital that was built in 1942 after the bombing of Darwin. The hospital is tunnelled into the side of a hill and stands as a monument to the ingenuity and tenacity of the people of Mount Isa. There is also the Beth Anderson Museum, that is attached to the underground hospital, that features a wonderful collection of antique medical equipment and stories of the times.

Underground Hospital, Mount Isa

Underground Hospital, Mount Isa

Otherwise The Hard Times Mine tour will take you deep into the heart of mining and give you a unique opportunity to experience what it was actually like to toil far below the surface on a daily basis. Tours are available seven days a week and runs for two and a half hours.

Hard Times Mine, Mount Isa

Hard Times Mine, Mount Isa

Take your fishing rod out to Lake Moondarra, located 16 kilometres north of Mount Isa and try to catch a Barramundi, Sooty Grunter, Long Tom or a Sleepy Cod, (yes these are species of fish!) Lake Moondarra is a large body of water that even has a sandy beach perfect for swimming or enjoying a picnic or BBQ on the foreshores.

Lake Moondarra

If you are into art, then visit the Outback at Isa Artworks, that has the famous miner statue taking pride of place in front. There are exhibits of local outback artists paintings, a copper mural and Riversleigh-inspired quilts, to name a few.

Cloncurry

It was in Cloncurry that the Royal Flying Doctor Service was established in 1928 by John Flynn. It was also involved in the beginnings of Qantas, and the original Qantas Hangar is still in use at the aerodrome. However today it is a small rural town that continues to derive its main income from the mining and pastoral industries. This was our next stop and we found it was packed with interesting things to see and do.

Voted as Queensland’s Friendliest Town in 2013, Cloncurry’s must sees are:

Cloncurry Unearthed

Cloncurry Unearthed

  • Take the heritage walk and stroll through town.
  • Relax at Chinaman Creek Dam or throw in a line.
  • Explore the shaded parklands and outdoor machinery display at Mary Kathleen Park.
  • Visit John Flynn Place Museum and Art Gallery that will take you back in time to explore the beginnings of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the history of outback aviation, medicine and radio.

    John Flynn Place Museum

    John Flynn Place Museum

  • Drop by Cloncurry Unearthed to learn more about the area and see memorabilia of Cloncurry and the district.
  • Reflect back on a bygone era at the Afghan, Chinese and Pioneer Cemeteries.

We headed 57 kilometres west of Cloncurry to Clem Walton Park and Corella Dam that is a great place to camp, fish and bird watch. We camped here for a night right on the shores of the dam and caught some Red Claw, which were absolutely delicious.

Red Claw at Corella Dam

Red Claw at Corella Dam

Winton

With a rich history including the Great Shearer’s Strike, Waltzing Matilda and Qantas, is it any wonder that visitors flock to the town of Winton. However today the town is almost as well known for something far more ancient – Dinosaurs! This was our next stop on our travels across the Outback.

Reconstructed Dinosaur, Winton

Reconstructed Dinosaur, Winton

The first official fossilised footprint of a dinosaur was discovered in 1962 on nearby Cork Station. The Winton area later revealed over 3,300 footprints, a veritable dinosaur stampede. Fossilised remains were discovered for the largest dinosaur in Australia on properties outside of Winton.

Fossiled Dinosaur Bones, Winton

Fossilised Dinosaur Bones, Winton

So base yourself in Winton and take in some of the fascinating history of the region. There are many things to do and see, including:

  • Pull up a stump by the billabong at the Waltzing Matilda Centre, where the ghost tells his side of the story of Waltzing Matilda.

    Waltzing Matilda Place, Winton

    Waltzing Matilda Centre, Winton

  • Listen to the musical composition by composer Graeme Leak, played on a wire fence at the Musical Fence.
  • Take a nostalgic trip into the transport industry at Winton’s Diamantina Heritage Truck & Machinery Museum.
  • Explore the very diverse and scenic grazing property at Carisbrooke Station by doing the station tour.
  • Jump up to the Australia Age of Dinosaurs complex that is home to the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils.

    Australian Age of Dinosaurs, Winton

    Australian Age of Dinosaurs, Winton

  • Travel back in time 95 million years with a visit to the Dinosaur Stampede at Lark Quarry Conservation Park, the site of the dinosaur stampede.
  • Do the Opal Walk that gives you an insight into the boulder opal industry founded within the Winton opal basin.  During the walk view the Royal Open Air Theatre with old time slides and black and white films.

Fossick for an opal at Opalton, Queensland’s capital of the boulder opal, 125 kilometres south of Winton.

Main Street, Winton

Main Street, Winton

Longreach

The thriving centre of Outback Queensland where they say “heritage was born on the back of legends”, Longreach is not just a town but a way of life. Home to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, Qantas Founders Museum and the Powerhouse Museum, there is a wealth of entertainment to be enjoyed. This Outback town is an absolute must see and where we decided to spend a few days.

Stockman Show, Australian Stockman Hall of Fame, Longreach

Stockman Show, Australian Stockman Hall of Fame, Longreach

Longreach was named for its position near the long reach of the mighty Thomson River, that lies to the north with vast arid plains stretching to the west. Geographically it is located in the dead centre of Queensland’s central west region 1200 kilometres from Brisbane, 700 kilometres from Mt Isa, Townsville and Rockhampton.

Thomson River, Longreach

Thomson River, Longreach

Longreach points of interest include:

  • Australia Stockman’s Hall of Fame pays tribute to Australia’s stockmen and women, pioneering legends and the Royal Flying Doctor Service through an art gallery, artefacts, electronic displays, photographs and films.

    Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame, Longreach

    Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, Longreach

  • Longreach Powerhouse Museum the largest preserved rural generating facility in Australia with social history exhibits, generating equipment and boundary rider’s cottage.
  • Kinnon & Co visit the station store and step back in time with Harry Redford’s Oldtime tent show and a Cobb & Co stage coach gallop.
  • Longreach Railway Station features a railway museum and final stop for the Spirit of the Outback train service.
  • Qantas Founders Museum commemorates this great Australian airline and leader in aviation with a museum, passenger jet tours, wing walk and flight simulator.

    Qantas Founders Museum, Longreach

    Qantas Founders Museum, Longreach

  • Thomson Belle Sunset River Cruise experience the Starlight Spectacular camp oven dinner and explore the river on a historic paddle wheeler.
  • School of Distance Education take a guided tour through one of the largest classrooms in the world.
  • Starlight’s Lookout made famous by Australia’s most well known cattle-duffer, Harry Redford, the spectacular outback landscape stretches out before your eyes.

    Kinnon & Co, Longreach

    Kinnon & Co, Longreach

Longreach is one of those places that you need spend at least five days to enjoy all attractions, entertaining characters and unforgettable hospitality. There is a great travel planner brochure available from the Longreach Visitor Information Centre that sets out a five day itinerary packed full of good old fashioned outback fun.

Australian Stockman Hall of Fame, Longreach

Australian Stockman Hall of Fame, Longreach

Emerald

We continued travelling in an easterly direction through the Central Queensland Gemfields via towns such as Anakie, Sapphire, Willows and Rubyvale. This gem stone-rich region has a mix of commercial mining, hand mining and fossicking for the gem of all gemstone, the sapphire. If you are into a bit of fossicking it is probably worth your while staying at one of these little towns and trying your luck.

Miner’s hut on the gemfields in Sapphire

We continued on to Emerald, that funnily enough is not named after the gemstone of the same name, but for the lush green pastures that once surrounded the town. It is located in Queensland’s Central Highlands area and is the hub for the vast and diverse agricultural and mining operations.

Sunflower Field, Emerald

Sunflower field, Emerald

The surrounding region boasts sprawling national parks with towering escarpments, gorges, rainforests, waterfalls and sweeping views of the endless plains. Carnarvon Gorge is one such national park that is worthwhile visiting. There is also a huge expanse of water called Lake Maraboon near the town of Emerald, that is a holiday destination in itself. So naturally we thought we would mosey on out there to take a look.

Central Highlands, Emerald

Central Highlands, Emerald

The must dos in Emerald are:

  • Visit the giant Van Gogh Sunflower painting and mosaic pathway in Morton Park.

    Van Gogh Easel, Emerald

    Van Gogh Easel, Emerald

  • Stroll Egerton Street and view the magnificent public art display.
  • Enjoy a relaxing stroll through Emerald Botanic Gardens.
  • Throw in a line, swim or paddle a kayak at Lake Maraboon.

    Lake Maraboon, Emerald

    Lake Maraboon, Emerald

  • Drive out of town through expansive agricultural countryside with citrus orchards, crops of sorghum, oats, barley, sunflowers, soybean and wheat, cotton fields, avocado and mango trees, grapes and peanuts.
  • Have your photo taken at Emerald’s historic Railway Station.

    Emerald Railway Station

    Emerald Railway Station

This was the last stop for us before we hit the region’s major city, Rockhampton and the picturesque beaches and islands along the Capricorn Coast. We thoroughly enjoyed our outback adventure and would highly recommend the experience to every Australian or overseas tourist who wants to get a taste of the “real Australia”.

 

Spread the love
By 50 Shades, August 29, 2014 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
  • 4

50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

The Best of Bendigo
Planning A Trip To Japan
4 Comments
  • Lee-Anne
    August 29, 2014

    Gorgeous photos – enjoying my foray into the outback via email!! :)

    • Kathy
      August 29, 2014

      I’m glad you enjoyed my pictorial of the Outback. For a place that has hundreds and hundreds of vast expanses of nothingness, it was a rather interesting place to visit. It does have a certain beauty.

  • jan
    August 30, 2014

    Wow – a huge post and a wonderful resource for anyone heading out west. We have been to all these places and hope to revisit some of them in the not too distant future. Great Post.

    • Kathy
      August 30, 2014

      Thanks Jan. It was a massive area to cover and that was without going off the beaten track too much. I can’t imagine how long it would take you to travel to all of the places in the Outback of Queensland. I would probably need at least another six months.

Comments are closed.

The Big Lap Bible
Big-Lap-Bible
Partica
Buy my articles on

Download, Edit & Post
Quality Written Articles
Motorhome Republic
Loading search form...
I Want That Flight

OUT NOW!! 50 Shades of Age eBook

Women Over 50 Blogs

Subscribe To Blog Via Email

Don't miss new posts! Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
Instagram API currently not available.