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Bonding at Undara Experience

10 Reasons kids love the Outback Queensland

Outback Queensland is the quintessential Aussie family holiday, writes Cristy Houghton.


utback Queensland is a holiday for every member of the family and an Aussie must-do. Take a trip through history with our nation’s pioneers, cosy up with a camel, meet some cute critters, dream of the stars and follow in the footsteps of dinosaurs. All this and more awaits parents and kids on a road trip from Charleville to Undara Volcanic Park, Birdsville to Lawn Hill National Park.

1. Meet A Bilby

The shows at the Charleville Bilby Experience are a must for any family – even just to prove they’re not really made of chocolate. While you’re there, book in for the up-close-andpersonal encounter where you get to meet a bilby in the keeper’s arms and have a guided tour of the cuter-than-cute marsupial’s home.

2. Camp on a working farm

If you’re looking for a special place, Bonus Downs Farmstay is for you. Unplug and reconnect, pitch a tent, and take in the beauty and historical wonder of this working station. The kids can help round up sheep and learn to crack a whip, while parents enjoy country hospitality and delicious home cooking without having to lift a finger.

3. Ride a camel in the desert

Birdsville is Australia’s most iconic outback town and home to the Big Red Bash which has topped the bucket list for many families and travellers. Some big Aussie names – such as the legendary Lee Kernaghan and Missy Higgins – headline this event every July, giving you the perfect excuse to head west. Take in the red dirt, big blue sky, wide-open spaces and distant horizons all from the back of a camel while you’re there.

4. Go on a stagecoach ride

On Outback Pioneers’ authentic stagecoach experience you’ll travel in a restored Cobb & Co stagecoach along the original Longreach- Windorah mail route then the pace steps up a notch (or 10). Turning up dirt, with the sound of hooves pounding beneath you, is the closest you’ll get to feeling like you’re back in the pioneer days. When your heartbeat returns to normal, there’s time for photos and a classic Australian movie in retro cinema seats.

5. Canoe down a gorge

Paddle your way through the still waters of Lawn Hill Gorge in Boodjamulla National Park – an ideal way to explore this picturesque paradise. In fact, let the kids do the hard work while you marvel at the beautiful surroundings of sandstone cliffs, emerald waters and lush vegetation. This is a perfect outback oasis but beware... you may never want to leave. Don’t have a canoe? No problem. Canoes can be hired from Adels Grove Camping Park.

6. Be a pilot for a day

Longreach is the home of Qantas, and the Qantas Founders Museum is a spectacular showcase of genuine artefacts and exhibits that tell the story of the brand and Australian aviation history. The award-winning museum offers tours ranging from jet tours to wing walks, but for those who want to be more hands-on you can indulge in a 30-minute Lockheed F-35 simulator experience.

7. Make tracks on the dinosaur trail

Who knew Australia had such a rich prehistoric history? There is a dedicated trail through the Outback Queensland towns of Richmond, Hughenden and Winton. Let the kids get lost in their own ‘Jurassic Park’ in Winton. Dinosaur Trackways is home to the remains of a dinosaur stampede of at least 150 small two-legged dinosaurs. With both pram and wheelchair access, no one has to miss out on this exciting chase! While in town, continue fossicking at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum, where the interactive tour is sure to delight little ones.

8. Explore lava Tubes

Quick science lesson boys and girls! Lava tubes are a type of cave formed when a lava stream builds a hard outside crust. When the lava stream clears, you’re left with an incredible natural cave where you can walk the path of a volcano. With the Undara Experience kids and parents alike are sure to have great fun exploring these unique formations.

9. Surf a sand dune

True outback folk know you don’t need an ocean to surf. Boogie boards, pieces of cardboard or whatever you can get your hands on... why not take the Esky lid for a surf down the Big Red sand dune at Birdsville! Sand boarding is bound to appeal to young kids and the young at heart. Be game, have a laugh and be ready to capture that wipe-out with a photo (#gnarlydude).

10. Search the stars

If you don’t know your Milky Way from your Big Dipper or your Mars from your Mercury, then head to the Cosmos Centre & Observatory in Charleville. The staff will reel off plenty of facts to impress the kids while you immerse yourself in the beauty of the outback’s night sky. You can even view the sun during the day through the special solar scope.


Getting there

Qantas flies from Brisbane to Sydney and Melbourne daily.
Longreach is a 19-hour drive from Sydney and 13 hours from Brisbane.

This article appeared in volume 52 of Holidays with Kids magazine. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.

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