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Outback Queensland Adventure

Queensland’s True Blue charm is right on our doorsteps, as Natarsha Brown discovers.

When we think ‘Queensland’ images of Gold Coast’s beaches, snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef or the lush forests of the Daintree tend to come to mind. However, loop a little inland and you will discover a land of red soil, defined by attitudes of the good ol’ days and nature’s raw beauty. A place where you can sleep under the stars, have a beer with a real-life Mick Dundee, dig for a dinosaur, shear a sheep or watch a rodeo.



Dino delight

Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? As a kid you get bitten by The Land Before Time bug, and as you get older you only grow out of one obsession to find another, Jurassic Park. Whatever the roots of humanity’s unrelenting prehistoric curiosity, Queensland’s Dinosaur Trail is sure to thrill all ages.

Travel back in time with a visit to Winton’s Lake Quarry Dinosaur Trackways , the only dinosaur stampede tracks on earth and the inspiration behind the stampede scene in Spielberg’s blockbuster. While in town, continue fossicking at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum. The team have been excavating fossils from western Queensland since 2001, sparked by the discovery of one of Australia’s largest dinosaurs – sauropod Elliot – in 1999. The archaeological gem’s interactive tour is sure to delight the little ones as they discover how dinosaurs are found and recovered, touch real fossils and see the staff prepare bones. Have the kids snap a selfie with the 10-metre prehistoric sea monster at Richmond’s Kronosaurus Korner, Australia’s premier marine fossil museum to impress at their next show-and-tell. If mum and dad are feeling in need of a kiddie break, there is even a Krono Kids Korner to drop the kids off while parents enjoy the exhibits at a more leisurely pace.

Life on the land

A nod to all things ‘outback’, the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach contains over 1200 historical artefacts, images and audio-visual displays telling the story of Australia’s rural pioneers. Kids will be thrilled by the Children’s Discovery Drawers scattered throughout the galleries and the Outback Stockman’s Show, where third generation horse breaker and stockman, Lachie Cossor, demonstrates the tricks of the trade with the help of his favourite farm animals.

While you’re in Longreach, live the pioneering spirit of outback Queensland with the unique Kinnon & Co experiences and understand why these Aussie’s are proud to call the outback home. Travel leisurely along the dirt road through town on a Cobb & Co Stagecoach, before the magnificent horses break into a gallop along a stretch of the original Longreach- Windorah mail route and top off the experience with a traditional ‘smoko’ and movie showing.



Starlight’s Cruise Experience on the Thomson River is an experience like no other on board the only paddle wheeler west of the Great Divide. With a stockman’s campfire dinner followed by bush poetry with a local storyteller complemented by billy tea and damper under the stars you’ll have a whole new appreciation for outback life. The whole family will have a blast at the hilarious Harry Redford’s Old Time Tent Show; experience all that Aussie outback humour has to offer, featuring animals, stockmen and side splitting laughs.

A visit to historic Nogo Station is an experience not to be missed. On this real working station you’ll see sheep being sheared by a champion, enjoy a tasty morning tea with Abigail, the homeowner, and experience the ‘station water run’ to ensure all animals have enough water in the dry heat of the outback.



All things aeronautical

A night session at Charleville Cosmos Centre and Observatory will have the little ones ‘ohhing’ and ‘ahhing’ as they gaze up at the Milky Way from the lens of a Meade telescope, hold a meteorite in the palm of their hand and spot the rings of Saturn. While in town, be sure not to miss the unique Bilby Experience, where the kids get up close and personal to Australia’s cute Easter bunny alternatives.

The family will discover that the sky’s the limit at Longreach’s Qantas Founders Museum as you learn about the secrets of the Boeing 747, experience the early Qantas working conditions in the 1922 National Heritage Listed Qantas Hangar and “fly” a World War One Bristol Fighter flight simulator. The birthplace of Qantas has an extensive collection of aircraft, including the first jet aircraft Qantas owned, the new Catalina “Double Sunrise” display and three 1920s replica aircraft including the DH-61 which was the first Qantas aircraft fitted with a toilet. Keeping restless kids in mind, the museum also has a Children’s Play Zone, a Kids Trail and Museum and Jet Tour quiz.




Step outside

Put simply, Boodjamulla National Park is one of the most beautiful places in outback Queensland. Located in Queensland’s arid North-West via a mostly unsealed 320-kilometre road from Mount Isa, the park’s remoteness has yet to stop visitors from flocking to this oasis of the outback. Unexpected and arresting; sandstone cliffs climb from palm-fringed emerald waters and the best way to take it all in is from a canoe. Available to hire from Adel’s Grove Camping Park, the boats seat up to three people so there is no need to worry about the little ones not being able to keep up! Around 20 kilometres of walking tracks spread out from the gorge and the waterholes are idyllic for swimming. Camping is allowed in two areas: Lawn Hill Gorge and Miyumba Bush Camp near the Gregory River. Permits are required and bookings are essential; alternatively, Adels Grove offers ensuite rooms plus dinner, bed and breakfast options.

Known for its wild countryside and curried camel pies, Birdsville is also the gateway to the sands of the Simpson Desert. Standing at 20 metres high on the outskirts of town, the Big Red sand dune has become a sunset selfie destination. Desert Edge Tours takes you straight to the top for dusk, photo opportunities and complimentary drinks, visiting historical local sites along the way.



***Outback QLD Report Card***


Information
www.outbackqueensland.com.au

Getting there
Qantas flies from Brisbane to Sydney and Melbourne daily. www.qantas.com.au
Longreach is a 19-hour drive from Sydney and 13 hours from Brisbane.

Stay
Albert Park Motor Inn
www.longreachaccommodation.com
Birdsville Caravan Park
www.birdsvillecaravanpark.com
The Rocks Motel
www.rocksmotel.com.au
Copper City Motel
www.coppercitymotel.net.au

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