St Helena Island

Despite being the only island in Moreton Bay with a holy name, St Helena Island has a dark and grim past.

For 65 years (from 1867 to 1932) it was Queensland's maximum security prison for men, and was home to the colony's worst criminals. The Prison Superintendent lived in a magnificent house surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. The house has gone, but glimpses of his opulent lifestyle remain, along with other ruins which are a reminder of personal enterprise and suffering. Today's St Helena provides visitors with an eerie insight into its bleak past, which gave rise to its reputation as 'the hell hole of the Pacific' and 'Queensland's Inferno'.

Located four kilometres from the mouth of the Brisbane River, St Helena Island is one of Queensland's most historic islands and has been preserved as Historic National Park - the first of its type Queensland.

Today, an environmental education centre operates on the island. It helps students understand how European settlers changed the Australian landscape and colonial Queensland's social and political history affected the lives of St Helena's prisoners and wardens.

Tour operators conduct educational historic tours of St Helena, but more daring types can enjoy 'Ghost Tour' at night, when visitors can watch live, moonlit vignettes re-enacting the Island's history.

Private boat owners can join a Ranger-led tour on weekends and public holidays by making prior arrangements with Rangers on St.Helena Island. Fees apply.

Other Information

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Family friendly – please refer to operator's website for services and facilities.

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Simpson Desert National Park

Birdsville, Diamantina Area
Free Entry
Spanning 1,012,000 hectares in the arid outback, this is Queensland’s largest protected area. Parallel wind-blown sand dunes dominate the striking landscape. Some extend 200 kilometres and reach 90 metres high.

French Line - Simpson Desert

Birdsville, Diamantina Area
Free Entry
The Simpson Desert is undoubtedly Australia's most loved desert with large numbers of visitors each year accepting the challenge of crossing the Simpson. Winter rains carpet the desert in wildflowers and the night skies are a star gazers delight.
Free Entry
The landscape and scenery on the Winton - Boulia via Diamantina National Park journey will leave you awestruck. A challenging journey, this relatively isolated route will require the driver to be well prepared as there are no fuel or food facilities.

Diamantina National Park Circuit

Bedourie, Diamantina Area
Free Entry
Diamantina National Park has been named one of Australia’s top 10 national parks by the Worldwide Fund for Nature. The drive passes through a variety of landscapes, from the river channels and waterholes on the flood plains, to sand dunes, gibber plains and grasslands.

Birdsville Track

Birdsville, Diamantina Area
Free Entry
An Australian Outback Adventure, the well maintained, unsealed track links Birdsville in Queensland's south-west to Maree in the mid-north of South Australia. The Birdsville Track covers some of Australia's most beautiful and challenging country, passing through the Simpson Desert and Sturt's Stoney Desert.

Diamantina National Park

Bedourie, Diamantina Area
Free Entry
In Diamantina National Park, the mighty Diamantina River, one of Queensland’s longest, cuts braided channels through gibber flats, sand dunes and red-capped ranges. The park supports a large number of rare and threatened plants and animals, including the greater bilby.

Red Sandhills

Windorah, Barcoo Area
Free Entry
The Red Sandhills ten kilometres west of Windorah on the Birdsville Road are the reddest that you will find anywhere. They may not be very high, but they are worth stopping to admire, especially for photographers.

Waddi Trees

Birdsville, Diamantina Area
Free Entry
One of Australia’s rarest plants, the Waddi Trees (Acacia puece) have spiky, needle-like leaves and thick bark. The Waddi tree piqued early explorer William John Wills’ interest, with some samples of the seeds found buried in his diary after his death.

Cuttaburra Crossing

Bedourie, Diamantina Area
Free Entry
Cuttaburra Crossing is a permanent waterhole and a renowned wetland on the Eyre Creek. It is located between Lake Koolivoo and Lake Machattie. Cuttaburra Crossing is home to many species of birdlife.

Big Red

Birdsville, Diamantina Area
Free Entry
Standing at 30 metres in height, this awesome sand dune, Big Red, provides a challenge for any four wheel drive enthusiast. The first of 1113 dunes in the Simpson Desert, the spectacular sunsets from the top of Big Red are an experience not to be missed.
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Note: Information on listed products and services are provided by the operator and were correct at the time of publishing. Rates are indicative based on the minimum and maximum available prices of products and services. Please visit the operator’s website for further information. All prices quoted are in Australian dollars (AUD).