Surat

Fresh air and great fishing are two good reasons to spend some time in the picturesque little town of Surat, midway between St George and Roma on the Great Inland Way.

But they're not the only things you'll find in this relaxed river town. Take your time to soak up the history of Cobb & Co, unwind on a river walk or picnic in the tranquil surrounds of the Balonne's riverside parklands.

Early mornings are gold for birdwatchers. Active types can get out on the river water skiing or jetskiing and then there's the fishing. The Balonne is an angler's paradise and locals are only too happy to swap fishing tips and recommend favourite spots to wet a line.

Steeped in history with links to Cobb & Co and the 'boom time' of the wool-growing industry, Surat is a 'must-see' for any history buff. Here you'll get a taste of life as it used to be. The Cobb & Co Changing Station, the original site of the Cobb & Co Store and a 'drop-off' point for coach travellers and goods, houses a museum of regularly changing displays depicting the lifestyles of yesteryear including a 14-seater Cobb & Co coach.

The complex houses the Surat on Balonne Gallery, featuring local and travelling exhibitions, and the Window to the Balonne Aquarium - a 25,000 litre fresh water aquarium displaying a range of native fish species.

Make a visit to the Aboriginal Interpretative Shelter, which displays family histories of Aboriginal families who lived on the site in the mid 1900s.

Nature lovers and photographers visiting from January to May will love Beranga Creek with its blanket of colourful water lillies.

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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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