Central West Outback Adventure Drive

Multiple Locations

Nothing beats an outback road trip through the wide-open spaces, sweeping sand dunes and quirky towns of central west Queensland's 'big sky country'. Beginning in Longreach, the home of Qantas and the Stockman's Hall of Fame, this five day adventure drive will give you a taste of what life in one of Australia's most remote regions is like.

Journey Details

Duration
120 Hours
Distance
1463 Kilometres

Facilities

  • Pets allowed, enquire on booking

Other Information

Family Friendly:

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

Full Itinerary

Winton to Boulia

After exploring Winton's unique attractions, like the eccentric 'music fence', boulder opal displays and dinosaur fossil displays, head westward towards Boulia. Call in to Middleton, the pub on the side of the road with the world's most remote 'Hilton Hotel', and keep an eye out for the mesas, what the locals call 'jump ups', that are a reminder of the ancient inland sea that once covered this whole area. The Cawnpore lookout offers a spectacular view and information boards about these prehistoric landmarks.

Boulia is the heart of 'Min Min' country, and a visit to the sensational Min Min Encounter will give you the heebie jeebies as you find out just how eerie these mysterious lights are, and you may hope you never see one for yourself! The historic Stone House, the oldest house in town, now houses a collection of aboriginal artifacts, local memorabilia and a dinosaur fossil display.

Historic ruins in the area include the Min Min Hotel, on the way into town, and the police barracks, 19 kilometres north of town. The adventurous four-wheel-drive traveller can head to the Diamantina National Park, 150 kilometres south-east of Boulia, where the mighty Diamantina River flows through the Diamantina Gates.

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Route Details

Route Type
One Way
Level of Difficulty
Level 2: Suitable for families with young children
Mode of Travel
Car
Boulia to Birdsville

Heading south, don't miss the turn-off to the Vaughan Johnson Lookout on the border of the Boulia and Diamantina Shires. Its 'loo with a view' offers sensational views over the channel country, some of Australia's best cattle fattening land.

Explore Bedourie and soak in the tranquility of this desert oasis at the natural artesian spa and aquatic centre. Visit the historic Royal Hotel before heading south to Birdsville via the Bilby Way and keep an eye out for these little endangered marsupials, particularly in the early hours of the morning. Walk through the Carcoory Homestead Ruins and just before reaching Birdsville, look out for the patch of Waddi trees, an extremely rare species growing in only three places world-wide.

In Birdsville, sip a coldie at the iconic Birdsville Hotel, and enjoy one of the quintessentially outback pies, such as 'curried camel' or 'kangaroo claret', at the Birdsville Bakery. The 35 kilometre drive westward to the 40 metre high 'Big Red' sand-dune is worth it. Watch the sun set over the Simpson Desert or venture to Poeppel corner; the junction of Queensland, the Northern Territory and South Australia, 175 kilometres west of Birdsville but only for very well equipped four-wheel-drive travellers.

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Route Details

Route Type
One Way
Level of Difficulty
Level 3: Recommended for people with some bushwalking experience
Mode of Travel
Car
Birdsville to Windorah

The 350 kilometre drive to Windorah passes Betoota, Australia's smallest town. With a population of zero, this once-thriving Cobb & Co. exchange and inter-colony toll point declined after federation to leave a sole pub, which was abandoned in 1997. These days, Betoota comes alive twice a year for its annual horse and motorbike gymkhana and race meet, and the ghostly old pub still stands proud on the lonely gibber flat. Just down the road, a magnificent rainbow serpent is blazed upon a ridge and looks spectacular from both the road and the air. A little further and Deon's Lookout rises above the channel country flats and is a superb lunch stop for those heading on to Windorah.

In Windorah, the celebrated Western Star Hotel is a great place to meet some of the locals, while the Cooper Creek, a legendary channel country waterway, is a refreshing swim or fishing stop after a 16 kilometres nature drive to the east of town. Discover the picturesque red sand hills to the west of town and watch the magical sunset reflected in the thousands of mirrors mounted on the giant solar panels nearby.

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Route Details

Route Type
One Way
Level of Difficulty
Level 3: Recommended for people with some bushwalking experience
Mode of Travel
Car
Windorah to Longreach

Following north along the route of the Thomson River, continue on to Longreach. Stop off in the country towns of Jundah and tiny Stonehenge, home to just 30 people. Less than four kilometres from Stonehenge you will find a series of magnificent Rock Holes shaded by ghostly white gum trees, the perfect place to cool off. You will discover some glorious landscapes and scenic lookouts on this trip.

Onto Longreach, home of the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame, Powerhouse Museum and Qantas Founders Outback Museum and a wealth of entertainment and warm, country hospitality. Another highlight of a visit to Longreach is a cruise on the Thomson River. Qantas Airlines began in nearby Winton, however its first main operations were from Longreach. So look out for a replica of the first Qantas booking office as you wander through town.

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Route Details

Route Type
One Way
Level of Difficulty
Level 3: Recommended for people with some bushwalking experience
Mode of Travel
Car

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Accommodation
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Western Star Hotel

Windorah, Barcoo Area
From AU$85 - 165
The Western Star Hotel has been a unique family owned hotel for over 18 years. Situated in Windorah, the pub is nearby the great Cooper Creek and red sand hills. The Western Star Hotel provides tourists, local community and neighbouring properties with an authentic outback pub experience with modern pub facilities. The hotel includes a bar, Sandhill Grill Restaurant, self-contained motel units and budget accommodation. The Pub plays host to the International Yabbie Races and as integral part of a small isolated community, is the place to have a yarn, a feed and a cold beverage.

Diamantina National Park Camping Ground

Bedourie, Diamantina Area
From AU$11.90 - 11.90
Enjoy spectacular sunsets and abundant bird life from the banks of the Diamantina River at Hunters Gorge camping area, or relax beside Whistling Duck Creek and enjoy bush camping beneath shady coolibah trees at Gum Hole camping area. Camping permits are required and fees apply. A camping tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

Birdsville Hotel - The Outback Loop

Birdsville, Diamantina Area
From AU$165 - 190
The Birdsville Hotel is as remote as a place gets, standing since 1884 on the edge of the last untamed frontier, the Simpson Desert. The pubs name is forged into Australian folklore and everyday travellers make their pilgrimage to one of Australia's most treasured icons. Whether you have driven for days or your aircraft has just landed on the airstrip next to the pub, you'll get the same warm outback welcome. Relax and soak up the true blue atmosphere, or sit up at the bar to hear a few yarns from old drovers, ringers and friendly locals. In the first week of September the population swells from 100 to over 5,000 for the Birdsville Races. This legendary race has been run on a sandy track since 1882 and now boasts professionally trained racehorses and prize money of over AUD100,000.00. For years, yarns have been spun at the Birdsville Pub, lubricated with icy cold beers, and here maps have been scratched into the red desert soil to guide travellers to special spots. This is truly an authentic place where the spirit of Australian mateship is definitely alive and kicking.

Birdsville Caravan Park

Birdsville, Diamantina Area
From AU$30 - 140
The Birdsville Caravan Park is the perfect place to relax on your journey and the ideal base for trips to the Simpson Desert National Park, Big Red Sand Dune or Poepple Corner. Our park overlooks Birdsville Billabong with lovely water views on spacious camping grounds. The Birdsville Caravan Park has nine fully serviced units with fridges and televisions plus three deluxe fully self contained cabins. All accommodation is air conditioned. Spoil yourself and stay in the lap of luxury in the desert country. They have 54 powered sites and 30 acres of camp sites along the banks of the billabong. Your hosts will make you welcome and can provide information on things to see and do during your stay. Spoil yourself and stay in the lap of luxury in the desert country along the banks of the billabong where over 100 species of birds have been identified.

Windorah Caravan Park

Windorah, Barcoo Area
From AU$10 - 30
The Windorah Caravan Park has 32 powered sites and plenty of camping area. There are also two ablution blocks equipped with hot water, washing machines and clothes line. The Caravan Park has a closed in eating area, fire area and a barbecue. The Park is set in bush surroundings, it is a short walk to town services including - restaurant, bar, corner shop, public phones, Post Office, Service Station and Information Centre. There is also a dump site available for your convenience. The Caravan Park is open all hours. Water is available to fill tanks, both at the caravan park and at the dump point. New addition to the caravan park coming in 2016, another 32 powered sites, new amenities block and laundry.
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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).