Drovers and Pioneers Trail

Multiple Locations

The Drovers and Pioneers Trail includes a mix of sealed and unsealed roads therefore a Four Wheel Drive vehicle is recommended. Begin your journey in Mount Isa city in Queensland's vast North West Outback then follow the Diamantina Development Road through spectacular outback scenery en route to Boulia, capital of the Channel Country. Turn right onto the unsealed Urandangie North Road and follow the 'unusual' signs to the remote township of Urangangie, once an important centre for travellers and drovers on the Georgina and other stock routes. Take time to explore nearby waterholes on the Georgina, ideal for fishing and bird watching before following the unsealed South Road loop to Boulia with its rich grazing heritage, pioneering stories and the mysterious Min Min Light.

Journey Details

Duration
120 Hours
Distance
1162 Kilometres

Activities

  • Birdwatching
  • Camping

Other Information

Family Friendly:

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

Full Itinerary

Mount Isa

Begin your drive in Mount Isa nestled in the ochre-red colours of the Selwyn Ranges on the banks of the Leichhardt River. Take in the size of the imposing Mount Isa Mine - the World's largest single producer of copper, silver, lead and zinc.

While in Mount Isa, visit the Outback at Isa attraction where you can get 'hands on' with mining at the Hard Times Mine, explore Australia's ancient past in the Riversleigh Fossil Centre and discover Mount Isa's pioneering history in the Isa Experience. Visit the onsite Visitor Information Centre for helpful advice, maps and local knowledge.

Take a guided tour in the completely restored Underground Hospital and National Trust Tent House to hear amazing stories of this region's innovative pioneers. Enjoy a short scenic drive to Lake Moondarra for great swimming and barramundi fishing or relax with a casual barbecue.

The annual Mount Isa Rodeo event is held in August and features non-stop rodeo action in a program of week long festivities. Mount Isa is easily accessed by air with direct flights to and from Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns, Gold Coast and Darwin through Mount Isa Airport. Hire car facilities are available.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Car, Four Wheel Drive
Route Type Circuit
Suggested Stops
Mount Isa Mines
Mount Isa to Urandangie

Drive South from Mount Isa on the Diamantina Developmental Road then take the maintained dirt road (North road) to Urandangie. Proclaimed a town in 1891, Urandangie is where the Boulia, Cloncurry and Camooweal mail runs converged. It was an important stopover for drovers taking Northern Territory cattle to market. In its heyday, there were over 400 people living in the area and today there is a permanent population of approximately 14 people!

The town consists of a state school, a pioneer cemetery, park, sports area, several houses, "Santa's mailbox" and the historic Urandangie Hotel.The "Dangi Pub" as it is known locally, is an experience in itself and worth the drive to see the various animals feeding out the back. View the room that resembles its own eclectic museum, and have a yarn with the fascinating locals and publican.

Camping is permitted in town and there are bush campsites on the nearby Georgina River. Boil the billy and throw in a line at one of the tranquil waterholes or take a refreshing swim. The drive in and out of Urandangie is made all that more interesting with the sporadically placed old car bonnet signs with quirky messages for travellers.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Car
Route Type One Way
Level of Difficulty Level 2: Suitable for families with young children
Suggested Stops
Urandangie
Urandangie to Dajarra

Take the Urandangie South Road and travel through Mitchell grass downs and rugged rocky hills to rejoin the Diamantina Development Road. Call in at Dajarra, once the largest cattle trucking depot in the world and now a quiet, laid back town. The older people of the area who remember Dajarra's heyday say that the area trucked more cattle than Texas in the United States of America. Drovers would bring cattle from as far away as Western Australia to put them on the train at Dajarra. Then came the road trains and soon the railway was turned into just a memory. The Post Office Museum and the Dajarra Hotel are also points of interest for visitors.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Car, Four Wheel Drive
Distance 158 kms
Route Type One Way
Suggested Stops
Urandangie to Dajarra
Dajarra to Boulia

About one and a half hours drive south of Dajarra through rich grazing country is Boulia. The name Boulia, is said to be derived from the waterhole in the Burke River named by the Pitta Pitta tribe. Burke and Wills are more closely associated with the early history of Boulia than any other explorers, having travelled through the area on their journey to the Gulf and return to Coopers Creek. In Boulia, visit the Min Min Encounter for a unique theatrical experience based around the famed Min Min Light phenomenon.

Call into the well-preserved Stonehouse Museum which is also home to a Marine Reptile Fossil exhibit - evidence that Boulia was part of an Inland Sea 100 million years ago. See the last recognised Corroboree tree of the Pitta Pitta tribe - a distinctive Waddi tree. Just a short drive out of town is the Barracks Waterhole, site of the Police Barracks (1874-1884). The waterhole is an ideal spot for a picnic, fishing, bird watching or simply enjoying the peace and tranquillity.

The Boulia Rodeo, Races and Campdraft is a major event at Easter, and the famous Boulia Camel Races are held annually on the third weekend in July.

Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Car, Four Wheel Drive
Distance 148 kms
Route Type One Way
Boulia to Diamantina National Park

Stay a few days in Boulia and you'll have time to visit the nearby Diamantina National Park (approximately 186 kilometres south of Boulia).

This 507,000 hectare park is home to many rare and threatened species and the park's rich colours are a photographer's delight. Canoe, bird-watch or take a scenic drive around the park. Fishing in the waterholes is permitted and you can catch yellow-belly and Welsh's grunter in the Mundewerra Waterhole. Size and bag limits apply. A Four Wheel Drive vehicle with high clearance is necessary as many outback roads are unsealed and wheel ruts can be deep. Take extra fuel, food and water. Open all year however wet weather may cause temporary closures. Visiting is recommended from April to September. Camping is permitted at Hunters Gorge and Gum Hole camping areas.

For information on permits visit the National Parks website.

Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Car, Four Wheel Drive
Distance 287 kms
Route Type Return
Suggested Stops
Diamantina National Park
Boulia to Mount Isa

Your return journey to Mount Isa is via the sealed Diamantina Development Road. View the ever-changing landscapes where long stretches of grazing land are broken by rugged rocky outcrops. Along the way you may spot local birdlife to include Wedge-tail Eagles, several types of Hawks, Emus, Brolgas, Cockatoos and Parrots just to name a few. Also keep an eye out for the quirky 'Bicycle Tree,' an example of the outback sense of humour!

Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Car, Four Wheel Drive
Distance 304 kms
Route Type One Way

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Kajabbi

Three Rivers, Cloncurry Area
Kajabbi is a tiny, sleepy settlement in north west Queensland. It is located 118 kilometres north east of Mount Isa and 100 kilometres north west of Cloncurry. Whilst only a small settlement, Kajabbi stands in an area that is steeped in history.

Gregory Downs

Gregory Downs, Burke Area
The old Gregory Downs Hotel holds court as the centre of town society. Originally built to serve passengers on the coach run from Burketown, the hotel is in the historic village of Gregory Downs which accesses the perennially-flowing Gregory River.

Julia Creek

Julia Creek, McKinlay Area
Julia Creek is proudly situated on the Overlander's Way, the main travelling route from Townsville that runs all the way to Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory. Approximately 650 kilometres west of Townsville and 250 kilometres east of Mount Isa, Julia Creek lies in the heart of North Outback Queensland.

Lake Moondarra

Mount Isa, Mount Isa Area
Free Entry
Lake Moondarra is situated just 17 kilometres north of the city centre of Mount Isa. It provides water to the city and the adjacent Mount Isa Mines (MIM) mining lease. Access to the lake is by a sealed road and offers a picturesque shoreline drive.

Riversleigh World Heritage Site, Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park

Mount Isa, Mount Isa Area
Free Entry
The Australian Fossil Mammal Sites at Riversleigh and Naracoorte were inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1994 for their outstanding representation of the evolution of Australian mammals and the quality of their fossils, which are preserved in limestone.

McKinlay

Mckinlay, McKinlay Area
Located 104 kilometres south east of Cloncurry, McKinlay was named after the McKinlay River which was discovered and named by the explorer John McKinlay. McKinlay had arrived in New South Wales in 1836 and by 1861 had become such an adept bushman that he was chosen to lead the South Australian Burke Relief Expedition to search for the missing Burke and Wills.

Lawn Hill

Lawn Hill, Burke Area
Every year, thousands of visitors are drawn to Lawn Hill National Park to experience the true Outback. Encompassing the spectacular Lawn Hill Gorge with its imposing sandstone cliffs, and cool pristine waterways, the area is most famous for the World Heritage-listed Riversleigh fossil fields.

Camooweal Caves National Park

Camooweal, Mount Isa Area
Free Entry
Wide expanses of Mitchell grass plains and spinifex woodland are protected in this park on the Barkly Tableland, a peaceful stopover for weary travellers and ideal for seasonal birdwatching. The park features caves and sinkholes that were formed when water percolated through 500 million year-old layers of soluble dolomite creating caverns linked by vertical shafts up to 75 metres deep.

Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park

Lawn Hill, Burke Area
Free Entry
Boodjamulla is one of Queensland's most exceptional parks, boasting spectacular gorge scenery, diverse wildlife, exhilarating walking and canoeing, and fossils deposits dating back 25 million years. Here, Lawn Hill Gorge carves a serpentine ribbon of green through the dry savannah landscape, creating an oasis in the outback.

Mount Isa

Mount Isa, Mount Isa Area
Affectionately known as the 'oasis of the outback', Mount Isa is a gleaming mirage on the horizon for travellers from all directions. Nestled among the ochre-red Selwyn Ranges, on the banks of the Leichhardt River, Mount Isa is a bustling melting pot of culture and industry and also home to the world's third largest rodeo.
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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).