Natural Encounters Trail

Multiple Locations

Meet the locals in Boulia, learn the yarn of the mysterious Min Min Light then follow the Natural Encounter Trail to Winton (around 492 kilometres). Along the way, explore the Diamantina National Park, named one of Australia's top 10 National Parks. Learn about the desert landscape on the Warracoota Circuit Drive and visit important wetland habitats. Travel across ancient mesas, gullies and broken escarpments to the world's only known dinosaur stampede site. Visit the beautiful Bladensburg National Park, home to unique birdlife, plants and animals and an area of important Indigenous and pastoral heritage. Take a guided tour of the world's largest collection of Australia dinosaur fossils at Australian Age of Dinosaurs and discover the majestic Jump Up landscapes surrounding Winton.

Journey Details

Duration
N/A
Distance
559 Kilometres

Activities

  • Birdwatching
  • Camping
  • Canoeing

Other Information

Family Friendly:

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

Full itinerary

Lark Quarry to Bladensburg National Park

Drive north on the Winton-Jundah Road to the turn-off for Bladensburg National Park just seven kilometres south west of Winton. The beautiful 84900 hectare national park boasts impressive flat-topped plateaus and residual sandstone ranges which provide a scenic backdrop to vast grassland plains and river flats, river red gums and rocky scarp. Roads within the park are formed dirt roads more suited to Four Wheel Drive vehicles. Conventional vehicles can access Bladensburg only during dry weather, and a high clearance Four Wheel Drive vehicle is recommended at all times. Bladensburg National Park is open all year however wet weather may cause temporary closures. Camp beside Surprise Creek at the permanent Bough Shed waterhole.

For information or permits visit the National Parks website.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Four Wheel Drive
Route Type One Way
Suggested Stops
lark quarry to Bladensburg national park
Bladensburg National Park to Winton

Departing Bladensburg National Park, continue on the Winton-Jundah Road north to Winton, in big sky country, which has a rich history as the birthplace of Waltzing Matilda and QANTAS, and links to the 1891 Great Shearers' Strike. The region has diverse natural history and spectacular Jump Up landscapes.

Winton's attractions include the Australian Age of Dinosaurs which houses the world's largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils. Experience Winton's free attractions - play a tune on the world's first permanent Musical Fence, take a self-guided walk through possibly the last working Chinese market garden in Queensland, and marvel at Arno's Wall where everything can be found! With five days of outback entertainment, the biennial Outback Festival is held over the 3rd week in September. The famous Winton Camel Races and the Vision Splendid Film Festival are held annually in July.

Winton is approximately 179 kilometres north west of Longreach. Rex Air operates twice weekly flights to Winton from Townsville and there is a twice-weekly "Spirit of the Outback" Rail/Coach service from Brisbane. Motels, caravan parks and free campsites are available. Stay connected with free Wi-Fi in Winton's main street.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Four Wheel Drive
Route Type One Way
Suggested Stops
Bladensburg to Winton
Boulia

Beginning the Trail 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, one of the first homes built in Western Queensland, 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 - located near the Boulia Sports and Aquatic Centre.

Drive approximately 25 kilometres out of town to the Old Police Barracks site (1875-1884). An ideal spot for fishing, bird watching and taking in the tranquility of this pretty bush setting, the campsite at this natural waterhole had great spiritual significance to the local people. The Boulia Rodeo, Races and Campdraft is a major event at Easter, and the famous Boulia Camel Races are held every third weekend in July.

Accommodation options in Boulia include a hotel/motel, motel, caravan park and bush camping. Rex Air operates twice-weekly flights into Boulia from Brisbane. Nearest hire car facility is Mount Isa Airport (approximately 3 hours drive). Contact the Min Min Encounter Information Centre for information.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Four Wheel Drive
Route Type Circuit
Suggested Stops
Boulia circuit
Boulia to Diamantina National Park

Drive approximately two and a half hours south east of Boulia to the Diamantina National Park. The Worldwide Fund for Nature has named it one of Australia's top 10 National Parks. This 507000 hectare park is home to many rare and threatened species. Lake Constance and Hunters Gorge are important wetlands and support breeding populations of many resident and migratory birds.

Diamantina National Park was formerly a pastoral holding and became a national park in 1992. In the past, Maiawali and Karuwali Aboriginal people moved through every part of this landscape. Their strong spiritual connections remain today. While in the park, sample a range of outdoor activities - canoeing on Hunters Gorge (own canoe), wildlife spotting, exploring the Warracoota Ruins and taking in the sights at Janet's Leap Lookout. 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. 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.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Four Wheel Drive
Route Type One Way
Suggested Stops
Boulia to Diamantina National Park
Diamantina National Park to Lark Quarry Conservation Park

Proceed north approximately 132 kilometres on the unsealed Diamantina River Road before heading east approximately 67 kilometres on the Old Cork Road to Lark Quarry Conservation Park. The Dinosaur Stampede at Lark Quarry Conservation Park is where over 3,300 dinosaur tracks mark the site of the only known dinosaur stampede on the planet - these tracks are estimated to be about 95 million years old. There are guided tours of the Trackways, which take almost an hour and a self guided Spinifex Walk takes 15-30 minutes.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Four Wheel Drive
Distance 132 kms
Route Type One Way
Suggested Stops
Diamantina to Lark Quarry

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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.

Duchess

Duchess, Cloncurry Area
In earlier days Duchess was an important railway and mining town which has declined since the advent of road transport. Today, relive the glory days over a drink or two at the local Duchess Hotel where the beer and stories flow.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Dajarra

Dajarra, Cloncurry Area
Believe it or not Dajarra was once the largest trucking depot in the world. Dajarra is now a quiet, laid back town in the far north of Outback Queensland. 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.

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.
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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).