Brisbane to Birdsville 4WD Adventure Drive

Multiple Locations

You've got the four-wheel-drive and you've got the spirit of adventure; let that lead you on the outback trip of a lifetime through southern Queensland to some of Australia's most remote and iconic outback townships.

Getting away early is easy when you're eager to explore new destinations, so there's no doubt that Brisbane will be in your rearview mirror before you can say "let's go on a road trip". However, a cautious traveller is a safe traveller, so it pays to check RACQ's updated road conditions before you leave for very remote areas like Birdsville and Innamincka. Also, ensure you pack enough food and water to last you a few days in case you get stranded outback; and an extra spare tyre won't hurt, either. Tell a few loved ones where you're going and when to expect you to arrive (don't forget to call them and let them know you got there safe and sound) so they can raise the alarm if necessary - just in case!

Journey Details

Duration
N/A
Distance
1813 Kilometres

Activities

  • Birdwatching
  • Camping
  • Hiking/Trekking
  • Off Road Driving

Full itinerary

Thargomindah to Innamincka

Get up early and explore the township of Thargomindah this morning. Learn how the power of the artesian water was harnessed to provide the town's electricity in the late 1800s. Amble along the Bulloo River Walk, discover the treasures of Leahy Historic House and shop for Bulloo Built souvenirs crafted from weathered timbers reclaimed from surrounding stations.

Leave early enough though for the drive to Innamincka - just across the South Australian border. The road starts as sealed bitumen for approximately the first 200 kilometres; then from here on in the rest of this journey is on unsealed roads/tracks only suitable for 4WD. Ensure you are prepared for driving in the Outback and semi-desert regions. Take plenty of provisions with you, including fresh water.

Just before arriving at the Queensland-South Australian border, you will reach the famous historic Burke and Wills 'Dig Tree' site on the banks of Cooper Creek, where the Burke and Wills expedition ended in tragedy, and the site of their original graves. Just outside of Innamincka, stop to view the Aboriginal rock carvings at Cullyamurra Waterhole on the Cooper Creek.

Continue on to Innamincka for the night.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Four Wheel Drive
Distance 413 kms
Route Type One Way
Level of Difficulty Level 1: Suitable for the disabled with assistance
Innamincka to Birdsville

Before leaving Innamincka, learn about the remote outpost's tumultuous history in the re-built Australian Inland Mission Hostel. Fish for yellowbelly or spot turtles in the Cooper Creek waterholes near the town and talk to the locals about which route is the best one to take to reach Birdsville. They're all dirt roads and mainly suitable for four-wheel-drive vehicles only.

Walker's Crossing is the most direct but isolated off-road track, and both the Cordillo Downs road and Arrabury Road are more major dirt roads and have various sites to see along the way. The Cordillo Downs shearing shed is the biggest in the world, while the Arrabury road will take you through the ghost town of Betoota. If the roads are rough, take it easy and camp along the way where you find a suitable site.

Birdsville has numerous attractions on offer, including the historic Birdsville Hotel and the quirky culinary delights of the Birdsville Bakery. 'Big Red' is a 40 metre high sand dune on the edge of the Simpson Desert and is a wonderful place to watch the sun set over the vast desert horizons only 37 kilometres west of the town.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Four Wheel Drive
Distance 399 kms
Route Type One Way
Level of Difficulty Level 1: Suitable for the disabled with assistance
Brisbane to Goondiwindi

Call in at Aratula, at the foot of Cunningham's Gap on the Cunningham Highway, and stretch the legs with a walk through Main Range National Park. Spot the stone cairn, a memorial to early explorers, and breathe in the fresh scent of eucalypts.

Continuing on to Warwick is a gardener's dream in springtime as the town blooms with an impressive amount of roses, one of which, called the Arafuto or 'City of Warwick' rose, was developed especially for the town. No matter the season, Warwick's quaint shops and bustling cafes make it a great spot to grab a bite of lunch before setting off for Goondiwindi.

Goondiwindi is the junction of six highways and therefore 'on the road to everywhere'. It sits just on the Queensland side of the state border with New South Wales and was first explored by Allan Cunningham in 1827. Beef, wool, cotton and wheat are the diverse resources keeping the economy thriving and a number of industry tours are on offer for visitors to glimpse the complexity of these seemingly simple industries. For the fitness and nature inclined, there's a lovely river walk along the banks of the Macintyre River.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Four Wheel Drive
Distance 350 kms
Route Type One Way
Level of Difficulty Level 1: Suitable for the disabled with assistance
Goondiwindi to Cunnamulla

Throughout the five-hour drive through the western regions towards Cunnamulla, the landscape and towns will slowly begin to feel more 'outback'. In Nindigully, the historic hotel, built in 1863, is home to one of the country's oldest and largest pig racing events, a sure sign that you're nearing the outback.

If the lure of the outback itself isn't enough, the Culgoa Floodplain National Park sits west of St George and is a haven for four-wheel-drive enthusiasts with many challenging tracks and thick, cozy mulga campsites on offer. For the less four-wheel-drive adventurous, the drive from St George to Cunnamulla brings excitement in koala-spotting along the Wallam Creek.

With two million sheep on stations in the Cunnamulla region, it's not surprising that this town boasts Queensland's largest wool loading station. The Cunnamulla Heritage Trail explains the town's fascinating past, while the Stephanie Mills Gallery displays local photographic artwork that provides a unique perspective on the region's scenery.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Four Wheel Drive
Distance 494 kms
Route Type One Way
Level of Difficulty Level 1: Suitable for the disabled with assistance
Cunnamulla to Thargomindah

If you're a wine buff, there's no missing Australia's most remote winery at Eulo, where there's also a date farm, mud bath and the Paroo Race Track.

A detour to Yowah is worth its weight in opals. This friendly town is the home of many a fossicking site where visitors and long-time opal miners alike can strike it lucky.

Upon reaching 'Thargo', head to the Bulloo River Hotel and meet local icon 'Surly Shirley'. If you feel she doesn't like you, don't worry; you're not the only one! She's really a laugh and a great introduction to the first town in the world to harness the power of artesian water to provide the town's electricity in the late 1800s.

Amble along the Bulloo River Walk, discover the treasures of Leahy Historic House and shop for Bulloo Built souvenirs crafted from weathered timbers reclaimed from surrounding stations before heading for the remote and historic Innamincka, just over the South Australian Border. Detour to the Dig Tree at the site of the infamous Burke and Wills' final camp to learn about the heroic explorers' catastrophic demise. Finally, stop to view the Aboriginal rock carvings at Cullyamurra Waterhole on the Cooper Creek.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Four Wheel Drive
Distance 197 kms
Route Type One Way
Level of Difficulty Level 1: Suitable for the disabled with assistance

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Tallebudgera Valley

Tallebudgera Valley, Gold Coast Area
Its formal name is Tallebudgera Valley but in true Aussie minimalist style, you'll probably hear locals around these parts refer to it as the Tally Valley. However you prefer to wrap your mouth around it, this lush valley at the back of Tallebudgera Beach leads you into emerald-green farmland and natural forests and the relaxed ambience for which the southern Gold Coast is renowned.

Nine Mile Reef Dive Site

Coolangatta, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Nine Mile Reef, off Tweed Heads, has a reputation among locals as being a “sharky” spot. All year long, a good population of wobbegongs call the reef home, but are joined by leopard sharks in summer and grey nurse sharks in winter.

Currumbin Waters

Currumbin Waters, Gold Coast Area
Currumbin is an inspiring beachfront community where the epic Currumbin Creek waterway links to the pristine rainforest mountains of the region when heading west. Currumbin Creek and the Alley, the entrance to the ocean, offer a protected and patrolled haven for all kinds of active water sports, particularly stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking.

Coolangatta

Coolangatta, Gold Coast Area
The southern Gold Coast's famous sandy beaches and world-class surf breaks conclude at Coolangatta, renowned for its casual beach-side culture. Spend the day surfing, SUP or swimming with the locals at Coolangatta, Greenmount, Duranbah, Palm Beach and into southern Rainbow Bay.

Kirra Reef Dive Site

Kirra Beach, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Not far from Kirra Beach, one of the Gold Coast’s top surfing destinations, is one of its most interesting dive sites; Kirra Reef. Consisting of scattered rocky outcrops covered in kelp fronds, there are scores of hidden gems throughout the reef.

Kirra

Kirra Beach, Gold Coast Area
There's variations on what the word Kirra actually means, but some believe Queensland Aborigines named it after a boomerang. Which makes sense as Kirra wraps evocatively around the bend separating Coolangatta and Kirra beaches and in front of Kirra Hill.

Palm Beach

Palm Beach, Gold Coast Area
If the Gold Coast had a middle child it would possibly be Palm Beach, nestled between Tallebudgera Creek on one side and Currumbin Creek on the other. But don't for one minute think this destination is dull.

Cook Island Dive Site

Gold Coast, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Cook Island, a short boat trip from the Gold Coast, is an accessible and appealing dive site for all experience levels. Hard and soft corals cover the bottom in some areas, with boulders forming walls and caves descending to the sandy sea floor in others.

Snapper Rocks

Coolangatta, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Snapper Rocks is a small rocky outcrop on the northern side of Point Danger at the southern end of Rainbow Bay on the Gold Coast. Snapper is a point break forming the first part of the man-made Superbank which extends from Snapper Rocks Point, through Rainbow Bay, Greenmount Point, Coolangatta Beach, and Kirra, for a distance of around two kilometres.

Currumbin Valley

Currumbin Valley, Gold Coast Area
Heading into the Currumbin Valley is a little like entering an Aladdin's Cave of adventure. From the coastline, head southwest into another world along Currumbin Creek Road which leads to Tomewin Mountain Road winding up to Tomewin Mountain.
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