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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Mapleton

Mapleton, Sunshine Coast Area
Surround yourself with green rolling hills and breathtaking coastal views by taking a short drive up the range to the gorgeous village of Mapleton. Grab a bite to eat at the local tavern or a cup of coffee at one of the quaint cafes along the hilltop.

Cooran

Cooran, Noosa Area
About three kilometres from the Bruce Highway, Cooran is one of those country towns that offers more than you might think. Close to the Sunshine Coast towns of Pomona, Nambour, Cooroy and popular surfing beaches at Noosa, Cooran is a pretty hamlet in a lush valley.

Hanging Rock Dive Site

Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast Area
Hanging Rock is a popular reef dive off Mooloolaba, at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast. Located on the large Outer Gneerings Reef, Hanging Rock is similar to other sites in the area, with a network of rocky ridges and gutters covered in corals.

River Heads

Hervey Bay, Fraser Coast Area
Located 15 minutes from Hervey Bay on Queensland's Fraser Coast region, River Heads is a major departure point for vehicles and walk on passengers to World Heritage-listed Fraser Island and has magnificent views of Fraser Island, the Great Sandy Strait and the Mary River estuary.

Landsborough

Landsborough, Sunshine Coast Area
Landsborough, gateway to the Blackall Range and to the Mary Valley, is one of the historic townships of the Sunshine Coast. From 1868, it grew behind the wheels of Cobb and Co. coaches as they followed the tree line blazed by Tom Petrie to Gympie gold, discovered by James Nash in 1867.

Pomona

Pomona, Noosa Area
Nestled at the foot of Mount Cooroora, Pomona is a relaxed country town with some pleasant easy walking tracks around delightful parks. Pomona was first settled in the late 1880s and the railway that arrived in 1891 started the expansion of the agricultural industries.

Palmview

Palmview, Sunshine Coast Area
Centrally located on the Sunshine Coast, Palmview is right on the Bruce Highway and just 10 minutes drive from the golden beaches of beautiful Mooloolaba. The breath-taking Sunshine Coast Hinterland is just 15 minutes up the road and the pristine Mooloolah National Park is right next door.

Magic Mountain Dive Site

Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast Area
Free Entry
Magic Mountain, a dive site on the Outer Gneerings Reef off Mooloolaba's coast, is a dive for more experienced divers due to its depth of 25 metres. The large group of outcrops extend from the sandy ocean floor to form numerous gullies, ravines, bommies, swim-throughs and pinnacles, all housing soft and hard coral colonies.

Tanawha

Tanawha, Sunshine Coast Area
Take a step back to yesteryear and imagine yourself in the court of King Louis the XIV with a visit to the Sunshine Coast’s very own giant living hedge maze! Located at Tanawha just 10 minutes’ drive inland from Maroochydore, this impressive outdoor maze has been painstakingly sculptured from over 1000 trees and is the only maze of its kind in Australia.

Witta

Witta, Sunshine Coast Area
Fresh air, peace and tranquillity. That's what is on offer in the small hamlet of Witta. Witta, once known as Teutoburgh in the 1880s, was first settled by German immigrants. The name Teutoburgh came from a nearby German mission.
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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).