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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Townsville Town Common Conservation Park

Townsville, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Enjoy the secluded beaches framed by rocky headlands, coastal woodlands bordering seasonal wetlands, and deep-water lagoons that make this park special. Summer rains transform the park into an immense wetland, attracting large flocks of waterbirds The walking and mountain biking trails, ranging from short easy walks to cross-country mountain bike rides, are a popular nature escape—and lots of heart-pumping fun—close to the city of Townsville Hike across Many Peak Range, enjoy expansive island views while riding the Under the Radar mountain bike trail or walk the trail to enjoy a picnic on secluded Shelley Beach.

Magnetic Island National Park

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Rocky granite headlands and towering hoop pines stand sentinel over tranquil sandy bays on this rugged, mountainous island covered with open eucalypt woodlands and surrounded by coral reefs. The island is easily accessible from Townsville and is noted for its abundant wildlife and varied history.

Nelly Bay

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Free Entry
A holiday on Magnetic Island is likely to start on Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island's main residential bay. Nelly Bay is the first point of access for the passenger and car ferries and is an easy location to access bus transfers, taxis, hire vehicles or jump on board a guided tour.

Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Escape to a tropical island paradise surrounded by secluded bays, golden beaches and activities to excite everyone. With 23 beaches and bays and just a 20 minute ferry ride from Townsville, Magnetic Island has the natural beauty and serenity of an untouched paradise within a thriving community.

Fishing at Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Magnetic Island is an angler's dream with a catch virtually guaranteed! Sit back, throw in a line and enjoy the rush of reeling in your latest bite. What a catch it can be; 22-pound Coral Trout and 44-pound Spanish Mackerel are among the trophies happy fishermen have taken home.

Magnetic Island Dive Site

Magnetic Island, Townsville Area
Magnetic Island is a popular destination off Townsville for day trips or an extended stay. The island has many sheltered bays that are great to snorkel or dive, as they have a surprising amount of coral and some great marine life.

The Strand

Townsville, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Immerse yourself in the Townsville way of life and discover The Strand, Townsville's thriving beach foreshore! With a relaxed, yet energetic vibe, The Strand is bursting with activities to excite the whole family.

South Townsville

Townsville City, Townsville Area
When the sun goes down, South Townsville's Palmer Street comes alive! Following the river, this after-hours hot spot is brimming with groovy cafes, lively pubs and fine dining restaurants, sophisticated cocktail bars and hip hotels.

Townsville North Queensland

Townsville City, Townsville Area
The best holidays are the ones that leave you feeling energised and alive. Townsville North Queensland gives you that feeling with a collection of destinations and attractions to spark everyone's curiosity.

Castle Hill

Townsville, Townsville Area
Free Entry
Just metres short of a mountain, Castle Hill is the giant pink granite monolith that stands proud in the centre of Townsville - a perfect place for visitors to orientate themselves. As well as offering vehicle access, Castle Hill provides a number of popular walking tracks, which are frequented by more than 2,500 locals a day!
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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).