The Ultimate Queensland Odyssey

Ultimate Queensland Odyssey
  Outback     Highlands     Coastal   
 Natural Wonders and a Timeless Past

17 Day Tour

16 NIGHTS

 *Includes Optional Extra night & day

AUD 9,490 p.p. Twin Share

(Single Supplement AUD 1,500)

*Deduct AUD 215 p.p. T/S if only 16 days

Indulge yourself with a 33 Day Adventure with the Sunshine Coast to Cairns air flight or tour bus transfer and 3 nights accommodation provided         Free for You when combining this tour with the June 9th departure of the Far North Queensland Expedition. View "Conditions & Terms" page for further details

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Friday 20th May to Sunday 5th June  2022
includes optional extra day

Friday 19th May to Sunday 4th June 2023 
includes optional extra day

Friday 17th May to Sunday 2nd June 2024
includes optional extra day

Enjoy the refreshing forests of the Bunya Mountains and it's renowned Bunya Trees, before traversing the Darling Downs and the Maranoa region. Unveil the secrets of the Mount Moffatt section of the Carnarvon National Park with it's indigenous burial tombs, murderous bushranger and cattle duffing stories and intriguing rock formations all playing out on top of the  “Roof of Queensland". In Charleville we discover secrets of WW2, the cosmos and the rare and cute bilby. Partake in a High Tea in the most exquisite and remote patisserie before heading deeper into the South Western corner to Eromanga, Queensland's furthest town from the sea where the Outback has revealed the remains of long extinct dinosaurs and megafauna for us to examine and marvel over. Traversing the Channel Country and the Sturt Stoney Desert to Innamincka on the Cooper Creek in South Australia we view quirky gas and oil extraction sites along the way and learn of the fate of the Burke and Wills expedition at the Dig Tree, we follow their path on the outskirts of the Simpson Desert and visit the red sand dunes at iconic Birdsville. From historic Bedourie we continue through the big and dramatic landscape crossing the Mitchell Grass Plains and follow the Diamantina River, the journey interspersed with stunning mesa formations. 

The terrain attracted the hardiest of early explorers and pioneers who whilst battling adversity and the tyranny of distance developed successful cattle and mining industries along with the iconic Qantas airline. Learn of their celebrated exploits and stories of bushlife, the birthplaces of Banjo Paterson’s Waltzing Matilda, the labour and political movements and the tragic result that white European settlement had for Aboriginal inhabitants. Exploring the fascinating pioneering towns of Winton, Longreach, Barcaldine, Blackall and Tambo we gain a great insight into the pioneering spirit and of everyday live on the frontier. From the agriculturally productive grasslands we clamber around the western reaches of the Carnarvon Range's  Salvator Rosi section, so named by the explorer Major Thomas Mitchell after a Neapolitan 17th century artist, who used the same dramatic colours that Major Mitchell saw in the landscape on his 1845 expedition. Overnighting at Springsure, under the shadow of the spectacular Minerva Hills we interact with a knowledgeable local aboriginal, learning of his forbears culture and society.  Accompanied by experienced nature guides we explore the magnificent Carnarvon Gorge with it's wealth of natural attributes, wildlife, plants and aboriginal art. An elevated view of the workings of Moura's massive open cut coal mine is followed by a laid back meandering through picturesque farmland, quaint villages and a ghost town as you travel east to the Queensland coast. Visit RM Williams Australian Bush Learning Centre at Eidsvold and the famous Bundaberg Rum distillery and a macadamia farm at Bundaberg. Take a scenic flight out to the outer Great Barrier Reef for a two day exploration of the natural wonder of Lady Elliot Island, home to Manta Ray, Turtles and all manner of marine life in a coral cay regarded as one of the worlds best for snorkelling.

Marvel at the Cooloola Coastal Wilderness on one of the longest beach drives in the world, between Rainbow Beach and Noosa Heads. Enjoy scenic views of the Cooloola sandmass in the Great Sandy National Park.  End your tour enjoying the Sunshine Coast’s hidden natural gems along wonderous walks amongst the Hinterland rainforests and waterfalls and along some of Australia's most beautiful beaches and estuaries.

shut OUTBACK Woman Tourist in Landscape.
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Day By Day Itinerary

Day 1: Bunya Mountains - "An Island in the Clouds"

Departing from Brisbane in the tour bus we arrive in the rainforest-clad peaks of the Bunya Mountains that shelter the largest stand of ancient bunya pines in the world. Discover cool mountains, waterfalls, unique range-top grasslands and panoramic views. Queensland’s second oldest National Park is home to about 120 species of birds and an abundance of wildlife. Generations of Aboriginal people travelled long distances every few years for feasts and celebrations coinciding with mass crops of bunya 'nuts’.

Bunya Mountains

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Day 2: The Darling Downs and the Maranoa 

The morning will be spent further exploring the Bunya Mountains before traversing the northern Darling Downs for lunch at Dalby. We then travel to  Roma , the main service centre for the Maranoa Region and well known for the discovery of natural gas in 1900. Roma is home to the largest cattle saleyards in Queensland as well as large Bottle trees and the Roma Bush Gardens, a first-rate place for bird-watching . We will learn of the towns  importance to the State's economic development. We arrive at day's end in Injune with a birdwatching stroll around The Lagoon in preparedness for the next day's exploration of the Roof of Queensland.

Injune

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Day 3 : Explore the “Roof of Queensland”

We travel up to the Mount Moffatt section of the Carnarvon National Park where archaeology work carried out in the rock art galleries and burial tombs in the  1960s changed the understanding of aboriginal history forever. Hear tales of murderous bushrangers and cattle duffers amongst stunning rock outcrops including the The Chimney and Marlong Arch. Mount Moffatt is a wonderful place for birdwatching, with at least 172 species recorded. We depart, passing the towns of Mitchell and Morven on our way to Charleville's historic Corones Hotel. After dinner we explore Space at the Cosmos centre
Charleville

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Day 4 : Elegant Emus, Bilbys and Skyward Secrets

During a morning exploration of Charleville we meet up close a Bilby, one of our cutest marsupials. Uncover a WW11 top secret of the little known USAAF Base that housed 3500 US Servicemen and 160 aircraft. We depart for the quirky "Elegant Emu" in the remote town of Adavale for an exquisite High Tea lunch including delicious patisserie. Passing through Quilpie we arrive at Eromanga, Queensland's furthest town from the sea and site of the Eromanga Natural History Museum. The Museum is committed to discovering, conserving and showcasing the fossil, natural and cultural heritage of the upper Murray/Darling and Lake Eyre/Cooper basins. 
Eromanga

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Day 5 : Unearthing Natural Treasures 

Eromanga is home to megafauna fossils of the giant Diprotodon - the worlds largest marsupial,  Cooper - a Titanosaur, Australia’s largest dinosaur and provides a hands-on encounter with prehistoric Outback Australia. Traveling deep into the Channel Country dotted with interesting gas and oil fields we will have lunch at the historic Noccundra Hotel. We visit Burke and Wills Dig Tree before arriving in South Australia’s remote outback town of Innamincka to learn of the early settlers and Aboriginals challenges living in this hot desert and seasonal floodplain.  
Innamincka

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Day 6 : Deserts, Floodplains and Iconic Outback Pubs

Departing Innamincka we traverse the Sturt Stoney Desert and view Australia’s largest and most historic shearing shed at Cordillo Downs Station before lunching at the iconic Birdsville Hotel and viewing the Simpson Desert’s “Big Red” sand dune. We observe birdlife on Eyre Creek, and visit 1000 year old Waddi Trees as we follow in the steps of the ill fated Burke and Wills expedition arriving in the to the far west town of Bedourie. 
Bedourie 

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Day 7: Stampeding Dinosaurs and exploring the Diamantina

Today we follow the Diamantina River and its lakes system deep into the Diamantina National Park. We pass through the Mitchell Grass Plains and the magnificent mesa formations.  Arrive in the Way Out West town of Winton to it's stunning sunset and check out the eccentric Arno’s wall and Willie Mar Chinese Market Garden Heritage Site. Visit Wilton’s Waltzing Matilda Centre and Qantilda Museum. You'll find an entertaining "Banjo Patterson" themed bush poet at the historic and art deco styled North Gregory Hotel where you will rest for the evening. 

Winton

 
 

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 Day 8 : Bushmen, Opal Miners, Riverboats and Poets

Departing southbound view the wildlife of Bladensburg National Park, its original 120 year old homestead complex and the infamous Skull Hole .We visit the site of the Dinosaur stampede at Lark Quarry where over 3,300 footprints of at least 150 dinosaurs were imbedded 95 million years ago. We will amble around the historic opal mining fields of Opalton, with an experienced opal miner. We meander onto Longreach to board the Thomson Princess Riverboat for a sunset Thomson River cruise followed by a Stockman’s campfire dinner and the Starlight’s Spectacular Sound & Light Picture Show. 
Longreach 

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Day 9 : Shearers Strikes and the Bush Battleground

Enjoy the thrill of a galloping Cobb & Co Stagecoach bush ride and a visit to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame or the Qantas Founders Museum before venturing to Barcaldine, The Garden City of the West, central to "the shearers' war" of the 1890s.Immerse yourself in the history and mythology, visiting the Tree of Knowledge and the birthplace of the Australian Labor Party. We depart for  Blackall and Australia's last remaining steam driven woolscour. 

Blackall

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Day 10 : Ancient Landscapes and the Pioneering Legacy

We head for historic Tambo,  the oldest town in Central Western Queensland and located on the Barcoo River, made famous by Banjo Patterson's poem "A Bush Christening". Within the Carnarvon National Park's Salvator Rosa section we visit the western edge of the Sandstone Belt where deeply eroded rock formations and towering sandstone cliffs dominate the skyline. We explore permanent high flow springs, wetlands and rare peat bogs. At Springsure we visit Yumba Burin (the keeping place), an indigenous crypt containing bark wrapped aboriginal remains and artefacts and learn from a knowledgeable local Aboriginal about the lasting impact of the Frontier Wars. View the sunset and ancient Zamia palms from the jagged peaks of the spectacular Minerva Hills National Park that hovers spectacularly above the township.

Springsure 

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Day 11 : Carnarvon’s Gorgeous Gorge

Water has carved a mosaic of winding gorges, towering sandstone cliffs and basalt capped tablelands to create a wonderland at Carnarvon Gorge.   Explore the beauty of the Amphitheatre, Ward’s Canyon, the Art Gallery and the Moss Garden. Accompanied by experienced local guides who bring a wealth of knowledge of the Gorges plants, animals, landscapes and cultures. Expect encounters with local wildlife on the shady banks of Carnarvon Creek including whiptail wallabies, a rummaging echidna or a playful platypus. Late in the afternoon we head east towards the coast for a nights rest at Moura. 
Moura

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Day 12 : Simple Country Pleasures

A brief platform viewing of Moura's open cut coal mine will observe the monster trucks, excavators, draglines, face shovels and loaders that mine the coal for export. On our journey to the coast, we meander through picturesque farmland and quaint villages interrupted by ranges of wonderous sandstone mountains. We pass through the towns of Theodore and wander around historic Cracow before lunching in Eidsvold and visiting the RM Williams Australian Bush Learning Centre. Continuing through the scenic countryside we arrive at Bundaberg where we tour the Bundaberg Rum distillery and Macadamias Australia, sleeping soundly that night at Bargara on the Pacific Ocean coastline. 
Bargara

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Day 13 : Manta Rays and Marine Marvels

Your 30 minute flight departs Bundaberg early to the spectacular Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, on a coral cay located at the southern tip of the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef. Situated within a highly protected ‘Green Zone’ the coral cay is a sanctuary for over 1,200 species of marine life. 
Two days of Snorkelling or Scuba Diving will get you up close with an abundance of manta rays, turtles and spectacular marine life on unspoilt coral reef.
Lady Elliot Island

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Day 14 : Best Snorkelling in the World

Lonely Planet voted Lady Elliot Island #2 of the ‘7 best beaches for snorkelling around the world in 2020. As one of the most important seabird nesting sites in the entire Great Barrier Reef it is a magnet for bird watchers. It boasts a noddy bird rookery and is home to several breeding pairs of red-tailed tropic birds and many other species. We depart at 4.00 pm by plane to Hervey Bay, recognised as the world's first Whale Heritage Site and one of the best places in the world to view humpback whales with their calves.    
Hervey Bay 

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Day 15 :Coasting the Cooloola Wilderness 

Further south we depart from Rainbow Beach in the 4wd vehicles along the Cooloola Coastal Wilderness for the next 60 kilometres, on one of the longest beach drives in the world. Marvel at where wind and rain has constantly re-sculpted cliffs of coloured sands. View the Cooloola sandmass and a variety of diverse plants and birds on the way to Noosa Heads. Upon exiting the Great Sandy National Park we drive up to your Sunshine Coast Hinterland rainforest accommodation for a meal and rest.

Flaxton

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Day 16 : Rainforested Waterfalls and Wonderous Walks

Following our overnight rest in the eco-resort we explore the neighbouring Kondalilla National Park, a cool mountain retreat. Kondalilla, an Aboriginal word meaning 'rushing waters', describes this park's waterfall. A range of vegetation types flourish in this park which is a refuge for many animals and plants including some vulnerable to extinction. We will view it all on a variety of interesting walks. More than 107 species of birds have been seen in the park. We will then meander around the Sunshine Coast villages of Montville and Maleny and enjoy views of the Glasshouse Mountains on our way to your point of departure to the Sunshine Coast Airport or the optional extra night and day.

OPTIONAL EXTRA NIGHT 

 Marcoola

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Optional : Day 17 : Climb Through 25 Million Years

Your OPTIONAL  last day commences with a short climb up Mount Coolum, a 25 million year old dome composed of rhyolite. Ecologically it is one of the most diverse square kilometres in Australia with 590 flowering plants, 49 ferns and over 100 mosses and lichens recorded. The views once atop are astounding. A final dip in the briny sea will cap off your tour before preparing to transit to the airport to return home to reflect on your adventure!  

Did you know ?

The dinosaur trackways at Dinosaur Stampede National Monument were formed 95 million years ago when Outback Queensland was a vastly different place. A herd of at least 150 small two-legged dinosaurs, including carnivorous coelurosaurs about the size of chickens and slightly larger plant-eating ornithopods, came to drink at the edge of a lake. Over 3,300 footprints of these long-extinct dinosaurs are scattered over the rock face, stark evidence of the terror they must have experienced as they fled the scene upon the arrival of a large theropod. This snapshot of a few terrifying moments has been frozen in time, immortalising the event and making Winton home to the only known dinosaur stampede in the world. 


"Waltzing Matilda" is Australia's best-known bush ballad, and has been described as the country's "unofficial national anthem". The original lyrics for Waltzing Matilda were written in 1895 near Winton, by Australian poet Banjo Paterson, and were first published as sheet music in 1903. 


One of Australia’s rarest plants, the Waddi Trees (Acacia puece) have spiky, needle-like leaves and thick bark. A copse of rare and ancient Waddi Trees on the fringe of the Simpson Desert is considered to be 500-1000 years old, and one of only three such groups of Waddi Trees left in Australia. The Waddi tree piqued early explorer William John Wills’ interest, with some samples of the seeds found buried in his diary after his death. 


The Channel Country is in south-west Queensland, extending into South Australia and New South Wales. About 70% of the Channel Country's estimated 280,000 sq km is in Queensland. It is defined by having braided, flood and alluvial plains. In flood time the watercourses overflow into distributaries and channels, sometimes reaching 80 km across. It’s main watercourses are the Georgina, Diamantina, Bulloo Rivers and Cooper Creek. On the rare occasions of massive floodwaters, the watercourses discharge into Goyders Lagoon, Lake Eyre and Coongie Lakes across the state borders.


Lady Elliot Island is the southern most coral cay of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia and is a sanctuary for over 1,200 species of marine life. Lonely Planet voted Lady Elliot Island number two of the seven best beaches for snorkelling around the world in 2020. Lady Elliot Island is known as the ‘Home of the Manta Ray’ and these giant kites of the sea are the world’s largest ray, with a wing span of up to seven meters. Three species of sea turtles frequent Lady Elliot Island throughout the year – Hawksbill,

Green and Loggerhead turtles are the only ones that nest on the Island.

Mt Moffatt in the Carnarvon National Park is home to some of inland Queensland's most diverse flora. Its varied landscapes combined with a mixture of sedimentary and volcanic rocks results in a rich mosaic of plant communities. Archaeological excavations have shown that Aboriginal people used its sandstone rock shelters for habitation for some 19 500 years. One of Mt Moffatt's dominant sandstone formations, and the famous art site it contains, are known as The Tombs. The numerous natural tunnels in the formation once formed burial chambers for the local Aboriginal people. 

Stencil art is the dominant art style present at this site. Some obvious red freehand 'paw tracks' are to be found at its eastern end. A highlight is a rare, large red stencilled human figure.

The nearby Kenniff Cave is one of the most important archaeological sites in central Queensland. In the early 1960's, Professor John Mulvaney's  archaeological excavations established it as Australia's finest verified Pleistocene site, placing Australia firmly on the world archaeological map. 

Of the many characters and identities that made up the area's pastoral history, Australia's last bushrangers, the Kenniff brothers, James and Patrick, are the most well remembered. At the turn of the 19th century during their infamous horse stealing and cattle duffing careers, the brothers lived and camped near Kenniff Cave which now perpetuates their name. In 1902, in Lethbridges Pocket, they are believed to have murdered Constable George Doyle and station manager Christian Dahlke who were executing a warrant for the brothers' arrest. 

 

The Bunya Mountains traditional owners, the Wakka Wakka, Jarowair and Barrumgum tribes have inhabited and managed the mountains through traditional land-use management for thousands of years which included the cultural significant "Bunya Feasts" which would see thousands of people from surrounding tribes from Queensland and New South Wales come to the Bunya Mountains for these gatherings. The Bunya grasslands are unique relics of a much cooler climate and have existed since the last ice age, persisting due to regular burning by Aboriginal peoples over many thousands of years known as "fire farming". Recent core samples confirmed that Indigenous fire management was occurring on the Bunya Mountains as far back as 9,000 years ago during the Holocene  era.

 

The 1891 shearers' strike is one of Australia's earliest and most important industrial disputes.The strike started and quickly spread. From February until May, central Queensland was on the brink of civil war. Striking shearers formed armed camps outside of towns. Thousands of armed soldiers protected non-union labour and arrested strike leaders. The unionists retaliated by raiding shearing sheds, harassing non-union labour and committing acts of sabotage, although the incidents of actual violence or arson were few.

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