PURE OUTBACK - IMMERSE YOURSELF
PURE OUTBACK - IMMERSE YOURSELF
A Huge Expanse, Big Skys and a Deafening Silence
and the colour & fun of the iconic birdsville races !
11 Days Tour
AUD 7,490 p.p Twin Share
Single Supplement AUD $990
The Price for this Guaranteed Departure - Micro Group Tour of no more than 8 participants includes All meals, accommodation, guides, & entry fees to all activities. All land and river transport. Non-inclusive : 2 flights - Brisbane to Charleville (Rex) and Barcaldine to Brisbane (Qantas) are extra at approximately $400. Our staff will advise on the lowest priced flights to book.
Wed. 30th August to Sat.9th September 2023
Arrive from Brisbane on a flight to Charleville. We discover a little known activity of WW2, the night skies at the Cosmos centre and meet up close the rare and very cute bilby. We explore the historic Corones Hotel for ghosts and tour a date farm sampling its delicious produce. Birdwatching opportunities abound throughout the tour. At Quilpie, enjoy a cold beverage and sunset on Mt Baldy Top, gazing over the Channel Country, home to some of the best cattle fattening country in the world and also Australia's most prolific oil and gas basin. We experience the natural wonders of Welford National Park, the quaintness of Yaraka and stunning views from Mt Slocombe. We stay in Windorah, where the Barcoo and the Thomson Rivers drain into the Cooper Creek and the land is traversed by the Dingo Barrier Fence. Skirting the Sturt Stony Desert we pop into the re-birthed Betoota Hotel where not much has changed since the 1880’s. Next stop is an afternoon at the Birdsville Races, Australia’s iconic desert horse race meeting. We climb up the Simpson Desert’s red sand dunes at Birdsville before heading to historic Bedourie, following in the footsteps of Burke and Wills and their fateful expedition. We push onto Boulia and traverse the Mitchell Grass Plains and Diamantina River National Park with the ever present stunning mesa formations. At Winton the Waltzing Matilda complex gives us an insight into the pioneering spirit and everyday life on the frontier. Your tour will visit many quirky places, including Bladensberg National Park where you will learn of the impact of white European settlement on the First Nations Peoples. The world renowned Dinosaur stampede and the impressive Australian Age of Dinosaurs takes you back 95 million years. We visit the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and the Qantas Founders complex at Longreach enjoying a River Boat cruise and a camp dinner. Venturing to Turraburra we visit traditional aboriginal sites on a gallery walk interpreted by Aboriginal custodians who also explain native foods and medicines and their of practice traditional land management methods. Follow the Sculpture Trail, the longest in the world, viewing the works of a local sculptor, Milynda Rogers. Underneath the “Tree of Knowledge” at Barcaldine you will learn of the Shearers Strikes of the 1890’s and subsequent birth of the Labor Party. We depart on a flight to Brisbane.
Day By Day Itinerary:
Day 1 @ The Hotel Corones, CHARLEVILLE - Wed 30th Aug
Arriving in Charleville our stay at the historic and charming Hotel Corones is enhanced with a guided tour. In its heyday it was the hub of Charleville society, where life was a swirl of cocktail parties, balls and toasts to the king. We explore the charms of the town and uncover a WW11 top secret of the little known USAAF Base that housed 3500 US Servicemen and 160 aircraft. After dinner we stargaze at the Big Sky Observatory Experience in the Charleville Cosmos Centre. Birdwatching opportunities abound throughout the tour.
Day 2 @ Quilpie Motor Inn, QUILPIE - Thurs 31st Aug
This morning we meet up close a Bilby, one of our cutest and most endangered marsupials and also tour the Charleville Date Farm.
We devour a lunch of exquisite patisseries as part of high tea experience at the Elegant Emu at Adavale. A tasting table like no other......discover degustation in remote Outback Queensland. At Quilpie, we visit St Finbarrs church with its incredible opal altar and enjoy a cold beverage and sunset on Mt Baldy Top, gazing over the Channel Country, home to some of the best cattle fattening country in the world and also Australia's most prolific oil and gas basin.
Day 3 @ The Western Star Hotel, WINDORAH - Fri 1st Sept
We travel on to Windorah, an important stop along the historic stock routes that criss cross the Channel Country. We experience the natural wonders of the Welford National Park and also an interesting man made pre-1900 pise, or a homestead made of earth and remnants of First Nation wells and stone constructions. Enjoy the quaintness of Yaraka, it's hotel with resident emus and stunning views from Mt Slocombe. We stay in Windorah, where the Barcoo and the Thomson Rivers drain into the Cooper Creek and the land is traversed by the Dingo Barrier Fence. With so many rivers and channels it is easy to see why the name Windorah is a First Nations word meaning Big Fish. We sleep at the Western Star Hotel, winner of the Best Outback Pub in Queensland award.
Day 4 @ Royal Hotel, BEDOURIE - Sat 2nd Sept
An early start from Windorah will skirt the Sturt Stony Desert before enjoying morning tea in the re-birthed Betoota Hotel where not much has changed since the 1880’s in this deserted town that the Queensland government set up as a customs post in 1885. Today you will witness one of the most remotely run horse racing meetings in Australia in the renowned town of Birdsville. As part of the desert racing calendar, the long running Birdsville Race meeting will provide you with a memorable and unique experience. We climb up the Simpson Desert’s red sand dunes at Birdsville before heading to historic Bedourie, following in the footsteps of Burke and Wills and their fateful expedition. We view a stand of rare 500 to 1000 year old Waddi Trees (Acacia Peuce) , one of only 3 stands in Australia. We observe birdlife at Cuttaburra Crossing on Eyre Creek and view a memorial to young Will Hutchison whose place in Australian history will surprise you. The name Bedourie is believed to be from a First Nations word meaning dust storm, for which the area is well known.
Day 5 @ Desert Sands Motel, BOULIA - Sun 3rd Sept
We will start the morning off with a relaxing soak in the warm waters of the artesian spa in which the warm water is drawn from the Bedourie Artesian Bore drilled in 1905. We will check out the historic Royal Hotel, one of the oldest original hotels in Outback Queensland before heading off at a leisurely pace for Boulia, known as “ Capital of the Channel Country” and home of the renowned Camel Races. We may observe a murmuration of Budgerigars along the way ! From Birdsville to Boulia the road has many historical stop off points that illustrate the impactful harshness of the terrain that the early settlers and explorers faced. At Boulia, famous for the ghostly luminescence, the elusive Min Min Light, we experience the quaintly unique Min Min Light Encounter. A Heritage precinct includes the Stone House Museum, the preserved 1888 home of the pioneering Jones family, full of local history memorabilia, First Nation artefacts, space junk, and a fascinating collection of marine reptile fossils unearthed in the area. Burke and Wills were the first European explorers to pass near here and we observe prolific birdlife along the Burke River.
Day 6 @ Rangelands Outback Camp, WINTON - Mon 4th Sept
Departing Boulia we head into the Mitchell Grass Plains and view stunning mesa formations. Mesas are formed by erosion, when water washes smaller and softer types of rocks away from the top of a hill. We travel through The Diamantina River ring feature, a geological structure possibly caused by an impact event that is believed to have happened about 300 million years ago. We follow the Diamantina River and enjoy a picnic lunch on it's banks in the shadow of the heritage listed remains of sandstone Old Cork Homestead. Three time Queensland Premier Sir Thomas McIlwraith, 1879,1888 and 1893 was a partner in Cork Station from 1875 for a period. We travel through Cork station and in it's current lush vegetative state understand why pastoralists settled the Mitchell Grasslands to fatten their cattle. Another nearby station taken up in 1875, the Diamantina Lakes property was added to Sidney Kidman's pastoral empire in 1909 until the 1950's. Diamantina Lakes was purchased by the Queensland government from one of the Holmes a' Court companies and is now one of Queensland's largest National Parks. We pass through more dramatic landscapes, enjoying a picnic lunch and birdwatching near the site of the Dinosaur stampede at Lark Quarry where we marvel over more than 3,300 footprints of at least 150 dinosaurs were imbedded 95 million years ago.
Tonight we will stay at the exclusive Rangelands Outback Camp where the 6 unique tent camp exudes “it’s very own Outback experience like no other”. Each tent with an outback view shower sits like a luxury capsule within the surrounding bush, with a focus on the key home comforts: a supremely comfortable king size bed, good wholesome food, fine wines, spirits and mixers. The view from your eyrie on this mesa based camp is sensational.
Day 7 @ North Gregory Hotel, WINTON - Tues 5th Sept
Awakening atop of the mesa upon which our luxurious glamping experience is located we observe the sun rising over the ancient lands and clamber around The Rifts, rock formations sculpted by the elements over millions of years. Today we enjoy a slower pace around Winton we at your own leisure you can choose to visit the Waltzing Matilda Centre, the eccentric Arno’s wall and Willie Mar Chinese Market Garden Heritage Site, the Corfield & Fitzmaurice Store, a number of opal dealers, a musical fence and a cemetery walk honouring Winton’s citizenrys’ contributions. The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum is home to the largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils in the world. The museum is split into three facilities, a fossil preparation laboratory, collection room and dinosaur canyon.
Day 8 @ North Gregory Hotel, WINTON - Wed 6th Sept
On an early morning exploration of Bladensburg National Park and it’s original 120 year old homestead complex we learn of the infamous Skull Hole and the disastrous impact that European settlement had on local First Nations peoples. We continue to fascinating Opalton a working opal mining area and meet some Opal Miners and inspect some mines and Opals. We will seek out the rare Opalton Grass Wrens. Returning to Winton we can enjoy it's stunning sunset and a "Banjo Patterson" themed bush poet at the art deco North Gregory Hotel where we dine and where Banjo conducted his first public performance of Waltzing Matilda. Next door to our hotel is located the Royal Open Air Theatre Built in 1918, It is one of only two remaining open air picture theatres left in Australia. Wednesday is film night ...aren't you lucky !
Day 9 @ Saltbush Retreat, LONGREACH - Thurs 7th Sept
Enjoy an early morning bird watching session around the town of Winton where confident Broglas strut their stuff. We head to Longreach at a leisurely pace and take in the features of this major centre of the Central West including the Qantas Founders Museum for those inclined. In the late afternoon we board an historic riverboat for a sunset Thomson River cruise followed by a Stockman’s campfire dinner and stories of the pioneers.
Day 10 @ Country Motor Inn, BARCALDINE - Fri 8th Sept
In Longreach at the Australian Stockman’s Hall experience the stories and skills that define what it means to be a stockman. Understand their connection to the land and the livestock they care for. Experience the action of a live muster and witness the bond between man and animal working together. Hear songs from the outback that tell the story of a day in the life of a stockman. Venturing to Turraburra, also known as Gracevale Station we visit traditional aboriginal sites on a gallery walk interpreted by First Nations custodians who also explain native foods and medicines and how they practice traditional land management methods. We also travel the Sculpture Trail, the longest in the world, viewing the works of a local sculptor, Milynda Rogers. We travel to Barcaldine for the evening where all the streets are named after trees and where we observe the beautifully illuminated Tree of Knowledge at sunset.
Day 11 @ Day of Departure - Sat 9th Sept
An early morning birdwatching opportunity presents at the Lagoon Creek, a 100 metres from our accommodation in Barcaldine, “The Garden City of the West”, central to "the shearers' war" of the 1890s. Immerse yourself in the history and mythology, visiting the Australian Workers Heritage Centre, the Tree of Knowledge and the birthplace of the Australian Labor Party.
We transit directly to Barcaldine Airport for the flight to Brisbane.
Any question or want to make a booking, contact us Here:
Did You Know ?
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.
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.
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.
Congratulations, Winton: Queensland's top Tiny Tourism Town for 2022!
Way out west, amongst picturesque terrain, Winton is dedicated to delivering world-class visitor experiences and excellence. With ancient dinosaurs, brilliant boulder opals, open-air film festivals, opera, agriculture and pasturelands at the birthplace of Waltzing Matilda and Qantas, Winton offers nature, culture and heritage.
The Boulia Camel Races is an Australian camel race held annually every third weekend of July in Boulia, Queensland since 1997. Sometimes called the Melbourne Cup of camel racing, the event is home to the Boulia Camel Cup, the longest camel race in Australia run over 1500 metres.
The Charleville Bilby Experience offers a must-see show! Join a tour of the nocturnal house (where we alter the timing so that the bilby’s night is during our day) and see some super cute bilbies during their night-time activities. After an engaging talk by one of the keepers you will understand more about the plight of this delightful eco-engineer and exactly why they are worth saving from extinction. The Save the Bilby Fund has been working hard on the breeding facility in Charleville and we have produced over 50 babies in the last couple of years. The management of the pairings (ensuring genetic diversity) means that they are are helping to build up the bilby populations across Australia with the intent of insuring them against extinction.
The Birdsville Races are horse races held each year in September in the Queensland, Australia, town of Birdsville and have been run for 140 years. Funds are raised in aid of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia.