The Ultimate Queensland Odyssey
Ultimate Queensland Odyssey
Outback Highlands Coastal
Natural Wonders and a Timeless Past
17 Day Tour
AUD 9,490 p.p. Twin Share
(Single Supplement AUD 1,500)
Price includes all meals, accommodation, guides & entry fees to all activities. All land, river and sea transport plus flight from Brisbane to Charleville and return flight to Lady Elliot Island.
Indulge yourself with an extended Adventure with the Sunshine Coast to Far North Queensland air flight or tour bus transfer and some accommodation provided Free for You when combining this tour with the the Far North Queensland Expedition. View "Conditions & Terms" page for further details
Saturday 20th May to Monday 5th June 2023
The Tour departs from Brisbane Airport with a flight to Charleville where we meet a bilby up close, one of our cutest and most endangered marsupials and uncover a WW11 top secret. We experience the charm of the historic Hotel Corones, explore the night skys and tour a date farm. We visit Quilpie before travelling deeper into the states 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 to Windorah on the Thomson Creek we view Australia’s largest and most historic shearing shed at Cordillo Downs Station, also the heritage listed Carcoory homestead and quirky gas and oil extraction sites along the way to iconic Birdsville. We learn of the fate of the Burke and Wills expedition and follow their path on the outskirts of the Simpson Desert and visit the red sand dunes . 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 and also Barcaldine where we visit a working sheep station and Turraburra and its traditional aboriginal sites accompanied by explanations of native foods and medicines. We explore an underground sapphire mine at Rubyvale before overnighting at Springsure, under the shadow of the spectacular Minerva Hills where 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 forests as you travel east to the Queensland coast. Stay overnight at Theodore on the banks of the Dawson River before travelling to the ghost town of Crakow and the RM Williams Australian Bush Learning Centre at Eidsvold and also 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 at Kondalilla National Park and along some of Australia's most beautiful beaches and estuaries.
Indulge yourself with an extended Adventure with the Sunshine Coast to Far North Queensland air flight or tour bus transfer and some accommodation provided Free for You when combining this tour with a departure of the Far North Queensland Expedition. View "Conditions & Terms" page for further details
Friday 17th May to Sunday 2nd June 2024
Day By Day Itinerary
Day 1 : Cute Bilbys and Secrets of the Skys
We arrive on the morning flight from Brisbane to discover the delights of Charleville where we meet a Bilby up close, one of our cutest and most endangered marsupials. Uncover a WW11 top secret, little known USAAF base that housed 3500 US Servicemen and 160 aircraft. Our stay at the historic and charming Hotel Corones is enhanced with a guided tour. Opened in 1929, in its heyday it was the hub of Charleville society, where life was a swirl of cocktail parties, women in gowns, balls and toasts to the king. Birdwatching opportunities will present themselves in the late afternoon on the outskirts of town. Following dinner we stargaze at the Big Sky Observatory experience in the Charleville Cosmos Centre.
Day 2: Elegant Emus and Australia's largest dinosaur
We depart from Charleville for the quirky "Elegant Emu" in the remote town of Adavale for an exquisite High Tea brunch including delicious patisserie. Passing through Quilpie we visit St Finbarrs church with its incredible opal alter. We arrive at Eromanga, Queensland's furthest town from the sea and pop into the Eromanga Living History Museum. The town is also home to the Natural History Museum which is committed to discovering, conserving and showcasing the fossil, natural and cultural heritage of the upper Murray/Darling and Lake Eyre/Cooper basins. We will wash away the dust at the historic Royal Hotel, probably one of the longest operating hotels in the Outback before enjoying a dinner with the dinosaurs at the museum!
Day 3: 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. Travelling deep into the Channel Country, we observe the often quirky infrastructure of the Cooper/Eromanga basin, Australia's most prolific oil and gas basin. We will have lunch at the historic Noccundra Hotel before travelling deeply into the Channel Country to Windorah situated on the Thomson River.
Day 4 : Floodplains and Click go the Shears
Departing Windorah we traverse the Sturt Stony Desert of which the explorer Charles Sturt wrote in his diary "Deserts there are on the face of this Earth, but they present not the iron shod surface of this desolate region". We view Australia’s largest and most historic shearing shed at Cordillo Downs Station and also the heritage listed Carcoory homestead, a property featured in Ion Idriess' book , The Cattle King - a biography about the one time owner, the iconic Sir Sidney Kidman. We cross the Poeppel Line separating Queensland and South Australia before arriving in Birdsville to dine at the iconic Birdsville Hotel.
Day 5: Big Red sand dunes and ancient Waddi Trees
An early morning start will find you on top of the Simpson Desert’s “Big Red” sand dune. The Simpson desert is the largest parallel sand dune desert in the world. After some birdwatching along the banks of the Diamantina River and a wander around the township of Birdsville, we head north in the general direction of the ill fated Burke and Wills expedition, the first to cross Australia from south to north. We discover 1000 year old Waddi Trees thought to be a remnant of the ice age. We observe birdlife on Eyre Creek before arriving in the town of Bedourie where can relieve our aches and pains in the warm waters of the artesian spa in which the water comes from the Bedourie Artesian Bore drilled back in 1905.
Day 6: Stampeding Dinosaurs, The Diamantina and its poetry
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 along with landmarks of historic significance. 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 arrive in the town of Winton to its stunning sunset and an entertaining "Banjo Patterson" themed bush poet at the historic and art deco styled North Gregory Hotel where we will rest for the night. Next door the Royal Open Air Theatre has a Nostalgia Night which features ‘memories of yesteryear’ with the old time slides and black and white film shorts. Built in 1918 it is one of only two remaining open air picture theatres left in Australia.
Day 7 : The Way out West town of Winton
A short early morning drive from Winton to Bladensburg National Park will find us among birds and wildlife surrounding an original 120 year old homestead complex. Immersed in the varying landscapes we will learn of the infamous Skull Hole and the disastrous impact that European settlement had on the First Nations peoples. Returning to Winton we visit the Waltzing Matilda Centre and Qantilda Museum as well as checking out the eccentric Arno’s wall and Willie Mar Chinese Market Garden Heritage Site. The Corfield & Fitzmaurice Store, re-built in 1916 and now listed by the National Trust, is one of the most perfectly preserved old-style general stores in Australia and worth a visit along with a number of opal dealers and a cemetery walk accompanied by detailed accounts of the buried pioneers' contribution to Winton's social fabric. The first musical fence in the world and Winton's Diamantina Heritage Truck and Machinery Museum may be of interest. The acclaimed "The Australian Age of Dinosaurs", located 20 kilometres from the town and home to the largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils in the world is optional for those who just cant get enough of these large critters.
Day 8: Stockmen, aviators and river boats
We meander onto Longreach to 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. There are birdwatching opportunities in a town where all the streets are named after bird species. We 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.
Day 9: An indigenous experience and Shearers' Battleground
This morning we venture to Turraburra, also known as Gracevale Station where accompanied by contemporary traditional custodians we visit traditional aboriginal sites on a gallery walk accompanied by explanations of native foods and medicines. We also travel the Sculpture Trail viewing the works of a local sculptor, Milynda Rogers, whose works have resulted in one of the biggest, permanent, outdoor sculpture exhibitions in the world. We make our way 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 explore Dunraven, a working sheep/cattle station observing farming activities from shearing to mustering and fencing depending on the season. Enjoy 'smoko' in the shearing shed. You'll learn about the unique bush and landscape and see some of the hundreds of bird species before enjoying a beverage as the sun sets over the property. A short drive will have us in Barcy for a meal and rest.
Day 10: Precious Gemstones and Ancient Landscapes
The birdwatchers can rise early for a walk along Lagoon Creek. After breakfast we depart for Rubyvale set in the heart of the Sapphire Gemfields. Here we visit Australia's Largest Walk-In Underground Sapphire Mine Tour. A quick lunch in Emerald and then we're of to pretty Springsure to 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.
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 for a brief platform viewing of Moura's open cut coal mine will observe the gigantic machinery that mine the coal for export. We sleep in comfort at Theodore on the banks of the Dawson River.
Day 12 : Simple Country Pleasures
On our journey to the coast, we meander through picturesque farmland and quaint villages interrupted by ranges of wonderous sandstone mountains. Following an early morning walk and some birdwatching around Theodore we visit the historic "ghost town" of Cracow, the location of Australia's last genuine gold rush during the Great Depression of the early 1930s. We enjoy a picnic lunch at Eidsvold and visit the RM Williams Australian Bush Learning Centre. Continuing through the scenic countryside and forests around Mount Perry 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.
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
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.
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.
Kondalilla National Park
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. Explore the wonders of Maroochy Regional Bushland Botanic Garden before arriving at one of the Sunshine Coast’s least crowded beach at Marcoola. Take a dip in the briny sea and a stroll along the beautiful beach before enjoying a zany Japanese restaurant for our final dinner.
Day 17 : Climb Through 25 Million Years
Your 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. Take a final dip in the Pacific Ocean to cap off your tour.
Flynn’s Tours will assist transit for air departure from the nearby Sunshine Coast Airport or take advantage of our bonus free accommodation and transit options if you choose to combine this tour with the Far North Queensland Expedition!
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.
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. A dominant sandstone formation located near Mt Moffatt , 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 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.