Pre departure administration, meet ‘n greet and tour briefings in Brisbane the afternoon prior to departure.
You’ll commence your holiday with a leisurely highway and back road journey to St George across the Darling and Western Downs of Queensland with a tailgate picnic lunch en route. Recalling explorer pathways, Cobb & Co, coaching days, European settler challenges and Aboriginal displacement. Natural history focus will be on the Brigalow belt and Prickly Pear invasion, the Great Artesian Basin, outback bird and wildlife. Late afternoon, enjoy a visit to a celebrated and self educated Emu Egg engraver.
Overnight accommodation, a family motel in the regional town of St George.
You’ll continue travelling into the outback with a tea break at Bollon (pop 150) and lunch at Cunnumulla, home of folklore characters and heroes. Enjoy an afternoon visit to Eulo, the quirky village of strange monuments, bomb shelter, date farm and opal mining. You are in sheep, cattle, oil and gas country with bore water prompting Australia’s first Hydro-Electric Scheme.
Dinner and overnight motel accommodation at the remote town of Thargomindah (pop 250)
Today you continue west to the remote outpost of Noccundra (pop 4) for lunch at its heritage listed stone pub sitting alone in the desert. You’ll then pass through the 5,291 kms feral dog fence into NSW. Tibooburra is your base for two nights set amidst a pile of 450 million year old granite tors with a pub set in folklore, the watering hole of internationally renowned Australian artists, their works adorning the bar walls. Discover the town on foot and chat with the locals.
Dinner and accommodation for two nights – Tibooburra Family Hotel
The Outback School of the Air, Mt Wood outback pastoral station and the nearby ghost town of Milparinka will be featured today. Visit Preservation Creek where explorer Charles Sturt and his expedition were trapped for a long hot 6 months then in contrast enjoy a refreshment at the Albert Hotel (1882) built in heady gold rush times. Spot the Wedge-tailed Eagles, the big Red Kangaroos and Emu which feature on Australia’s coat of arms as you commence your visit to the Sturt National Park.
Enjoy a remote 4WD journey through the back tracks of Sturt National Park, desert country strewn with colourful flat top mesas, periodic wetlands surrounded by white sands, transforming to the rolling red sand ridges of the Strzelecki Desert. Arrive at isolated Cameron Corner where three state borders meet and the sole lonely outpost of Bill Mitchell, refuelling thirsty vehicles and hungry adventurers. After lunch you’ll travel through a million acre desert cattle station and onto our overnight accommodation for two nights at Epsilon Station. Your hosts are a hard working young family, leading producers in organic export beef. Travel through endless red sand ridges, and across vast clay pans, recounting the legend of one of Australia’s most daring cattle stealing drives, the stories of pioneering Afghan Cameleers and the cattle king, Sir Sidney Kidman.
Accommodation Outback Station quarters for 2 nights.
Time for you to relax and immerse in the life and activities of a remote outback station.
You travel to the village of Innamincka (pop 10) nestled on the banks of Cooper Creek, beside Innamincka Station once owned by Sidney Kidman and contemplate the floods which have all but destroyed the town on various occasions. You’ll visit significant sites of the ill fated Burke and Wills north-south trans Australia expedition the legendary Coolibah Tree on Nappa Merrie Station protected and managed by the Royal Historical Society, the Dig Tree and Face Tree, the grave site memorials to these intrepid explorers.
The Outamincka Bar of the Innamincka Pub fills with local and transient characters. Aboriginal rock engravings and trade routes of old are located near the Cullyamurra and other water holes, home to large numbers of Pelicans and inland water birds.
Accommodation at the Innamincka Pub motel suites for two nights
Today you’ll visit Coongie Lakes National Park, an accredited Ramsar wetlands site, noted for its extensive bird populations, particularly after summer floods have arrived thousands of kilometres from the northern seasonal monsoonal rains.
You travel one of the most remote tracks of Australia through the Innamincka Regional Reserve crossing dry water courses and artesian bore sites, visiting the heritage listed and once Australia’s largest shearing shed in the heart of the desert, and later the Cadelga Station ruins. Stories of camel teams, Aboriginal shepherds, and the cruel response of nature to attempted European settlement abound as you cross the endless gibber plains.
You arrive in Birdsville (pop 100) and the motel suites of the iconic Birdsville Pub, accommodation for 2 nights.
Legendary Birdsville, located on a ridge, stuck between two deserts was once described by early explorers as “a desperate region having no parallel on earth” but today has become the mysterious magnet for those who seek the therapy of isolation and an amazing diversity of birds. Billabongs and Waddy Trees, the Diamantina River and quirky town enterprises, headed by the museum owned by a wiry ringer and rodeo rider of old, John Menzies feature today. In the afternoon you visit the edge of the Simpson Desert to climb Big Red the largest of 1100 parallel red sand ridges hundreds of kilometres long and brilliantly fired by the setting sun. The full senses of desert isolation and vast horizons provide an emotional ending to the day.
Today you travel away from the desert heartland for Windorah (pop 80), through country that inspired the poetry of our most celebrated bush poet. There are ruins, flood channels and red sandhills the channel country producing flood water overflows on a 64 kms front. There are legendary rivers, the Barcoo, the Thompson, the Cooper and the village of Windorah where pioneers, the Duracks, commenced construction of the local hotel (1878) – Village hotel or comfortably restored Shearers quarters provide accommodation for two nights.
You spend the day on an historic property first settled in 1874, still owned and run by descendants of the Durack family. An evening of fine country hospitality, camp fire poetry and entertainment.
You’ll continue travelling east on a highway run to Roma with breaks at villages numbering 2 to 6 people before lunching at the “foxtrap” with its quirky origins. A visit to the Charleville Cosmos Centre and an introduction to Aboriginal dreamtime cosmology is included with overnight accommodation and dinner at a quality Roma motel.
Following stops at the rural service centres of Miles, Dalby and Toowoomba you follow the Warrego Highway back to Brisbane reflecting on a unique journey to the heartland, vastness, isolation, uncanny silence, star filled horizons, colours, contact with characters of the outback, abundant bird and wildlife, heroic and fateful explorer expeditions, properties as big as nations locked in your memories and above all, in the isolated outposts, people driven by an Australian spirit.