A life enriching Australian outback adventure to the Corner Country in the spirit of “Flynn of the Inland”. Offering an emotional connection to the vast and beautiful desert heartland. Bringing to life Flynn’s legacy of a caring nation, the Flying Doctor, School of the Air, historic bush hospitals and the Australian Inland Mission. Visit the Sturt National Park, legendary Cooper Creek and Channel Country, Burke and Wills Dig Tree, the remote outposts of Birdsville and Innamincka – experience the “land of infinity” – 14 days departs Brisbane.
Single Supplement AUD$751. Special Discounts apply to this tour. See Clause 4 of the Terms and Conditions. Early Bird price reverts to the Regular Price 6 months prior to each tour departure date. Minimum number of guests for this tour is 7.
2019 prices available and bookings received from mid 2018. Meanwhile register your interest for pre-release advice.
Picture yourself, standing alone on a million acre property, gazing at the vast horizon and curvature of the earth.
The far ranging big Red Kangaroos, families of curious Emus, Wedge-tailed Eagles, Whistling Kites, tall and graceful Brolgas, stately Bustards and the endangered rabbit eared bandicoot or Bilby.
Whether you are born of the city or bush, the Corner Country tour is your chance to experience the heartland in comfort and style. It is here:
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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 self educated bushman and celebrated Emu Egg engraver.
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 utilised in Australia’s first Hydro-Electric Scheme.
Dinner and overnight motel or cabin 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, lovingly restored and sitting alone in the desert. You’ll then pass through the 5,291 kms long feral dog fence into NSW. Tibooburra is your base for three 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.
Accommodation for three nights – Granites Motel and Cottages, Tibooburra
The Outback School of the Air, historic Mt Wood outback pastoral station and the nearby ghost town of Milparinka will be featured today. Visit Preservation Creek where inland 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. Later in the day, some free time for village roaming, a chat with locals, visit the local historic park exhibits and walk to the Granites high tops for sunset.
Today is a fascinating travel day to the remote outpost of Innamincka, firstly crossing the Sturt National Park to arguably Australia’s most isolated lunch venue. Cameron Corner (Pop 2 or 3) is where three state borders meet, the sole lonely outpost for refuelling thirsty vehicles and welcoming hungry adventurers. You then head by million acre desert cattle stations Bollards Lagoon and Merty Merty, crossing hundreds of red parallel sand ridges and swales to join the historic Strzelecki Track. Time to recount 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. Later you can view the Moonba oil and gas fields en-route to Innamincka.
Accommodation: 3 nights at Innamincka Hotel/Motel suites
Today you explore locally from the village of Innamincka (pop 10) nestled on the banks of Cooper Creek, beside Innamincka Station once leased by Sidney Kidman. 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.
Today will involve Nature Bound’s first exploratory visit to Malkumba – Coongie Lakes National Park, an accredited Ramsar wetlands site, described as a ‘pristine water world of channels, lakes, internal deltas, and interdune corridors’. A true wilderness of calm and solitude. Noted for its extensive and diverse bird populations migrating from across the globe to breed, particularly after summer floods have delivered monsoonal rains into the desert, thousands of kilometres from the north. This is also a mid tour optional rest day should you so desire.
Today you’ll 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 far from city noise and pollution and an amazing diversity of birds. There are Billabongs and Waddy Trees, the Diamantina River and quirky town enterprises to discover. In the afternoon you’ll 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. Here and in Innamincka the legend of Flynn of the Inland lives on. The full senses of desert isolation and vast horizons provide an emotional ending to this day.
Today you travel east 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 wide 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).
Accommodation: Village hotel or Cabins
We leave Windorah, travelling east initially on a highway run toward Quilpie with breaks at settlements numbering 2 to 6 people. We deviate on back roads to Eromanga, centrally located in a great artesian basin of the same name. Here the internationally standard Eromanga Natural History Museum has been established to receive, process, conserve and showcase the fossils, natural and cultural heritage of the upper Lake Eyre/ Cooper Basin. The Museum has access to 70 significant dinosaur and megafauna sites and has become a centre of excellence for arid Australia palaeontology with its laboratory, collection room and informative tour guides.
Accommodation: Quilpie Hotel/Motor Inn
We continue homeward bound for an overnight stop in Roma. Part way we visit Charleville with its Cosmos Centre and an introduction to Aboriginal dreamtime cosmology. Our prime interest will be viewing a solitary, nocturnal omnivorous marsupial called the Greater Bilby which has enjoyed the fascination of international visitors and even Royalty. This endangered species is otherwise known as the Rabbit Eared Bandicoot sporting a silky grey coat, long tail, long snout, long sticky tongue, great sense of smell and large hairless ears. Later we catch up with a local ‘bushie’ who presents a captivating account of how he and his enterprising family have survived the hardships and ravages of the Australian bush during droughts and flooding rains. His remote property is home to large populations of Brolga, Bustards and other birds. We then motor on to Roma for an early evening arrival and dinner, bed and breakfast at the Roma Explorers Inn.
Following casual travel breaks at the rural service centres of Miles, Dalby and Toowoomba we follow the Warrego Highway back to Brisbane reflecting on a unique journey to the heartland: vastness, isolation, uncanny silence, star filled horizons, colour, contact with outback characters, abundant bird and wildlife, heroic and fateful explorer history, properties as big as nations.
Somewhere in all this you will have discovered the Australian spirit.
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