4 awesome outback road trips

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What’s not to love about road trips? Good tunes, changing scenery, new adventures – you never know what might happen next! And when you head west to check out Outback Queensland, there’s no better way to see everything than with four wheels and a hearty dose of adventure.

Here are 4 easy-to-follow outback road trip itineraries we prepared earlier.

1. Great Inland Way – 6 days / 1,863 kilometres

The Great Inland Way takes you over the Great Dividing Range, through Outback Queensland and ends at the Coral Sea. This road trip will load up your senses with ochre sands, great outback pubs, lush rainforests and hikes that go on for days.

Check out the full itinerary and maps here.

See & Do

  • Raise a pint at one of the historic pubs along the way. The publicans in Hebel, St. George, and Nindigully are all experts at hosting road-weary travellers and have been since the 1800’s.
  • Witness the sights and sounds of live cattle auctioning at the Roma Bungil Saleyards – the largest cattle selling facility in Australia.
  • Detour to Carnarvon Gorge, just to the northwest of Injune, where you can spot platypus in the wild and see over 2,000 motifs of Indigenous art in the “art gallery”.
  • Get licenced to fossick in either Rubyvale or Sapphire and try your luck at bagging a precious gem.
  • Taste the good life and do a little gold-digging between Clermont and Ravenshoe. But be sure you’re licenced first!
  • Take the Ghosts of Gold heritage trail and see the world’s first stock exchange in Charters Towers.
  • In Atherton, you’re in outdoors heaven – waterfalls, walks, and lookouts are almost as plentiful as the barramundi that swim through the waterways here.
  • Take your pick of over 600 different tours that leave from Cairns every day, many featuring the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Finish up in Cooktown; named after one of the most famous Queensland explorers and established during the gold rush.

2. Brisbane to Birdsville (4WD) – 6 days / 1,813 kilometres

Head out on this unforgettable 4×4 journey and you’ll be an expert at explaining why the Bird is the word! From Brisbane to the home of the iconic Birdsville Races, travel through Outback Queensland and experience what life is like in the bush.

Check out the full itinerary and map here.

See & Do

  • Grab some fresh produce at one of the honesty boxes along the way and stop in Toowoomba for a scenic picnic lunch at Picnic Point lookout.
  • Visit Queensland’s oldest hotel, The Nindigully Pub, on the banks of the Moonie River.
  • Detour southwest of St. George for a 4×4 treat at Culgoa Floodplain National Park.
  • Spot a koala in the large population of marsupials at Wallan Creek in Bollen.
  • Take a peek at Paroo – home of the annual World Lizard Racing Championships.
  • Try your luck fossicking for your own opals at Yowah.
  • If you’re on your way to the Birdsville Races, be sure to detour through Windorah and punt on the International Yabby Races.
  • Make stops along Cooper Creek at the Dig Tree site of Burke and Willis, where their epic journey ended in tragedy and their original graves were dug. You can also see Indigenous rock carvings at Cullyamurra Waterhole.
  • Get real, roughing it from Innamincka to Birdsville as there is nowhere for provisions in between the two destinations.
  • Wash down a curry camel pie with a well-earned drink at the famous Birdsville Pub – you made it!

3. Matilda Highway – 4 days / 1,812 kilometres

This is a real outback adventure, taking you from the border of New South Wales all the way to the Gulf of Carpentaria. Soak it all up as you experience some of the most interesting people and places Queensland has to offer.

Check out the full itinerary and map here.

See & Do

  • Start your trip with a visit to Tattersalls hotel in Barringun, a relic from the past that still stands in a township with a whopping population of four.
  • Keep your eyes (and camera) on the lookout for wildflowers between Barringun to Cunnamulla if you’re traveling after a good rain.
  • Make a pit stop in Eulo, home to mud springs and the Opal fields of Yowah.
  • Charleville hosts the Royal Flying Doctors Service and the Cosmos Centre. Four-wheel-drive enthusiasts should make time for a side trip over to Salvator Rosa National Park.
  • Stop for a look at the Tree of Knowledge in Barcaldine, where the Australia Labor Party was established.
  • In Longreach take time out to visit the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, which wraps up outback history into one fantastic museum or visit the Qantas Founder’s Museum, complete with its own Boeing 747 as its centrepiece.
  • Prep a dino at Winton’s Australian Age of the Dinosaurs, with a hands-on dinosaur bone and fossil experience.
  • Dive into some local prawns in Karumba and celebrate your road-worthy accomplishment!

4. Warrego Highway from Brisbane to Charleville – 3 days / 744 kilometres

Set out along one of the oldest highways in Queensland to move from the buzz of the state capital through the fertile Lockyer Valley, up and over the Great Dividing Range, across the Darling Downs and into the outback.

Check out the full itinerary and map here.

See & Do

  • Stretch your legs in Ipswich, settled along the Brisbane River, at the Workshops Rail Museum.
  • Wind your way through some of the best antiquing towns in Queensland as you cross through the Lockyer Valley – Marburg, Withcott and Toowoomba to name a few.
  • Make a stop in Chinchilla, home of the bi-annual Melon Festival and get licenced to fossick for petrified wood, Chinchilla Red to be more specific.
  • Pit stop in Roma and say “hello” to the big red. Don’t miss the Roma Saleyards – the biggest store cattle selling facility in Australia. With special catwalks for visitors to see all the action
  • Relax and revitalise with the high mineral content of the Great Artesian Spa in Mitchell, the largest open-air spa in Australia.
  • Enjoy a few days in Charleville – you’ve made it! Visit the grand old Hotel Corones – the biggest outback pub in Australia – with its resident ghost and at night take in the star-studded outback night sky at the Cosmos Centre.

What’s the most epic road trip you’ve ever taken?

  • http://www.ozoutbackadventuretours.com Kylie

    Great Blog post Jenn :-) You can see we have tailored tours very similar to the itineraries that you have listed above in our ‘dream’ job http://www.ozoutbackadventuretours.com
    We NEVER tire of travelling to these wonderful and spectacular destinations ;-)

    • Jennifer Heitzmann

      Hi Kylie,

      Thanks for the feedback! We love the Outback and all the fascinating things it has to explore…so glad you are out there helping others see it!

  • http://www.rockytravel.net/ Rocky Travel Blog

    Excellent Post! I have been to a few outback destinations in Queensland and loved them! I’d love to explore more and go on one or two of these road trips.

  • http://www.montanitavacationrentals.com/ montanitavacationrentals

    To escape the soaring 50°C temperatures, most of this outback town, from private homes to elaborately carved churches, was built underground.