5 days driving the Adventure Way in Outback Australia
There’s no need to worry about false advertising when it comes to the Adventure Way. This 1100km road trip from Brisbane to Innamincka in South Australia lives up to its reputation. It’s adventurous, action-packed and accessible (even with a caravan in tow).
If you want to see Outback Australia, this is how you do it – mulga trees, emus and outback plains guaranteed.
Here’s our recipe for adventure, the aptly-named Adventure Way.
Day 1: Brisbane to Dalby (209km / 2hr 40m)
Get outta town and head west over the Great Dividing Range to the Garden City, Toowoomba.
With over 150 parks and gardens, there’s ample room for smoko, whether you decide to pack your own or try one of Toowoomba’s bustling coffee haunts. You know their morning tea game is going to be strong when Toowoomba once won a competition for the world’s largest lamington.
Just outside of Toowoomba, stop in at the historic Woolshed at Jondaryan for history that could rival the BBC Channel.
Inside its 300,000-acre boundaries, you’ll find some of the best Australian pioneering history tales. The pièce de résistance is the woolshed, made of 5000 sheets of corrugated iron. With space for 52 shearing stands and up to 3000 sheep, it’s the world’s largest working woolshed
Want more? Check out these spots to steady your caravan legs in Toowoomba’s surrounds.
Day 2: Dalby to St George (303km / 3hr 30m)
Fishing fanatics should head directly to the Balonne River for their fix. St George is dubbed the inland fishing capital of Australia, best known for its cod catches.
If fishing doesn’t appeal, don’t give the Balonne a miss entirely. The Riverbank Walkway offers 2km of shaded riverside pathways, with not a hill in sight.
Tonight, let down the caravan legs or camp at the Pelican Rest Tourist Park, which will quickly become your patch of paradise nestled in native Outback Australia bushland.
Day 3: St George to Cunnamulla (295km / 3hr 20m)
The first thing you’ll notice in town is the Cunnamulla Fella, a bronze statue that immortalises the famous Slim Dusty song.
A town bus tour with Out The Back will share the real Cunnamulla, a town that’s home to natural sand dunes, native birds and rich Indigenous history. If you can, plan your visit to coincide with the Cunnamulla Fella Festival or Music in the Mulga to really see this town of 1200 people come to life.
Those happy camping and caravanning can pull up for the night in the Cunnamulla Tourist Park. For something more comfortable, splurge on The Cunnamulla Boutique Motel. Their onsite restaurant dishes up so much more than just parmigianas. Not convinced? Read about it in this post.
Day 4 Cunnamulla to Thargomindah (197km / 2hr 10m)
To see why they call this part of Outback Australia Mulga Country, head further west to Eulo, 69km from Cunnamulla through mulga-tree lined highway.
Allow ample time to visit the tension-relieving Artesian Mud Baths and soak in 40-million-year-old artesian mud known to tighten and smooth skin. According to owner Ian Pike, “it’s so good, it will take corrugations out of iron”. If you feel more weary traveller than spring chicken, best to allow an hour or two for this detour.
Back on the road, take the turnoff into Lake Bindegolly National Park for a spot of wetland birdwatching before arriving into Thargomindah for the night.
For a taste of local history, visit the old Thargomindah Hospital and Leahy Historical House, built in 1885 and once home to cattle king Sir Sidney Kidman.
At sunset, you’ll see for yourself how the town name lives up to its Aboriginal derivative meaning “cloud of dust.”
For the night, settle into the Thargomindah Caravan Park. Those without their own amenities can see what puts the oasis in Thargomindah Oasis Motel.
Day 5: Thargomindah to Innamincka (413km / 10hr 30m)
Save the biggest day of driving till last. It’s a little over 10 hours from “Thargo”, as the locals call it, to the tiny town of 12 people, Innamincka.
If there are two must-stops before you cross the border, they’re the historic Noccundra Hotel on the banks of the Wilson River, which was first licensed as a pub in 1886, and The ‘Dig Tree‘ on Nappa Merrie Station, about 40km north-east of Innamincka. The Dig Tree tells an important story of Australian history as it was the base camp that Burke and Wills returned to, only to find the rest of the party gone.
For accommodation, if you’re happy camping or caravanning, try the town common. Otherwise, seek creature comforts at The Innamincka Hotel whose restaurant and bar appears to employ most of the town’s population.
Looking for more roads for tripping? You’ll find 12 more Great Queensland Drives in this free ebook.
Want to double the fun of your road trip? You can take The Adventure Way into the heart of Birdsville for the Birdsville Races and Big Red Bash. Hot tip: Take the Adventure Way in and Warrego Way home for something a bit different.