The Bulloo Shire covers almost 74,000 square kilometres at the junction of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. It’s flat, red land characterised by low scrub, blue skies and vast horizons. In other words, it is quintessentially Queensland outback – the perfect place to get a sense of the desert.
Start at Lake Bindegolly National Park, which protects one of the most important wetland systems in south-west Queensland, as well as the threatened Acacia ammophila tree. The area is one of only two known habitats of this tree, whose seedlings are often eaten by stock or birds.
If you’re visiting between March and October, the trees are distinguished by their yellow ‘puff ball’ flowers. Gnarled wattle trees and low shrubs contrast with the ochre of the soil and meet the glistening Bindegolly, Toomaroo and Hutchison lakes. Claypans, sand dunes and woodlands give the park diversity of landscape, and birds rule the roost here (pun intended!). At times, waterbirds flock here in the thousands to breed, and this is what made the area an important food source to local Indigenous people.
Have a picnic or walk to the lake, remembering your binoculars for some great birdwatching. You can’t leave the Bulloo Shire without checking out the Burke and Wills Dig Tree, one of Australia’s national icons. You’ll find the tree – a coolabah believed to be 200–250 years old – on the Nappa Merrie Station. It was at the base of this tree, in 1861, that the Burke and Wills base camp party buried some provisions in the hope that Burke and Wills would return to this spot after their expedition to find the essential supplies. Instructions to dig were carved into the trunk of the tree, while another tree 30 metres downstream bears the face of Burke himself, carved in memoriam in 1898.