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The big outback bucket list

The big outback bucket list

Outback adventures are abundant in Queensland year round, but after a sweltering summer season, autumn is the perfect time to head out into the vast, arid landscape. You could head to the big outback hubs like Mount Isa and Longreach (which we certainly recommend you do!), but there’s something special about the more remote, secret locations. Gear up as we tackle the best outback destinations in Queensland!


Right in the heart of Queensland’s Channel Country, Windorah is a destination surrounded by untouched natural beauty. Windorah’s close proximity to the tranquil Cooper Creek makes it a haven for keen birdwatchers and fishing enthusiasts alike. But if the water isn’t for you, then head 12 kilometres west of Windorah to Sandos Sandhills, which are the most magnificent shade of orange, and are a great place to watch the sun rise and set. Bring some champagne and have a toast as the sun goes down, or bring the littlies along and have fun sand boarding down the dunes.


Enthusiastic astronomers – both novice and professional – are in luck in Charleville, where the outback stars shine exceptionally bright and clear. Charleville is a whopping 800 kilometres west from the Sunshine Coast, but the journey is well worth it once you get to this rich regional hub. Admire the stars at the Cosmos Centre, where you can head on a guided tour to learn about space, and even try your hand at stargazing through professional telescopes. For some daytime fun, Charleville is a history buff’s paradise, home to the WWII Secret Base museum and tour. Come here to discover what life was like for the 3500 United States Air Force airmen that called Charleville home in 1943, as well as the classified missions, secrets and voyages that they undertook.

The Gemfields

No trip to the Queensland outback would be complete without a stop at The Gemfields. Comprising the towns of Rubyvale, Sapphire and Anakie, and not far from the aptly named town of Emerald, The Gemfields are a fossicking hotspot for precious gems. As one of the largest sapphire-bearing areas in the world, this small pocket of the Queensland outback is teeming with both gems and history. Try your hand at fossicking for your own sapphires, and enjoy uncovering the region’s rich mining past with a visit to Miners Heritage – Australia’s largest underground mine tour.

To read the rest of the list, check out the Autumn 2023 edition of Caravanning Australia!

Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland

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