Covering nearly two million square kilometres, Queensland is home to a variety of experiences. Don’t be fooled by its title as the sunshine state; it’s not solely the coast of Queensland that demands a drive-by. Explore fascinating ghost towns in the shadows of its glowing red dunes this spring. We’re taking you to the outback!
Spring is the perfect time to visit the Camooweal Caves, an impressive network of secret caverns below the Barkly Tablelands. The caves formed more than 500 million years ago, when shallow seas and moving water created a fascinating network of twisting tunnels and shafts through the earth. Numerous caves stretch for more than 70 metres, but many have since collapsed to form large sinkholes, meaning that entry to the caves is prohibited; however, strategically located viewing platforms around the caves provide a fascinating look back into the area’s natural history. On the numerous walking trails that surround the caves, monitor lizards and waterbirds can also be seen, ducking in and out of the undergrowth to peer curiously at visitors.
To learn about the region’s development since the formation of the caves so many millions of years ago, step a little forward in time to Camooweal’s fascinating droving history. At the Camooweal Drover’s Camp, the history of this key Australian industry has been lovingly preserved in photos, maps, memorabilia and, best of all, first-hand stories from the locals who know the area best.
For some fascinating insights into a different chapter of Australia’s outback history, visit Cloncurry, the birthplace of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. At John Flynn Place, a lifetime’s worth of work has been preserved, to commemorate the immensely important contribution made by John Flynn, founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, who saw radio communication and aviation as the keys to overcoming the vast expanses of the desert.
Spring is also one of the best times to experience the rugged Australian outback before you head towards the coast. In Quilpie, buckle in for adventure on an outback mail tour. The trip from Quilpie to various outback-farming stations in Queensland’s southwest is not for the faint-hearted, at 430 kilometres and roughly ten hours. While might not be the easiest tour you’ve ever taken, there’s no doubt that it’s an extremely authentic way to experience just a small corner of Australia’s vast and intriguing outback.
For a slightly less intense outback experience, visit Baldy Top Lookout, part of the Grey Ranges and one of the tallest points in southwest Queensland. Here, you can explore caves and crevices that have remained untouched by the modern world and take in the spectacular view over the Grey Ranges awaiting you at the top. If you’re keener on keeping your feet closer to the ground, Quilpie is also home to some of the most beautiful opals in the world. Bring your own equipment to have a go at uncovering a treasure at the council’s designated fossicking area, or get a permit for a more serious attempt at a eureka moment.