Hear about travel to the Queensland Outback as the Amateur Traveler talks to Melissa from Queensland about a destination she discovered during the pandemic when she could not leave her home state.
Why should you go to the Queensland Outback?
Melissa says, “Firstly, I think when most people think of Queensland or plan a visit to Queensland, they’re thinking Great Barrier Reef, maybe Gold Coast, theme parks, beautiful beaches, and I just find people aren’t thinking about the outback. I don’t know why, really, because it’s amazing… I think particularly perhaps for your North American listeners.”
” I know when I’m traveling around the world and people talk to me, ‘what’s Australia like?’. ‘Are there kangaroos jumping down the street?’ And the answer is no, there’s not. But if you do wanna see kangaroos jumping down the street thing, go to the Outback. It’s absolutely amazing. The landscape’s amazing. The people are amazing. You can walk into a bar and just talk to a local all night.”
“The other thing is even if you went in what’s considered the peak season, there’s not going to be masses of tourists everywhere. There are going to be masses of tourists in the great barrier on our beautiful beaches. I just think if you wanna see what you think Australia is, the stereotypical view of Australia, then go to the Outback.”
Given the constraint of a week-long itinerary, Melissa recommends limiting your visit to two small but attraction-filled towns in the outback. The average Aussie would drive to these towns in their caravan (RV), but that could easily add a week to the itinerary. If you are tight on time, fly to Longreach, Queensland.
Longreach is where the first Qantas flight took off and you can find the Qantas Founders Museum there. Melissa also recommends a number of tours from the Kinnon family. These entrepreneurial locals own a sheep station outside of town but in recent years started hosting tours for tourists. They have an old paddle wheeler, an old stagecoach, and a double-decker bus that they use to show you the landscape and talk about the history and heritage of the area. You can see an old-time tent show, eat a billy can lunch, or watch sheep being sheared on one of their tours.
Longreach is also the home of the Australian Stockmans Hall Of Fame. A stockman in Australia is equivalent to a cowboy in the U.S. You can learn more about the life of a stockman, watch a show that features working dogs and horses and learn more about features of the outback like the Royal Flying Doctors.
While in Longreach you can also tour the School of the Air which has provided remote schooling for the children on remote cattle and sheep stations long before the internet and zoom. Starting with shortwave radio, many of Queensland’s rural kids have attended school remotely for a couple of generations.
Our second stop is Winton which is a couple of hours up the road from Longreach. Winton is dinosaur country. You can visit the Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum which is a working research museum. You can also see the footprints of a great number of running dinosaurs at the nearby Dinosaur Stampede.
Winton is also home to the Waltzing Matilda Centre. Waltzing Matilda is not Australia’s national anthem, but more people around the world are familiar with this song than the official national anthem. Winton was where the song was written and first performed. If you are not from Australia but you know what a swagman and a billabong are, then someone likely taught you Waltzing Matilda.
Throw in some great glamping sites, historic hotels, a musical fence, and a truck museum and you too may fall in love with the outback in Queensland.
right click here to download (mp3)
Thrifty Family Travels
The Queensland Travel Guide
Longreach to Winton 7 Day Itinerary
Mitchell Grass Retreat
The Staging Post, Longreach
Qantas Founders Museum
Old Time Tent Show – Outback Pioneers
Starlight’s Cruise Experience
Harry “Captain Starlight” Readford
Longreach School of Distance Education
Australian Stockmans Hall Of Fame
School of the Air
Nogo Station Experience – Outback Pioneers
Australian Age of Dinosaurs
Waltzing Matilda Centre
North Gregory Hotel
Rangelands Outback Camp
Winton’s Heritage Truck and Machinery Museum
Outback Queensland’s Bucket List destination – Cobbold Gorge
Hi Chris, I have been an avid listener for many years, and I love your show. I was a little disturbed however, that the guy talking about Grenada was encouraging people to actively interact with the mona monkeys. They are wild animals, and I feel that they should remain as such, no matter how friendly they might be. I hope you feel the same way, and having listened to you over the years I think you probably do as well. Anyway, just putting in my two cents. Thank you so much for everything you’re doing for the travel community. You kept us all very happy during the very hard Covid years 🙂 keep traveling!
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