Here are some suggested tour routes you might like to take on your holiday in Queensland’s Southern Outback.
Natural Sciences Loop
The Natural Sciences Loop takes you through Charleville, Quilpie, Eromanga, Thargomindah, Eulo, Yowah, Cunnamulla, and Wyandra.
Cosmos Centre Charleville
All year round Cosmos guides share their knowledge and wonder of the night sky. With the use of powerful telescopes, you travel thousands of light years into space. Your guides build on your knowledge of the formation of the stars and galaxies; reveal the beauty and meaning of coloured stars and the fascination of the planets and our moon. Real stars, real telescopes.
During the day join the Cosmos guides to hold a shooting star in your hand and discover what happened to Pluto. Protected by an incredible filter, visitors can gaze at the surface of the Sun through a telescope with a Cosmos guide.
To learn more visit the Cosmos Centre website.
Bilby Show Charleville
Charleville in Southwest Queensland on the Natural Sciences Loop is home to a captive breeding programme to ensure the survival of the Bilby species. At the show, learn about the habits and habitat of the bilby.
To learn more visit the website.
Opal Altar Quilpie
Home to one of Quilpie's most iconic attractions, St Finbarr's Church rests on the foundations of an intriguing history.
Baldy Top Lookout Quilpie
Located approximately 7.4 kilometers from Quilpie on the Toompine road are two lookout points which are part of the Grey Range. Exploring Baldy Top, formed naturally over millions of years, is to adventure into ancient caves and crevices, untouched by civilisation. Nearby Table Top, aptly named due to its flat summit, is an ideal spot to picnic while enjoying brilliant 360 degrees panoramic viewing. The outstanding rock faces of Table Top provide fantastic photo opportunities. A climb to the summit of Baldy Top or Table Top takes an easy ten minutes. Once atop, you will be amazed by breathtaking landscapes that stretch as far as your imagination.
Quilpie Opal Fossicking Area
While in Quilpie Spend some time looking for a beautiful boulder opal gem at the free Opal Fossicking area situated just two kilometres from town. The council provided attraction can be best described as Opal Mining - the easy way. Alternatively travel to the century old opal mines of Duck Creek and Sheep Station which are situated near the iconic Toompine Hotel. It was Duck Creek where the first ever registered opal lease in Australia was granted in 1871. These mines are designated fossicking areas and a Fossicking Licence is required.
The Eromanga Natural History Museum
The Eromanga Natural History Museum opened in March 2016. It has been 95 million years in the making. The Museum’s internationally significant fossil discoveries include Australia’s largest dinosaur - a new genus and species that is a massive 30 metres long and 6.5 metres high – unique to others found in Australia and the world. You can also see the fossils of megafauna – giant marsupials like the massive Diprotodons that carried 70kg joeys in their pouches. They roamed Australia with the Aboriginal peoples. A visit to the Eromanga Natural History Museum is an interactive experience where you learn to recognise dinosaur fossils from paddock to laboratory. Hands-on experiences include removing the rock using specialised tools to expose the fossilised bone and talking to locals who dig up the bones and prepare them for display.
To learn more visit the Eromanga Natural History Museum website.
The Living History Centre – Eromanga
At the Eromanga Living History Centre which incorporates a Museum and Object Theatre, browse through hundreds of historic photos and stories of the surrounding area, on computer. View a self-operated film in the theatre room. Some of the many topics covered are the oil exploration, early pastoral pioneers, opal mining and information regarding the discovery of Dinosaur bones near Eromanga. The centre also has a photo display that automatically shows pictures from the 1860s to present day. The Living History Centre is next to a public park, covered picnic tables and chairs, playground equipment and BBQ facilities. Gracing the entrance to the park is a stunning monument inlaid with opal in memory to the Opal days of Eromanga.
The Dig Tree – four hours west of Eromanga
In August 1880, the Victorian Government sponsored an expedition to make the first south-north crossing of the continent to the Gulf of Carpentaria. Robert O'Hara Burke and WIlliam John Wills led the ill-fated trip from Melbourne, reaching Cooper Creek by December. Burke and Wills started north with Grey and King, while four men remained. Only hours before Burke and Wills' return, the Stockade Depot Camp party left, after carving instructions into the trunk of a tree to dig for buried provisions. In September, a search party found only King alive. The blazes on the Dig Tree are a memorial to Burke and Wills' expedition.
Pelican Point Thargomindah
Pelican Point is a focal point on Thargomindah's River Walk. It is a favourite spot for locals and visitors to walk, swim, canoe, picnic and fish.
Thargomindah Hydro Power Plant
Thargomidah was the first town in Australia and the third in the world after London and Paris to produce hydro-electric power for street lighting through the harnessing of bore water from the Great Artesian Basin
Lake Bindegolly Thargomindah
Lake Bindegolly National Park centres around one of the most important wetland systems in South West Queensland. The lake system supports a diverse range of flora and fauna, and is home to more than 195 species of birds including parrots, galahs, cockatoos, honeyeaters, fairy wrens, swans, wedge tailed eagles and whistling kites; 80 other kinds of animals, and 300 species of plants. The park features three lakes - the saline lakes Bindegolly and Toomaroo, and the freshwater Lake Hutchinson. A 9.2 km circuit walk skirts the edge of Lake Bindegolly. An observation point is located at the edge of the lake, and camping is permitted on the southern side of the road reserve.
Eulo Mud Baths
Palm Grove Date Farm offers a relaxing Artesian Mud Bath experience. Soak in warm artesian water impregnated with artesian Mud, then pat on a milky grey mud pack to let your skin soak in the goodness from this mineral-rich product that is used by beauticians all over the world. Artesian mud mixed with minerals from shales deep below the earth's surface, rises to the surface near Eulo. The natural phenomenon is known as Mud Springs and they are release valves for the Great Artesian Basin. To learn more visit the website.
Opal is the Australian National Gem and the township of Yowah, on the Natural Sciences Loop in Southwest Queensland is a "living Gallery" with 90% of the population being small scale miners.
The Artesian Time Tunnel Cunnamulla
Step into the Artesian Time Tunnel and be transported back in time, 100 million years and hear the story of the Great Artesian Basin (the life and blood of the outback). Learn how the underground river flows beneath 1/5 of inland Australia and helps to water this great country. The water from the aquifer is almost 2 million years old by the time we use it - if only it could tell tales of time past. Our landscape has been transformed and moulded by water and is obvious in the Paroo Shire with the Warrego & Paroo Rivers and the natural wonders of the mud springs and opals.
The 6 hectare site is positioned on the eastern outskirts of Cunnamulla and the looped walking track meanders along a flowing waterway and terminates at the wetlands. It takes you on a journey through six regional ecosystems within the shire; Mulga Lands, Sandhills, Gidgee Stands, Mitchell Grass Plains, Wetlands, Brigalow Country.
Each zone features plants and soils typical to the region and you are able to sense the space and freedom as you explore the natural attraction of the Shires varied land types. Maps can be collected from the Cunnamulla Fella Information Centre.
Hell Hole Gorge
Hell Hole Gorge is part of the Powell plateau which forms part of the Grey Range. The deeply incised Powell Creek with steep, dissected escarpments and vertical cliffs up to 45m high, drains through the centre of the area along with the smaller Spencers and Gorge Creek.
Hell Hole Gorge National Park is scenically attractive and provides opportunities for camping and related activities such as 4WDing, hiking, bird watching, swimming and photography. The rugged gullies associated with Powell Creek invite exploratory walks looking for unusual plants or glimpses of the diverse animal life. There are no formal walking trails.
Access roads within the park follow old seismic lines and boundary fences. Powell Creek crossing to camp ground area is guided by indicators fixed to rock surfaces, following these markers will guide you safely across.
WARNING: Take care and keep away from cliff edges – they can be deceptive and are often closer than you think. Sandstone may crumble unexpectedly. Please supervise children at all times and take care when using binoculars or cameras at these sites.
To find out more, click this link to download the free information guide.