The Everything Fleet team undertook another iconic road trip (3951 km) in August to provide vehicles to one of our corporate clients.
When you think ‘the outback’, you think of red dirt, long roads and flat land as far as the eye can see. In Outback QLD, you’re treated to all of those iconic sights: but also, dreamy sundown sessions, billabongs that feel like apparitions and the friendliest locals you’ll ever meet.
Here is a brief rundown of the highlights of our Team’s epic trip.
Barcaldine, or Barcy as the locals like to call it, is an outback town with an interesting history. In 1891 wool production was one of the country’s largest industries bringing wealth and prestige to Australia. While the fortunes of the landowning squatters increased, the poor working conditions of the sheep shearers caused tensions which led to the 1891 shearers’ strike. This strike was one of Australia’s earliest and most important industrial disputes and ultimately lead to the formation of the Australian Labor Party and essentially changed the course of the nation’s working history.
You don’t have to be politically minded to enjoy a visit to Barcaldine. Today, it is a sleepy town well worth a stop for those on route to Longreach. Of particular interest is the Tree of Knowledge, the range of museums, the Bougainvilleas Heritage Trail showcasing fabulous old buildings and heritage-listed sites.
If you were looking for the centre of Queensland, draw a line and your pen would find Longreach on the map pretty quickly. Home of early Australian history of stockmen and outback pioneers and the birthplace of Australia’s most famous airline, Qantas – Longreach offers an endless array of iconic attractions.
Dubbed the ‘Hollywood of the outback’, Winton is a popular film location, the Dinosaur Capital of Australia and the very home of Banjo Patterson’s Waltzing Matilda. ‘Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong’… You’ll be forgiven for relentlessly whistling this famous tune while you’re in Winton. Reputedly inspired by an 1894 shearer’s suicide at the nearby Combo Waterhole and first performed in Winton’s North Gregory Hotel in 1895, you can learn all about the adopted national anthem at the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton.
The 363km drive between Boulia and Winton covers some of the most spectacular land in our country. The 73-year-old publican who sits behind the bar at the Middleton Hotel (the halfway point between the two towns) is a larger-than-life outback character with a stubbie in one hand and a worn Akubra on his head.
Boulia is the gateway to the Diamantina National Park, home to the black-faced cuckoo and brolgas and cattle stations larger than whole countries, mustered by helicopters. Boulia sits on the Burke River, named for the explorers Burke and Wills who brought Australia’s first camels here on their fabled 1860 expedition.
In outback terms, Birdsville is as remote as they come sitting on the edge of the Simpson Desert near corner country where the borders of QLD, SA and the NT all meet.
The Birdsville Races is an Australian outback bucket list item of mythical proportions, with around 7000 pilgrims covering thousands of kilometres to swarm on the remote town each September.
Step inside the Birdsville Hotel and marvel at the memorabilia. Start by counting the hats stuck to the ceiling of the public bar, each one representing someone who has done the ‘hard yards’ (representing those who have spent more than a year in the town).
Perched on the banks of the Warrego River, you’ll find Cunnamulla 780km west of Brisbane, 140km north of the NSW border and 919km from Birdsville. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you spot the Cunnamulla Fella. This larger-than-life statue is a tribute to the Aussie larrikin stockman.
The township of Cunnamulla was created by Cobb & Co in 1879, when the first coach drove through from Bourke. Today it is the only surviving south west town along the original route. This says a lot about the people of Cunnamulla – tough, resilient, down to earth folk who love their country. While wool growing and beef production are still the main industries, the new kids on the block are organic wheat, organic beef and lamb production.
St George has tree lined streets where you’ll find great coffee, gourmet delis and quality pub food. You won’t want to miss the Nindigully Pub, established in 1864, 42km northwest of St George. It is the oldest hotel in its original condition in QLD. The hotel has plenty of salacious stories (there’s even talk of a ghost or two from those who’ve stayed the night and lived to tell the tale). You must try a local Gully Gold or Moonie Mud straight off the beer tap, or if you’re game, the 5.5kg Road Train Burger with its 1.2kg Beef Burger.