DAY 1: BRISBANE TO ROMA (APPROX 504KM / 5 HR 20 MIN)
Travel north-west from Brisbane along the Warrego Highway to Queensland’s Garden City, Toowoomba. Stop for morning tea at Picnic Point, best known for its expansive views across the Great Dividing Range. Continue along the Adventure Way to Chinchilla, home of the Chinchilla Melon Festival and Miles, a vibrant rural township. Arrive in Roma, the heart of beef country late afternoon with time to check-in and refresh at your accommodation. Tonight, celebrate the triumphs of our pioneering oil and gas industry. Join our ‘Roma Rigger’ guide at the base of the towering (EMSCO) 1920s steam-driven rig. Listen to captivating stories and toast the sunset with a delicious regional Port. Then take your seats for the enthralling Sound and Light Show. Stay 2 nights in Roma. (accommodation suggestion – Roma Explorers Inn)
DAY 2: ROMA
Feel the energy and excitement of a real cattle auction* at Australia’s biggest cattle selling facility, Roma Saleyards. This is where it all happens. On any given day up to 7,000 head of cattle are brought for sale. Join a retired grazier for an insiders view of the saleyards and entry to the new multi-media Interpretive Centre. Share a few hours with a local guide from Boobook Ecotours for an insight into the colourful history and characters of Roma. Hear how the town began and the industries it supports; discover Heroes Avenue, the Biggest Bottle Tree and the Roma Bush Gardens. Experience authentic country hospitality this afternoon at Mount Hope, a 34,000 acre working cattle station. A family host will board your coach at the station entrance for a guided tour of this Droughtmaster cattle property. Enjoy sunset nibbles and drinks followed by a delicious two-course camp oven dinner under the stars.
DAY 3: ROMA TO CHARLEVILLE (APPROX 267KM / 2 HR 52 MIN)
Travel further west towards Charleville arriving mid morning. Head into downtown Charleville and the famous Hotel Corones – built in stages, the hotel was completed in 1929 during Charleville’s wool industry boom. Join a guided one-hour tour with exclusive access to normally restricted areas of the hotel and hear the rags to riches story of local character Harry Corones, followed by lunch in the hotel dining room. Visit the Historic House Museum and discover treasured items dating back to the 1800s then learn the rich history of the Royal Flying Doctor Service at the RFDS Charleville Visitor Centre. Early evening, visit the Cosmos Centre for the Big Sky Twilight Tour. See an amazing night sky brought into focus with the help of powerful Meade telescopes and listen to captivating stories from their experienced sky guide. Stay 2 nights in Charleville (accommodation suggestion – Mulga Country Inn or The Rocks)
DAY 4: CHARLEVILLE
Tour one of the largest classrooms in the world at Charleville School of Distance Education. View the facilities and watch a class delivered in real time between one of the dedicated teaches and ‘on-air-students.’ An experienced guide will board your coach at the Cosmos Centre for a tour of the USAAF Top Secret sites. Find out why Charleville was selected for this top secret site in WWII. Visit intriguing historical sites and learn about the highly classified computerised bomb aimer. Visit the Bilby Experience and hear first-hand what the Save the Bilby Fund is doing to protect this environmental engineering marvel. Tour the nocturnal house where you will meet these beautiful bilbies.
DAY 5: CHARLEVILLE TO QUILPIE (APPROX 211KM / 2HR 50 MIN)
Today you’ll visit one of the smallest towns in Australia to retain its own postcode. Cooladdi, taking its name from an Aboriginal term for ‘black duck’, was once home to 270 residents. On arrival in Quilpie make your first stop the Visitor Information Centre, Museum and Gallery where their local guide will board our coach for a town tour. Discover the history and unique landscapes of Quilpie town, Baldy Top Lookout, St Finbarrs’ Opal Altar and Quilpie Airport mini museum. The tour includes lunch at the Quilpie Heritage Inn (aka The Brick) which has been carefully restored to its original splendour. This afternoon, join celebrated artist Lyn Barnes at her boutique art gallery for sunset, wine and cheese. View her latest work and discover her unique creative connection to the Outback. Tonight enjoy dinner under the stars at The Lake. Overnight Quilpie (accommodation suggestion – Quilpie Motor Inn)
DAY 6: QUILPIE TO EROMANGA (APPROX 106KM / 1HR 16MIN)
This morning, we’ll take a drive out to Moble Homestead, home of the Rutledge family, proud wool producers and keen environmentalists. Join them on a tour of their property which has remained in the family for five generations. Return to the homestead for a tour of the beautiful country gardens. Enjoy a delicious two-course lunch in this delightful garden setting overlooking their tranquil waterhole. Continue your drive (around 1.5 hours) to Eromanga Natural History Museum. Join their experienced guide on a one hour tour of the workshop laboratory and collection centre. You’ll meet titanosaur sauropods Cooper and George, the largest dinosaurs to have ever been found in Australia. Their guides will demonstrate how to prepare fossilised bone and you’ll see the incredible Eulo megafauna fossils. Tonight enjoy a themed dinner at the Eromanga Natural History Museum. Overnight Eromanga (accommodation suggestion – Cooper’s Country Lodge + Eromanga Motel)
DAY 7: EROMANGA TO THARGOMINDAH (APPROX 280KM / 3HR 6MIN)
Drive around two hours along the Cooper Developmental Road as it skirts the edge of Queensland’s Southern Outback, then take the turnoff for the historic Noccundra Hotel for morning tea. Look closely at the sandstone walls of this 1882 construction. The sandstone was quarried in New South Wales and transported by Camel Train to its present location. You have to ponder the logistics of this! From the hotel it’s then about 1.5 hours to Thargomindah on the banks of the Bulloo River. It was the first town in Australia, and third in the world to produce hydro-electric power for street lighting. A ‘smart cookie’ came up with the idea to use the water pressure from the Artesian Basin. Join a local guide for a tour and demonstration of the Artesian Hydro Power Plant then step out on the viewing deck for a spectacular outback sunset (with nibbles & drinks). Continue the outdoor experience with a Slow Cook and Damper Dinner under the stars in the grounds of the Explorers Caravan Park. Overnight Thargomindah (accommodation suggestion – Explorers Caravan Park cabins + Oasis Motel)
DAY 8: THARGOMINDAH TO CUNNAMULLA (APPROX 197KM / 2HR 4MIN)
This morning, a local guide will board your coach at the Thargomindah Visitor Information Centre for a town tour with great local stories and insights. Relive moments of yesteryear at the Old Jail and Old Thargomindah Hospital courtesy of life-size holographics and interactive experiences. Head east along the Adventure Way to Eulo often described as the ‘Montville of the Outback.’ Relax with a hearty pub lunch in the famous Eulo Queen Hotel before sampling the town shop. See opals and art at the Telegraph House Gallery, pick up handcrafted leather goods or purchase some locally made honey. While in town you can visit the Artesian Mud Springs; built up over centuries these mud springs were the original release valves for the Great Artesian Basin. Take a selfie with Kenny the life-size Diprotodon (giant Megafauna) found in the Eulo Area. Travel around 45 minutes on to Cunnamulla and the Cunnamulla Fella Visitor Information Centre. Join a self-guided tour of the Artesian Time Tunnel, meet ‘Doug the Rigger’, view engaging audio visual displays and find out how the Great Artesian Basin was formed. While in the centre spend some time wandering the history museum and art gallery. Late afternoon follow the short River Walk to a viewing area over the river where you can see local birdlife and grazing kangaroos. Be sure to time your arrival at the viewing platform to watch the sunset. A perfect spot for sunset nibbles! (purchase drinks and nibbles platters in town – ask for suggestions at the Visitor Information Centre). Overnight Cunnamulla (accommodation suggestion Warrego Hotel-Motel)
DAY 9: CUNNAMULLA TO ST GEORGE (APPROX. 293KM / 3HR 14MIN)
A fourth generation local from Out The Back Australia will board your coach for a one-hour guided tour of Cunnamulla. See the huge natural sand dunes and learn how they came to be. Gain an insight into the region’s first inhabitants, early pioneers and quirky characters. Continue east along the Balonne Highway for around 42km to the turnoff for Charlotte Plains. This family owned and operated sheep station was established back in the 1860s. Property owner Robyn Russell will board your coach for a guided tour of the station, home to Merino Sheep and Dohne Rams as well as the more recent Aussie White Sheep. See the historic bore, sunk into the Great Artesian Basin to a depth of 561m, tour their historic woolshed and enjoy a relaxed lunch on the old homestead verandah. Arrive into St George early afternoon with time to refresh before joining a leisurely two hour sunset cruise on the Balonne River with Sandytown River Cruises. Your experienced guide will entertain you with interesting stories about the river and native birdlife. Stay 2 nights in St George (accommodation suggestion Riverland Motor Inn)
DAY 10: ST GEORGE
This morning we’ll visit the Unique Egg where artist Steve Margaritis has been hand carving emu eggs for more than 60 years. His work is truly unique! Join a local guide for a heritage tour of St George including a visit to Anchorage Homestead (with morning tea) to discover the history of one of the oldest homes in the shire – The Anchorage is a heritage-listed homestead built in 1903. Meet the makers at Riversands Wines on a tour of the vineyard followed by a personal wine tasting and three course winery lunch. This afternoon we’ll be joined by a local cotton farmer on a tour of a fully operational cotton farm to learn how cotton is grown, irrigated and harvested. Tonight enjoy a traditional pub meal at the Cobb & Co Hotel, first licensed in 1886.
DAY 11: ST GEORGE TO BRISBANE (APPROX 551KM / 5HR 59MIN)
Travel south east along the Carnarvon Highway to Nindigully and call into the famous Nindigully Pub, the longest continually licensed pub in Queensland for morning tea. Continue east along the Barwon Highway to Goondiwindi then take the Gore Highway to Toowoomba. From there you’ll re-join the Warrego Highway back to Brisbane.