#6 Welcome to The OUTBACK
Queensland’s Outback, the less known side of the Sunshine State
In video, it's sounds like this:
is not just about the wonderful Great Barrier Reef, beautiful sandy beaches or stunning islands, Queensland is also the land of miles of plain grassland, flat-topped plateaus or red sand dunes, a country where the sunrises and sunsets take your breath away.
This country, called the Outback, is the land of stockmen, huge cattle stations and rodeo. This land is also famous for a few museums and its history.
1. Wanna go explore it with me? First, let's fly to Longreach!
Longreach is the getaway to the Outback. Plenty activities to do there and you can easily spend 5 days in and around the town. As I had a tight schedule, I couldn’t do it all.
My pick was the Qantas Founders Museum (right next door the airport) and the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame just across the road. Both museums are definitely worth a visit!
Qantas Founders Museum
No matter you like or you don’t like planes, you will find what you are looking for in there.
The site is huge, so if you are a passionate of airlines, allow it at least a whole day. If not, half day will be alright even if too short! You can board on different guided tours and learn how a Boing 747 actually works, have your pic taken in the engine or in the cockpit and listen to the stories. Two planes are on display, the 747 called “the Jumbo” and one 707 which belonged to the Prince of Saudi Arabia for a while, was used by various airlines and was also rented by Michael Jackson a few times!
The passionate guide could speak for hours about the history of these planes and it’s so great to listen to him. You get to know about the operating devices of these big birds, interesting fact about the way it goes on a plane and so much more. Did you know that on a long haul flight, they are more than one pilot working? And that the pilots presents will never eat the same meal, just in case of poisoning?
In the main room of the museum, simulators give you an idea of what driving a plane looks like! I really like the touchscreens which play the Qantas’advertising since the 1960’s, some of them featuring a koala bear!
Really cool and impressive at the same time!
Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame
Cross the road and you enter a totally different world, welcome to the Outback Museum.! A tribute to the early explorer, stockmen and drovers to the Outback. More than a museum, their 1-hour- stockwork show is humoristic and rocks at the same time!
Visiting this interesting place will provide you with a spectacular outback experience, not to be missed!
You will leave the Museum being a expert of European explorers expeditions, the stock workers, pastoralists, and Aborigines: very complete and interactive.
2. Let's go to "Dinosaurs' Country"
Two-hour drive from Longreach stands the little town of Winton, which I like calling “Dino country”!
Here all is about the Monsters of the Outback, they are the stars and even the rubbish bins have the shape of a Dino’s foot!
Whoever you are a dino freak or not, you will find this place interesting.
Australian Age of Dinausaurs
Lark Quarry Conservation Park
First stop, Australian Age of Dinosaurs with its Laboratory and its “museum” dedicated to the dinos discovered in the site.
About 100 million years ago, the vast plains of western Queensland looked very different. Indeed instead of grassland, this was an inland sea bordered by lush rainforests! A green and vast place which was inhabited by some Monsters, the Dinosaurs!!!
Back to 1999, Dave Elliott found bones in his property, but not cattle’s bones…it appeared to be the bones of a Sauropode, a giant dinosaur, which was named later on like his founder, Elliott. When a second dinosaur was identified, a museum was built: Australian Age of Dinosaurs.
Today, it’s the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils and you can visit the most productive fossil preparation laboratory. Here, passionate paleontologists, staff and volunteers work on real, 95 million-year-old dinosaur bone fossils found in the area.
You can personally get involved thanks to 2 active programs:
Prep-A-Dino: Allows people to participate in the Laboratory for one day or more. What I did, which is pretty cool, I removed rock from the fossils, using pneumatic scribes. I help to reconstitute Wade’s skeleton.
Dig-A-Dino: Would have loved to do that but was way too hot out there, this program is reserved for the cooler months of the year. Then, you get involved on the dig site for a week!
I really enjoyed my visit, learnt a lot about dinosaurs and get the chance to “meet” Elliott, Matilda, Banjo, Wade…and all the history behind these discoveries. I was so amazed to imagine that a long time ago, this vast lush forest!!!
To complete your Dinosaur experience tour, head 110 km south west of Winton to discover Lark Quarry Conservation Park, the world’s only recorded evidence of a dinosaur stampede!
A solar-powered shelter protects today hundreds of dinosaur footprints. Discovered in the early 1960’s, the first footprints were excavated in 1971.
This site is unique, the visit was incredible: dinosaurs are almost back to life!
Read more about
who I met and which national parks I explored in the outback :
When to Visit ?
Winter time (April to September) is THE best season to visit the Outback. Temperatures average 30°C.
Summer daytime temperatures can climb to over 40°C, and high rainfall often causes flooding
Normal cars to travel to and around Longreach but many areas and access to national parks are suitable only for 4WD. Many outback roads are unsealed and impassable after even a small amout of rain. Avoid night driving (kangaroos are jumping across the road)
To check road conditions, go to:
Mobile phone coverage is generally not avalable except towns with Telstra (Longreach, Winton...)
It’s essential to travel with other communication equipment such as a satellite phone if you go on your own.
How to Visit ?
You can explore the Outback by booking a tour with a touristic agent. There are many to offer excursions in the region.
Longreach is a very touristy area.
You can also organise your own road trip.
You can fly to Longreach from Brisbane (with Qantas link) but not really cheap...
Gear and supplies
Travel with adequate water, food and emergency supplies. If you visit national parks, take extra fuel and much more water
Longreach is full of motels and camping is allowed in some national parks of the area.
In your luggage
Large hat, sunglasses, sunblock, insect protection, hiking shoes…
Be aware: nights can be cold!