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Brisbane to Birdsville

What a Destination

In this case, it’s not about the destination, it’s all about the journey –the towns and scenery throughout this trip offer a wide variety of picturesque sights, museums, historical buildings and graves as well as a bit adventure.  The trip is roughly 1600 km and is accessible by 2WD, however if you want to venture away from the main roads anywhere – a 4WD vehicle would be necessary – in fact most people who do take this journey travel in a 4WD.

There are a few different routes you can take but we've chosen this:

  • Brisbane
  • Goondiwindi
  • St George
  • Cunnamulla
  • Thargomindah
  • Innamincka
  • Birdsville

If you’re going to take your trip nice and leisurely, you can stop on your way from Brisbane out through Warwick before Goondiwindi.  There is a great camping area at Lake Coolmunda – the caravan park has a pool and tennis courts while canoeing, sailing waterskiing, fishing and swimming are all available on the dam. 


Goondiwindi

Is a typical large country town in the wheat and cotton belt situated on the MacIntyre River right next to the NSW border. Have a beer in one of the great old pubs, visit the Gunsynd Museum and see the statue of this famous Australian horse or learn more about the local history in Customs House Museum.

The Goondiwindi Tourist Park – has local animals you can feed and a nice pool or the BIG 4 Goondiwini Holiday Park also has a great pool, on 13 acres and is a little more tropical.  If you prefer staying out of town, head out to Rainbow Reserve camping area which is about 20km down stream past Boggabilla and situated right on the river where fishing and crabbing are allowed. http://www.exploreaustralia.net.au/Queensland/Darling-Downs/Goondiwindi/Rainbow-Reserve-camping-area-bush-camping

The Bengalla Reserve is a little further on and even prettier than Rainbow Reserve - see http://www.exploreaustralia.net.au/Queensland/Darling-Downs/Goondiwindi/Bengalla-Reserve-camping-area-bush-camping

Alternatively continue your travels and stop at the Boonanga Reserve which is half way between Goondiwindi and St George on the Barwon river http://www.exploreaustralia.net.au/Queensland/Darling-Downs/South-Talwood/Boonanga-Reserve-rest-area

St George

Another typical country town with friendly people and a mixture of new and old buildings.  Visit the Heritage Centre which has a collection of historical material relating to the towns history, including a working blacksmith, operational printing press, local Aboriginal artefacts, an extensive harness collection and the old jail and courthouse which have been relocated from within the town.

There are two caravan parks in town and lots of bush camping along the river as you head further out west – the information centre has an up to date list of where you can and can’t park your motorhome.

You’re also in for a treat if you like to do a little wine tasting – there are a number of wineries that offer cellar door and tasting, with little cafes where you can sit a while and enjoy – our favourite was Riversands Wines.

Cunamulla

Means Long Stretch of Water and being one of the larger outback towns it has many festivals – see http://www.paroo.info/Home.aspx for a list.  One of the bigger events is a cultural festival on the 7th an d 8th of November 2014 celebrating the regions pastoral heritage including horses and bull riding called the Cunnamulla Fella.

Situated between Cunnamulla and Thargomindah is Lake Toomaroo and Lake Bindegolly National Park, some of the most important wetlands in the channel area.  You are currently not allowed to drive or camp around the National Park, but you are permitted to camp along the stock route on the southern edge of the park (between the powerline north of the main road and the boundry fence to its south) and walk to the wetlands for bird watching.

Or if you turn South at Eulo before you arrive at Lake Bindegolly – you can visit Currawinya National Park - There are two main camping areas at Currawinya.  Both are situated along the billabongs on the river. About 30 to 40 mins drive between each. The northern one is possibly more scenic, and offers a couple more sites. If fires are permitted - collect wood at the river crossing just north of Hungerford (which is right on the NSW border) and the national parks web site has all the maps and info you need to find the camping areas.

Thargomindah

Is relatively close to Cameron’s Corner (the point where three Australian states meet)  and was the third town in the world to produce hydroelectric power, due to the revelation of a hot water spring (bore) in 1893. It’s 45 km to the famous Burke and Wills Tree – located on the Northern banks of Coopers Creek, the ‘Dig Tree’ where Burke and Wills were left instructions carved into the tree to ‘dig’ for provisions that had been left by other travellers.   There is also an image of Burke’s face carved into another tree 30m down-steam and is still visible today. (There is an entry fee of $11 per vehicle), but you can camp anywhere within the fenced area and fishing is also allowed.

Innamincka

Is actually in the North Western part of SA – just over the border from Qld and is in the heart of Channel Country - the waters that run from North to South into massive Lake Eyre when the wet season ensures the rivers flow.  It has a rather unusual 'town common' where you can park your motorhome and no desert pass is required. To camp at other places around Innamincka you need a South Australian desert parks pass.  Learn more about Burke and Will as well as stroll through the Australian Inland Mission building to discover the history.  Pop into the legendary Innamincka Hotel for a good Aussie yarn.  The Innamincka Races are on 30th August, so a great time to be in town. 

Cullyamurra Waterhole is not far out of Innamincka and is quite popular for camping a bit of solitude and amazing sunsets, canoeing, fishing and bird life.  It is one of the grandest waterholes with spectacular red gums and while it requires a permit – it is well worth stopping for.

Coongie Lakes allows lake-front camping and is just up from Innamincka.  Although you do require a Desert Parks Permit to camp here as well.  Check out the amazing view and listen to the wildlife here: http://www.georama.com.au/coongielakes (click on the extra views to see different times of day). 

It is a wonderful remote area with canoeing, photography, bird watching and nature walks.  You will also need your own water and gas stove.  No pets, fires, fishing or generators are allowed.

Birdsville

Famous for the Birdsville Races (5th,  6th  and 7th  September 2014) and the beginning or the end of the Birdsville Track an old stock route that was a toll collection point.  Birdsville is one of Australia’s most outback towns situated just inside the QLD border, but closer in kilometres to Adelaide than Brisbane. On the edge of the Simpson Desert home of Big Red, the highest sand dune at 30 metres tall. Travel out to Big Red to watch sunset over the Simpson Desert, and feel the remoteness, silence and peacefulness while taking in the wonderful views.  You can take the big red sunset tour from the Birdsville caravan park to soak up your own experience.

Birdsville is also famous for it’s authentic outback pub, ensure you stop in for a cold quiet, or not so quiet beer. Visit the Waddi Trees which are just outside Birdsville – they are a rare and ancient species from the days of the dinosaurs.  They take more than 100 years to reach 10 metres.  Park you rmotorhome on the banks of the Birdsville Billabong inside the caravan park and it’s within walking distance to everything.