Overlanders Way (from Townsville)
The Overlanders Way is a self-drive itinerary with a history, having served as an important line during World War II stretching 1550km from the ocean to the Outback.
Townsville to Charters Towers (136km / 1hr 40m)
Starting your road trip at the Easternmost point of the Overlanders Way, surrounded by coral sea, tropics, and the outback. Once you’ve had your fill of soaking up the beachside sun, hit the road for a couple of hours to arrive in Charters Towers. Formed during the gold rush boom of the 1800s, Charters Towers rich history and heritage has so much to offer anyone passing through. Why not check out the Ghosts of Gold Tours to experience the town’s tales of crime, murder and mystery, or the Texas Longhorn Tours where the Aussie Bush meets the Old West.
Charters Towers to Hughenden (248km / 2hr 40m)
Heading further west on day two you’ll begin to enter Australia’s dinosaur country and the location of “Australia’s mini Grand-Canyon"! Situated on the edge of the vast prehistoric inland sea once home to terrestrial dinosaurs and marine reptiles, Hughenden is still home to “Hughie” - a life-size skeletal replica of a 7-metre Muttaburrasaurus cast from the original bones of a 110 million-year-old dinosaur at Flinders Discovery Centre. Make sure to go and see the Porcupine Gorge, featuring the iconic rock formation “The Pyramid”.
Hughenden to Richmond (115km / 1h 15m)
Once you’ve got your first taste of Australia’s dinosaurs it’s time to head to Richmond, the “Fossil capital of Australia”. Head straight to the marine fossil museum where you can see ‘Penny’ the Richmond plesiosaur, ‘Krono’ Kronosaurus queenslandicus, and Australia’s largest fossilised fish ‘Wanda’. You can even try your own hand at fossicking at the Richmond’s Fossil Hunting Sites, followed by a dip in the waters of Lake Fred Tritton.
Richmond to Julia Creek (149km / 1h 40m)
From Richmond it’s just a short drive on to Julia Creek, home of the Artesian Baths and (in our opinion) most importantly the Dirt ‘n’ Dust Festival! Nestled in the heart of outback Downs Country, visit the Artesian Baths for the ultimate relaxation therapy before the energy explodes for the start of the three day Dirt ‘n’ Dust Festival from the 22nd - 24th April!
Matilda Way (from Brisbane)
A road trip along the Matilda Way, stretching from the New South Wales border to Karumba in the Gulf of Carpentaria, is an unforgettable scenic way to experience rural Queensland. Heading west from Brisbane via Roma will join the Matilda Way in Charleville for a 7-day trip out to Julia Creek.
Brisbane to Toowoomba (127km / 1hr 30m)
Setting off from Brisbane, head west along the A2 to reach the garden city of Toowoomba overlooking the Lockyer Valley. Home to the September ‘Carnival of Flowers’, through the autumn months you can enjoy the tings of red and gold dusting the 150 plus parks and gardens. Visit the Cobb & Co Museum’s collection of horse-drawn vehicles and history of the city with a colonial history dating back to the 1840s.
Toowoomba to Roma (351km / 4hr)
Only 350km North-West of Toowoomba is the home of the southern hemisphere’s largest sale yards where up to 12,000 head of cattle can be sold in a single day. Get a feel for the outback by perching on a fence or taking a coveted position on the viewing platform to watch the action at Roma Saleyards. To experience the history of the town visit the Mount Abundance Homestead, the region’s first settlement site built in 1860, and take a walk along the heritage-listed Heroes’ Avenue. Planted with more than 100 bottle trees, each tree is a memorial to a local soldier who lost their life in WW1.
Roma to Charleville (267km / 2hr 50m)
Continue west from Roma to reach Charleville, the largest town in Queensland’s south west. Meander along the Charleville Heritage Trail to see some impressive examples of pioneer architecture and learn the town’s rich history. Get up close to one of Australia’s endangered mammals at the Save the Bilby Fund and learn about the plight of this delightful eco-engineer and why it’s so important to save them from extinction. Make sure to end your day in Charleville with a visit to the Cosmos Centre to experience and intimate look at the night sky. With the outback’s low residual light there’s no better place to do so.
Charleville to Blackall (302km / 3hr)
From Charleville you’ll join the Matilda Way, heading North out of Charleville towards Blackall. Stop in at Tambo on the way, the oldest town in the west best known for turning an abundance of wool in to Australia’s signature bear. Visit Tambo Teddies to create up your own bear and support an initiative started 25 years ago by the women of Tambo during a time of fierce drought.
An hour’s north of Tambo you’ll arrive in Blackall, a town rich with history. Established in the 1860s Blackall remains a centre of the QLD sheep industry. Visit the virtual living museum at Historic Blackall Woolscour, the last remaining scour in Australia, to discover all about the wool industry and shearer Jack How who put the town on the map in 1892 setting a world record for shearing 321 sheep in seven hours and 40 minutes.
Blackall to Longreach (214km / 2hr 15m)
On the way to Longreach take a quick stop in Barcaldine to visit the “Garden City of The West”, the birthplace of Australia’ labour movement and resting place for an impressive ghost gum that grew outside the railway station for 186 years. From here continue to the heart of Outback Queensland and plethora of activities to keep you busy in Longreach. Delve into the rich history of our country at the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, gallop along the old mail route with the Cobb & Co Stagecoach Experience, or visit the Qantas Founders Museum commemorating the national airline born in the region.
Longreach to Winton (179km / 1hr 50m)
If you’ve been wondering how the Matilda Way received its name, your next stop in Winton will answer your questions. Once you arrive head to the Waltzing Matilda Centre to learn about the town’s historic past and connection to Banjo Patterson and Australia’s unofficial anthem Waltzing Matilda. Explore Australia’s connection to Dinosaurs and the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils at Australian Age of Dinosaurs and visit Queensland’s oldest opal fields.
Winton to Julia Creek (273km / 3h)
Continue to explore the legend of Waltzing Matilda today with a detour via Combo Waterhole National Park to sit under a coolibah tree by the billabong that inspired the song. Veer off the Matila Way and head towards Julia Creek, the final stop on your road trip to Dirt ‘n’ Dust festival!