6 Day Adventure Itinerary
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Townsville to Charters Towers
Distance: 134 km
Welcome to the tropical city of Townsville glowing with exceptional natural and historical attractions. This city boasts an amazing 320 days of glorious tropical sunshine a year! Enjoy a stroll along The Strand - a 2.5 km stunning beach promenade with excellent views across the Coral Sea to Magnetic Island.
Right on the doorstep of Townsville is the World Heritage listed Magnetic Island and the Great Barrier Reef. Surrounded by aquamarine waters teeming with colourful fish and corals, the island is over two-thirds national park and home to the largest colony of free roaming koalas in northern Australia!
The walking and heritage trails let you experience some wonderful views and wildlife up close while underwater there are shipwrecks and a whole new world to investigate. If you happen to be on the reef from late spring to summer, you may witness a snowstorm beneath the sea - coral spawning an incredible performance by nature.
From Townsville there are some terrific drives north and south perfect for day trips such as Wallaman Falls plunge 305 m and Lucinda's largest sugar loading facility.
Charters Towers to Hughenden
Distance: 243 km
Experience a by gone era in and around Charter Towers, once the second largest city in Queensland when gold fever flowed through the veins of everyone that strolled the streets.
There are many restored buildings gracing Charters Towers - a reflection of the wealth gold brought to this outback city. Today Charters Towers is a bustling rural centre often referred to as a 'living museum' and the first of the wonderful buildings you should visit in town is the Visitor Information and Orientation Centre - you'll get all you need to guide you around this delightful city.
At Centenary Park picnic among the sculptured works depicting the discovery of gold or in Lissner Park sit in the historic rotunda and reflect on what a buzz must have flowed through the streets after a new strike. On Towers Hill explore World War II bunkers and for those who find the past fascinating, take a visit to Pioneer's Cemetery with graves dating back to 1872.
Day trips from Charters Towers included The Great Wall of Basalt National Park, the heritage-listed town of Ravenswood and the Burdekin Dam.
Charters Towers is host to the biggest amateur cricket carnival in the Southern Hemisphere called The Goldfield Ashes played over the Australia Day weekend each January and the Charters Towers Country Music Festival - the largest amateur music quest in Australia.
Ghosts of Gold: Charters Towers
Try The Ghosts of Gold Experience, which includes the Stock Exchange,
Towers Hill, and Venus Battery. From charming miner's cottages to ornate
two storey buildings, there's plenty of turn of the century
architecture to view and an insight into the real-life experiences of
those who lived here during the gold rush to be had. .
Hughenden to Julia Creek
Distance: 257 km
Hughenden is the heart of dinosaur country; for many moons ago in prehistoric times, it sat on the shoreline of a great inland sea. Nearly 3,000 dinosaur and marine fossils have been found in the surrounding countryside and to get a true idea of the beasts that roamed these lands before the drovers and their mobs of stock, check out the life-size replica Muttaburrasaurus. This rare find, the first entire dinosaur skeleton found in Australia, catapulted the area into international fame - 'Hughie' as the skeleton was nicknamed, is on display at the Flinders Discovery Centre.
However, Hughenden is not just about big footprints and giants from the past. Natural beauties like Porcupine Gorge, nicknamed as 'Australia's little Grand Canyon' is only 63 km north and Blackbraes National Park with its unique basalt features is a around another 90 km north.
For a little more modern day history go to see the Coolabah tree at the showgrounds blazed by explorers Frederick Walker in 1861 and William Landsborough in 1862 and for the record, Breaker Morant moved to Hughenden in 1884.
At Richmond, 112 km down the Overlander's Way, you can step back in time 100 million years. Richmond was once under the ancient inland sea and the Kronasaurus Korner Fossil Centre features Australia's best vertebrate fossil exhibit including the Richmond Pliosaur considered by scores of experts to be the best vertebrate fossil ever found!
Lake Fred Tritton, right near the centre of town offers something for day and night. Put in the boat and toss in a line or maybe catch a few redclaw during the day; at night, spread out the blanket and gaze up into a wonderful outback night sky for one of the best shows on earth - stargazing.
Leaving Cloncurry you'll pass the deserted township of Mary Kathleen on your right. Discover the history of the Mary Kathleen township that dissolved with the closure of the uranium mine.
Julia Creek to Mt Isa
Distance: 249 km
Roll into Julia Creek, the first place of European settlement in north-west Queensland and once a major stopping point for the overlanders. Today the huge trucking saleyards keep the cattle from massive stations across northern Queensland moving and the town lively. You'll still hear the crack of whips, smell the dirt and sweat as modern day drovers do their job.
As you sit under the shady veranda of the old Julia Creek Hotel, say g'day as ringers pass through the doors. Pubs in the west are not just for quenching hard earned thirsts, they're where one goes to find out just what's the latest news around town. Inside the pub, the walls are covered with crosscut saws, dingo traps, saddles and lots of other gear used by the pioneers.
Another 137 km down the road is Cloncurry - more cattle, copper, and the birthplace of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. John Flynn established the first base in Cloncurry and today the John Flynn Place pays homage to this valuable service.
The locals in this part are quick to point out the first Qantas flight landed in Cloncurry. As they say in these parts, 'Qantas was conceived in Cloncurry, born in Winton and grew up in Longreach' - the original hanger is still at the aerodrome.
See the big wheels of industry turn on a tour to the Ernest Henry Mine. Or visit Mary Kathleen Park, the Information Centre and hear of its 'moving' past. You can also pick up a fossickers licence and maps.
Then, head towards Mount Isa - a multi-cultural and dynamic city in the Queensland outback.
6 Day Adventure
Suitable for: All vehicle types
Best time of year: All year round
|Townsville to Charters Towers
|Charters Towers to Hughenden
|Hughenden to Julia Creek
|Julia Creek to Mt Isa
|Mt Isa to Camooweal
|Camooweal to NT Border
Mt Isa to Camooweal
Distance: 185 km
Welcome to Mount Isa - or as the locals like to say 'The Isa'. They claim that with the city limits extending over 40,000 sq km, Mount Isa is one, if not the, largest city in the world!
Set amidst the Selwyn Ranges and on the banks of the Leichhardt River, The Isa has plenty to see and do. Visit the City Lookout for a constantly changing view across this outback oasis of the towering copper and lead smelter stacks and the the muted pastels of the evening sky.
The 'Outback at Isa' is more than just a Tourist Information Centre. It highlights the many facets, challenges and highlights of the area. Descend underground 1.2 km into the Hard Times Mine, walk through a Miocene Forest with peculiar looking creatures, see the fossil treatment laboratory and right next door discover the Kalkadoon Tribal Centre and Cultural Keeping Place. Hear dreamtime stories whilst gazing at magnificent aboriginal rock carvings and paintings, fossick for Maltese Crosses and trilobites, sit and watch the sun set over outback lakes and discover spectacular gorges - there's no shortage of attractions.
Continuing down the main street of Mount Isa, a mere 188 km, it's time to pull over and put the billy on again. For at the end of this very, very long street is the town of Camooweal.
Camooweal to NT Border
Distance: 13 km
Queensland's most westerly town, Camooweal proudly declares itself as 'The Gateway to the Northern Territory'.
Originally established as a droving post, Camooweal's connection with the overlanders runs deep and each year the annual Drovers Reunion and Festival celebrates with plenty of boots, dust and fine yarns.
Check out the Barkly Tableland Heritage Centre, Lake Francis, the large mural of a horse drawn carriage and the graves of pioneers at the Camooweal cemetery. Stock up on supplies at Freckleton's Store.
Camooweal Caves National Park, 24 km south of town is an elaborate system of caves on the edge of the Barkly Tablelands. As well as the caves there's bush camping, plenty of birdlife and some spectacular sunsets for photography enthusiasts.
From Camooweal the black bitumen of the Overlander's Way leads to the Northern Territory border a further 13 km on, from there it's onto Tennant Creek.
For more information on the 6 Day Adventure drive, visit the Queensland Holidays website.