What kind of Overlander are you?

The pioneering drovers were the original Overlanders who moved vast herds of cattle from the rugged Kimberly ranges of the Northern Territory, through to the coastal tropics of Townsville. Today, there are myriad ways you can get a taste of the overlander experience for yourself!

The Overlanders Way includes the paradise package of Magnetic Island and Townsville, through to the one-of-a-kind Outback towns of Charters Towers, Hughenden, Richmond, Julia Creek, Cloncurry and Mount Isa. The adventure-packed route is rich with discovery, premier attractions, unspoilt natural beauty and welcoming local characters.

You can drive, fly, or ‘chopper in. You can pile into a campervan, haul a caravan, hop on a train or catch a bus. Whatever your mode of operation, the adventure is here, waiting for you. All you need to do is design your journey, gather your travelling buddies, and get out there, Overlander!

The Overlanders Way "Consecutive Crossing"

Experience the Overlanders Way town-by-town.

Travel Distances

Towns Km Time Days
Townsville + Magnetic Island to Charters Towers 137 1:39 2-5
Charters Towers to Hughenden 246 2:49 1-3
Hughenden to Richmond 115 1:17 1-3
Richmond to Julia Creek 149 1:36 1-3
Julia Creek to Cloncurry 137 1:37 1-3
Cloncurry to Mt Isa 120 1:6 1-3
Mt Isa to Boodjamulla 325 3:50 2-5
Total Days – 9-25 (excluding return leg)

The Overlanders Way "Slingshot Safari"

Slingshot over every alternate town on the way through, and catch each missed locale on the rebound! This journey keeps your distances manageable, while keeping both legs of the journey action-packed.

Travel Distances

Towns Km Time Days
Townsville to Hughenden 383 4:00 2-5
Hughenden to Julia Creek 264 2:50 1-3
Julia Creek to Mount Isa 258 2:50 1-3
Mount Isa to Boodjamulla 325 3:50 2-4
Boodjamulla to Cloncurry 428 4:59 1-3
Cloncurry to Richmond 286 3:00 1-3
Richmond to Charters Towers 363 3:50 1-4
Charters Towers to Magnetic Island 140 2:00+ 2-4
Total Days – 11-29

The Overlanders Way "Rambling Run"

Explore a wide run of North West Queensland by incorporating a diversity of drives on your way through!

The Great Inland Way

The Great Inland Way, a jewel in Queensland’s crown of highways, starts in Sydney and finishes up at Cooktown in the Far North of Queensland. Join the Overlanders Way when you arrive in Charters Towers, and rejoin the Great Inland Way once you move on from Mount Isa and Boodjamulla by joining the Matilda Way, and then, Savannah Way. Stopover in Townsville and Magnetic Island for rest and recuperation on your way back down the coast.  More info…

Matilda Way

The Matilda passes through an ever-changing landscape – from undulating Mulga plains in the south to open Mitchell grass plains and desert uplands in the central west and gulf plains in the north. There are picturesque billabongs and vast inland river systems, rugged gorges and escarpments and many scenic national parks. You can join the Overlanders Way from the Burke and Wills Junction; push on for a stay at Boodjamulla, and then head south to Mount Isa to recuperate and restock. Head east from there, and enjoy stopping over in each town on your way to the coast More info…

Pacific Coast

Why not see the other side of Queensland by driving the Pacific Coast towards Overlander’s Way? Capture some of Queensland’s biggest coastal attractions– from the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef to the pristine islands and rainforest national parks.More info..

Savannah Way

The Savannah Way is Australia’s Adventure Drive, linking Cairns in Tropical North Queensland with the historic pearling town of Broome in Western Australia’s Kimberley, via the natural wonders of Australia’s tropical savannahs and the Northern Territory’s Top End. You can experience the best of both worlds by committing to the Drive North West Loop, which incorporates some of the Savannah Highway together with much of the Overlanders Way!  More info…

Drive North Queensland

Check out the Drive North Qld website to find out more information on the drives between the Overlander’s Way, Savannah Way and the Great Tropical Drive. Also download their free app from iTunes. More info…

Townsville and Magnetic Island

A Paradise Package

Before starting off on the Overlander’s Way, spend a few days in the city of Townsville. Townsville has come of age as the new “hot spot” for holidaying in the tropics! This progressive, modern and vibrant city is bustling with holiday ideas and experiences. The city has grown into a cosmopolitan hub of activity and ambience, from the magnificently restored heritage buildings, to the trendy outdoor cafés, restaurants, shops and galleries that add colour to the streetscapes. Get stranded! A visit to the Stand is essential when in Townsville. Undoubtedly one of the best inner-city beachfronts in Australia, the 2.5km of waterfront is sure to please everyone! Want to experience island life? A trip to Magnetic Island is a must. Only 8km from Townsville City Centre, visit this colourful and eclectic island retreat and relax, or join in the island’s village life. From Picnic Bay through Horseshoe Bay, the experience is friendly and delightfully tropical!

Charters Towers

Discover “Ghosts of Gold”

Inland 130km lies Charters Towers, the site of a massive gold rush in the late 19th century which resulted in the area becoming known as “The World”. This historic town boasts beautifully preserved architecture and a large number of parks and gardens. The Charters Towers “ghosts of gold” Heritage Trail brings to life this historic gold rush era. Start at the Visitor Information Centre then follow through to the Stock Exchange Arcade to see the “Calling of the Card”, an audio presentation re-enacting the trading of shares that once took place in this very arcade. Then on to the Venus Battery, the largest surviving battery relic in Australia. Interactive audio-visuals tell the story of how the mill operated and how the equipment was used to extract gold from the ore. In the evening visit Towers Hill to view a ½ hour film presentation of “ghosts after dark ”, which tells even more fascinating stories about the people who lived here in those days of gold, grandeur and greed. Along the way to Charters Towers you can turn off the highway at Mingela and drive just 40km to Ravenswood, a heritage-listed, working mining town with old mullock heaps, tall chimneys and 19th century pubs and other buildings. View the operations at the open cut mine from the lookout, or do a walking tour.

Hidden Secrets

Charters Towers

Ravenswood the old gold mining settlement, tucked away amongst the rolling hills is a small working mining town with mullock heaps, tall chimneys, and discarded mine machinery peppering the countryside. Continue on and you’ll discover Burdekin Falls Dam, holding 4 times as much as Sydney Harbour, you can camp, fish or picnic on its banks.

Hughenden

Gorge and Dinosaur Country

Call into the Flinders Discovery Centre and meet “Hughie”, a life sized Muttaburrasaurus, step back in time to over 500 million years ago at the Porcupine Gorge Light and Sound Show. Relive the battles and history of the shearing industry through its highs and lows in ‘Shearing the Straggler’. Wander the streets of Hughenden adorned with metal artwork or enjoy the new Eco Walk on Flinders with examples of different bioregions in the area. Get off the beaten track on one of many byway drives through sculptured landscapes, view the district a top of Mount Walker, promising a sunset you will never forget.

Richmond

Fossil Capital of Australia

Halfway between Townsville and Mount Isa you will find a clean and tidy town with lush green parks and Lake Fred Tritton. Stay at the Richmond Lakeview Caravan Park, overlooking the Richmond Community Bush Tucker Gardens – a Banksia Foundation Environmental Award Finalist. While the kids play on the lake’s beach or water park, dad can do a spot of fishing, while mum takes a walk around the 1.2km walking path. Visit Kronosaurus Korner, and be amazed by marine fossils, the Richmond Pliosaur and Australia’s most complete dinosaur, the Minmi. Ask about Krono’s Kids Club and stop for a coffee in the Moon Rock Café. Got ‘fossil fever’? Then ask our friendly staff for a map of the free fossicking sites. There’s a little bit of Outback in everyone’s backyard and a whole lot more in Richmond.

Julia Creek

Gateway to the Gulf

Next is Julia Creek, one of the friendliest towns on the Overlander’s Way. The town comes alive each year in April, when the annual Dirt n Dust Festival takes place, including events such as a triathlon, horse races, PBR Bull ride, Australia’s Best Butt Competition and Bog Snorkelling. Only found in the Mitchell grass downs of North West Queensland, the Julia Creek Dunnart (Sminthopsis douglasi) is a small endangered, marsupial. The Julia Creek Visitor Information Centre works tirelessly to raise the profile of the Julia Creek Dunnarts. Make sure you catch their daily feeding shows of the Fat-tailed Dunnarts that they currently have on display. Julia Creek is an RV Friendly Town. Self-contained vans (toilet and shower on board) can camp by the water’s edge of Julia Creek for free for 96 hours. Please obtain a permit from the Visitor Information Centre.

Cloncurry

Home of the Royal Flying Doctor Service

Few places in Australia can claim to be as influential in shaping Australia’s identity as Cloncurry. Birthplace of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and destination of the first Qantas flight, it is a town that celebrates outback life the true Australian way. There are many ways to discover more about the region and its history. Visit John Flynn Place Museum & Art Gallery and learn about the beginnings of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the man who started it. Take the town’s heritage walk and admire the nostalgic architecture of yesteryear, including the art deco styled Cloncurry Shire Hall. Other features of Cloncurry include the historic streetscape, airport and the cemeteries of Chinese and Afghan graves. Take a break at the Cloncurry/Mary Kathleen Memorial Park Complex, with picnic area, playground, lookout, outdoor machinery display and also the Cloncurry Information Centre with the attached Museum which houses memorabilia from Cloncurry and the former uranium mine, Mary Kathleen. See the splendid rock and gem display and history of Burke and Wills, including Burke’s water bottle.

Mount Isa

Underground Mines and Aboriginal Heritage

From Cloncurry, the Overlander’s Way winds its way through the spectacular Selwyn Ranges where rugged red hills contrast with huge white gum trees to Mount Isa, one of the world’s great mining cities and home to the biggest and richest rodeo in the Southern Hemisphere. Mount Isa’s Visitor Centre, Outback at Isa, is a one-stop-shop. The precinct includes wonderful displays on the history and development of the city as well as the area’s prehistory that is unlocked at the Riversleigh Fossil Centre interpretive exhibit and laboratory. An underground mine experience has always been high on the list of the visitors to the Isa, and at Outback at Isa’s Award Winning Hard Times Mine you’ll be guided underground by a real Mount Isa miner, who’ll take you through the 1.2km of tunnels to experience what it’s like to be a real miner. Discover the city’s other many attractions like School of the Air, the unique Underground Hospital which was built during World War II, the National Trust Tent House, Lake Moondarra, Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park, the City Lookout or the Family Fun Park which is the largest all-abilities playground in Queensland.

GET ADVENTUROUS!

Download the Overlanders Way brochure to get your hands on the Adventure Map and the local’s inside tips!

Overlanders Way