The Natural Science Loop
The Natural Science Loop includes birds, opals, fossicking, fossils, starry night skies, rivers, geology, lakes, billabongs, artesian waters, bilbies and the famous Dig Tree. It’s natural history and heritage all rolled into one. Stand on the bitumen or get off the beaten track to explore.Discover Outback Queensland’s natural and manmade heritage, outback towns, outback people, big sky, big country, wildlife habitat [now and prehistoric], rainbow rocks, starry nights and more.
Come on and explore the loop!
Charleville to Cunnamulla
Travel to Charleville to Cunnamulla via Wyandra along the Matilda Way. Cunnamulla is located on the Adventure Way and locals reckon that in their town, the handshake’s stronger and the smile lasts longer. Perhaps that’s why Slim Dusty’s ‘Cunnamulla fella’ has become the epitome of bush folk and the bronze statue of him in the main street immortalises the larrikin in all Australians as he sits on his swag enjoying the moment. When you visit Cunnamulla you are standing on the Eromanga Basin, the world’s largest underground river that flows beneath half of inland Australia. The water takes almost two million years to travel from its starting point at the Great Dividing Range to where it surfaces in the deserts of central Australia. To experience this amazing occurrence, come and visit the Artesian Time Tunnel at the Cunnamulla Fella Centre. The Cunnamulla Bushlands is a 6 hectare area which takes you on a journey through different ecosystems within the region. Hit the Cunnamulla sand dunes if you are looking for a sandboarding experience.
Cunnamulla to Thargomindah
Travel 106 kilometres east along the fully sealed Cooper Developmental Road (79A) to Quilpie, where a stay in Quilpie can be as busy or as relaxing as you wish. Picnic and fish at the Bulloo River or swim a few lazy laps of the pool. Enjoy the native bottlebrush trees and beautiful gardens around the district, and the stunning wildflowers (in season) throughout the surrounding countryside. When you are ready for action, spend the day fossicking for opals, climb Baldy Top Lookout to admire the spectacular sunset, visit the Opal Altar at St Finbarr’s Church or head to the Visitor Information Centre.
Quilpie to Charleville
Head east along the Warrego Way to Charleville, passing through the towns of Cheepie and Cooladdi with the option of taking a turn off to Adavale along the journey. Charleville is the largest town in Queensland’s south west and is a hub for visitors and pastoralists alike. In the heart of ‘mulga country’, Charleville and surrounding pastoral properties are rich in history, flora and fauna. The Save the Bilby Fund, is worth a visit for an up close and personal experience with Australia’s most famous endangered marsupial. The Cosmos Centre provides an intimate look at our night sky, and with the outback’s low residual light, there’s no better place to do so. Visit the Charleville Bureau of Meteorology and find out how as you talk with a meteorologist and watch the release of a weather balloon. Take a look at the Vortex rainmaker guns at the Graham Andrews Parklands which hoped to bring rain to the region during drought. The Charleville Botanical Reserve showcases major vegetation types of the eastern mulga lands and while you’re there try spot a rare yellow-footed rock wallaby. At Queensland Parks and Wildlife Office you also have the opportunity to view yellow-footed rock wallabies.
The Adventure Way
Brisbane to Dalby
The Warrego Highway, is a highway leading you to a new adventure each day.
Watch the city skyline of Brisbane disappear behind you as you enter the city that almost stole Brisbane's capital status - Ipswich. It is not long and you are passing through the Lockyer Valley, the salad bowl of Queensland, home to top quality local producers that work hard to create unique and exciting products.
Situated adjacent to the Lockyer Valley, on the Great Dividing Range, is Toowoomba and where the Southern Queensland Country experience begins where you can slow down, breath deep and enjoy a taste of life in the country. The Toowoomba region has a lot to offer visitors, renowned for its magnificent parks and gardens, scenic views and provider to gourmet food and wine culture. It is a region of unparalleled beauty, offering the contrasts of the seasons; the colours and characters of the countryside; rich heritage and the release from big city pressures to enjoy country pleasures.
After experiencing the Garden City, it is then time to continue along the Warrego - the next stop Dalby.
Suggested Stops: Grand Central Shopping Centre
Dalby to St George
Dalby is the regional centre of the Western Downs located just over 200 kilometres west of Brisbane. With plenty of local history and culture to experience, from Pioneer Park Museum and a local Heritage Trail to exploring Bunya Mountains National Park, there's no shortage of things to see and do.
Head to St George via the Moonie Highway where you will pass Lake Broadwater Conservation Park, southwest of Dalby, and enjoy the only naturally-occurring freshwater lake in the region. Stop and explore Moonie where the area is noted for its quality grain, cattle and prime lamb production, before continuing on to St George.
Suggested Stops: The Unique Egg, Riversands Vineyard, Sandy Town River Cruises, The Mani Tribes Gallery, St George Cotton Farm and Vineyard Tours, St George Heritage Tour, Free Bird Watching Tour, St George Heritage Trail and Self Drive Cotton Trail.
Contact the St George Visitor Information Centre on 07 4620 8877
St George to Cunnamulla
From the moment you arrive to the time you leave, St George relaxes the senses in all the right ways. Perched on the bacnks of the mighty Balonne River, it is the perfect base from which to explore the beautiful Balonne Shire. A star feature, the two-kilometre stretch of shady riverbank walkway which begins below the Jack Taylor Weir, exercise equipment and information signs on fish and bird species unique to this area.
In an unasuming small brick building in the main street of town, you will find the humble emu egg carved into a stunning, illuminated piece of art at the Unique Egg.
For the serious campers and 4WD enthusiasts, Thrushton National Park is 40 kilometres north east of Bollon and accessible via dirt roads.
Suggested Stops: Cunnamulla Art Gallery and Museum and the Artesian Time Tunnel.
Contact the Cunnamulla Visitor Information Centre on 07 4655 8470
Cunnamulla to Thargomindah
Situated on the banks of the Warrego River, Cunnamulla is an unexpected oasis. Boasting beautiful street scapes and activities, this picturesque country town offers something for everyone.
With a diverse assortment of native flora and fauna both within the town and surrounds region, Cunnamulla is a must see for nature enthusiasts. The Cunnamulla bushlands, located on the eastern entrance to the town, showcases some of the areas suberb eco-systems as you leisurely strong along the 1.6 kilometre trail. Bowra Wildlife Sancturary, is a must-see for bird enthusiasts playing host to over 200 bird species.
After enjoying your choice of activity, whether it be bush walks, sandboarding, town and industry tours, river cruises, fishing, getting you photo taken with the magnificent Cunnamulla Fella Statue or a journey back in time along Cunnamulla's heritage trail, enjoy a good coffee or bite to eat at one of the towns many cafe's, restaurant or pubs.
Before you leave town make sure to call into the Artesian Time Tunnel at the Cunnamulla Fella Centre to learn about the artesian basin and how essential it is to life in the outback.
Continue west to the friendly town of Eulo which is the "Montville of the Outback". A small but proud community that is famous not just for the infamous "Eulo Queen" and the hotel named after her but also for the abundant local produce as well as opal and craft which can be purchased in the town.
Accommodation or camping options are behind the hotel and on the banks of the Paroo River, go bird watching, fishing, relax and enjoy the tranquility, take in the Billabong and Granite Nature Drives and some time to rejuvenate in the Artesian Mud Baths.
Take a short detour of the main road to visit the friendly opal town of Yowah where you can get some tips from the locals before trying you luck fossicking for your own opals.
Detour to the beautiful Lake Bindegolly National Park, where you can follow a short walking circuit or simply take in the serenity from the observation point before rejoining the highway to Thargomindah.
Suggested Stops: Opals, Eulo Queen Hotel, Billabong, Granite Nature Drives and Artesian Mud Baths at Eulo. The Old Jail, The Old Hospital, The Town Hydro, Pelican Point, Walking Trails, Bird Watching, Fishing, Sedgeway Hire, Bicycle Hire and Canoe Hire at Thargomindah.
Contact the Thargomindah Visitor Information Centre on 07 4621 8095
Thargomindah to Innamincka
After you arrive in Thargomindah, call into the VIC to have a break before you visit the historic tourist attractions in town, including the Hydro Power Plant Display, the old Thargomindah Hospital and Leahy House. Hotel/Motel accommodation is available and a well-appointed caravan park is all located in the heart of town for visitors who want to stay overnight.
It's best to leave early on your drive to Innamincka, which is just across the border in South Australia, so that you can take a short detour and stop along the way at the historic Noccundra Hotel. The road is sealed to the border, with a small section of dirt road near the Ballera Gas Field. Just prior to reaching the border, make a detour to the Burke and Wills 'Dig Tree' site. Situated on the banks of Cooper Creek, and where the Expedition ended in tragedy. Visitors can camp along the banks of the Cooper.
The road to Innamincka from the border is unsealed. There are a number of places of interest just outside Innamincka, including the Cullyamurra Waterhole with its Aboriginal rock carvings.
Suggested Stops: The Dig Tree, The Face Tree, Cameron Corner Loop and the Cullyamurra Waterhole.
Contact the Thargomindah Visitor Information Centre on 07 4621 8095