Queensland Spirit: Heart of the Outback

Piercing red soils, dusty greens, endless blue horizons… this is the spirit of the outback, and your chance to experience Queensland’s biggest attractions: a behind the scenes tour of Australia’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils and the birthplace of Qantas among them. This outback tour offers rare glimpses into life on the land.


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7 Days from $4,225* per person, twin share 

Guided Holiday | Brisbane Return

Inclusions:

  • Specialist highly experienced Travel Director and Driver
  • Local Specialists (Guides) at Ray Station, Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum and Camden Park Station
  • Mixture of unique accommodation including glamping tents and ‘shearers’ restored quarters’
  • Meals:
    • 6 Breakfasts
    • 2 Lunches
    • 1 Dinner
    • 4 Dinners with wine
  • Airport transfers (flights not included)
    • Day prior – flights to arrive anytime into Brisbane Airport
    • Day 7 – flights to depart after 15:00 from Brisbane Airport

Highlights:

  • ‘Outback Dan’ is a fifth-generation farmer at Camden Park Station. His family will woo you with outback yarns, dinner and country hospitality.
  • Life on the land in remote Queensland can be thrilling – but also harsh. Learn what it’s like on two working stations.
  • Go behind the scenes at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum to meet working palaeontologists in Winton’s fossil lab.
  • Nature releases all the good endorphins. You’ll feel even better when you check into eco-friendly glamping tents under the stars.

Tour Code: OQLD





Itinerary

Day 1: Brisbane - Roma

It doesn’t take long for the towers of Brisbane to give way to bucolic countryside, fading from rainforest to the vivid hues of the outback. Small in population but big in personality, Chinchilla is the first chance to stretch your legs. The ‘Big Watermelon’ hints to the fact this is the melon capital of Australia. Grab a slice, or a more hearty bite to eat, at the historic Club Hotel (fun fact: it’s the only hotel in town that hasn’t burnt down) before you journey on to ravishing Roma. The horizons here extend for days, only matched in expanse by the smiles of locals – expect plenty of country hospitality, not at the least from Charles and Amanda who own your accommodation for the night. Toast the end of the day with them over a glass of wine and regional fare at your welcome dinner.

Hotel: Overlander Homestead Motel Roma

Meals: Dinner with Wine


Day 2: Roma - Quilpie

The further west you travel in Queensland, the slower the outback lifestyle. As evidenced in Charleville, which is a slice of natural paradise for the endangered bilbies and wetland birds. The locals will happily reveal the best places to spot wildlife, ideally over a cold beer and a pub meal at heritage-listed Hotel Corones. The stories that get told here… The countryside from here to Quilpie is mesmerising – long stretches of road and vast expanses of nothing can be humbling. And welcoming, as you’ll discover when Mark and Sandra throw open the doors of Ray Station. The family has owned this estate since 1874, and designed the rooms you’ll bed down in – set in restored shearers’ quarters. But before then, there’s a campfire dinner and tunes on the tin piano to be enjoyed.

Hotel: Ray Station, 2 nights

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine


Day 3: Ray Station, Quilpie

There’s something about being in the country that whets your appetite. Wake, and look forward to a delicious breakfast prepared by your hosts. You won’t go hungry here – they’re also thinking about what to cook you for lunch and dinner. It’s this kind of generosity that flows naturally into eye-opening, and entertaining, stories about the property, including previous caretakers, and how they tended the land. You can even discover more about their fascinating history: at the family cemetery. Head out on a tour, fossick for boulder opal, and revel in the vastness of Quilpie – certainly one of the best places to visit in Queensland’s vast outback.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner with Wine


Day 4: Quilpie - Longreach 

If you’re looking for the centre of Queensland, Longreach is pretty much it. After waving goodbye to station life, you’re bound for this patch of outback perfection, all red dirt and spinifex and blazing sunsets. There’s plenty of things to do in Longreach, like visiting the Qantas Founders Museum, which pays homage to the fact this is the spiritual heart of Australia’s national airline. If the idea of glimpsing 100+ years of aviation history gets your heart racing, then the vast swathes of nature that surround your glamping tent for the night will slow it down. Switch off, relax and enjoy your eco-friendly cocoon, replete with creature comforts including air-conditioning, ensuites and dreamy beds. There’s also a kitchenette, so you can enjoy a BBQ on your private deck. Or venture out for more country flavour at an optional outback dinner and show.

Hotel: Mitchell Grass Retreat, 2 nights

Meals: Breakfast

Day 5: Longreach - Winton - Longreach

For a petite town, there’s an impressive number of things to do in Winton. The biggest attraction of all are the dinosaurs that once roamed here, leaving behind the country’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils. Follow in their (large) footsteps at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs, part museum, part working laboratory, where you’ll go behind the scenes. Winton’s other claim to fame is the fact Banjo Patterson wrote ‘Waltzing Matilda’ here in 1903. He’s not the only creative drawn here. Graeme Leak created a fence that can be played as an instrument (aka the Musical Fence), and Arno Grotjahn erected a quirky art wall studded with every household object imaginable. The unexpected stories continue at Camden Park Station, a 7,300-hectare sheep and cattle station where fifth-generation farmer ‘Outback Dan’ will tell you about life on the land… including the visit of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. They didn’t have a three-course dinner awaiting them in historic shearing shed; you do.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine



Day 6: Longreach - Brisbane

Australia has its fair share of epic outback train tours that let you witness the wild beauty of a region while travelling the historic routes taken by past generations. Among them is Spirit of the Outback, your chariot back to Brisbane on the last leg of your adventure. Exclusive access to the train’s Shearers Rest Lounge means you can enjoy a glass of bubbles while remote towns and vast stretches of bush zip by outside, the click-clack or the rails a meditative soundtrack. Dinnertime in Tuckerbox Restaurant celebrates Queensland’s culinary bounty. And then your plush cabin awaits. Sweet dreams.

Hotel: Spirit of the Outback, Private Cabin

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 7: Brisbane

Wake up to vistas of the Queensland outback and savour the scene over coffee and your final breakfast in the train’s dining carriage. As the Brisbane River and the city’s gleaming towers come into view, you know your adventure is about to end. But what joy it has sparked for future outback tours.

Meals: Breakfast


*Terms and Conditions: Price correct as of 14 January 2022. Prices are per person based on twin share accommodation. Dates and itineraries are valid until 31 July 2022. Beyond 31 July 2022 dates and itineraries are indicative only. Prices, itineraries and inclusions are subject to availability and can change at any time without notice. Booking, payment and cancellation conditions apply. Contact your travel agent for more information. Photo credit: Tourism & Events Queensland. SUPPLIER: AAT Kings