Snorkelling and scuba diving are all very well and good but you haven’t seen Australia if you don’t get outback. History buffs will love this route from Charters Towers for gold rush fever to Hughenden that sits on the edge of the once inland sea in prehistoric times and is famous for its dinosaur discoveries. Check out the enormous Mt Isa Copper Mines and then cool your heels at Lake Julius.
| Day 1:
|| Cairns to Townsville
Visit: Castle Hill | Travel: 347km
| Day 2:
|| Townsville to Charters Towers
Visit: Museum of Tropical Queensland | Travel: 138km
| Day 3:
|| Charters Towers to Hughenden
Visit: Porcupine Gorge National Park | Travel: 252km
| Day 4:
|| Hughenden to Julia Creek
Visit: Flinders Discovery Centre | Travel: 263km
| Day 5:
|| Julia Creek to Mount Isa
Visit: The Punch Bowl Waterhole | Travel: 257km
| Day 6:
|| Mount Isa to Cammooweal
Visit: Lake Moondarra and Lake Julius | Travel: 190km
|| Head on to Darwin or Alice Springs
Cairns to Townsville Itinerary: Day 1
Cairns - Nestled on the coast of Far North Queensland, the city is tucked between the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea and the lush rolling downs of the Atherton Tableland to the west. There is something here for every visitor to enjoy ... adrenaline-charged adventures like diving, white water rafting and bungy jumping or more gentle pursuits like bird watching and hiking. Pick up your Apollo and head South to Townsville via the pacific tourism route Known as a bustling and vibrant destination boasting diversity in landscape, an enviable lifestyle and experiences to suit every holiday.
Townsville to Charters Towers Itinerary: Day 2
Welcome to the tropical city of Townsville. You'll get a fantastic photo for the holiday album from Castle Hill and Victoria Bridge. There's a historic railway station, heritage buildings and the Breakwater Marina all to see while you are in town and both the Museum of Tropical Queensland and North Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Cultural Centre are worthy of a visit. When it's time to pack the swag and move on down the road, the city once known as 'The World', back when the drovers on horseback cracked their whips along this track, historical Charters Towers awaits.
Charters Towers to Hughenden Itinerary: Day 3
Experience a bygone 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 bought 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. 105 kilometres down the track is Hughenden, on the banks of Queensland's longest river, The Flinders. Make sure you stop at the lookout on the way!
Hughenden to Julia Creek Itinerary: Day 4
Hughenden is the heart of dinosaur country; 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. To get a true idea of the beasts that roamed these lands, 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. At Richmond 112 kilometres 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! Head on down the track, 145 kilometres over Mitchell grass plains to Julia Creek.
Julia Creek to Mt Isa Itinerary: Day 5
Roll into Julia Creek, once a major stopping point for the overlanders. Today at the huge trucking saleyards you'll still hear the crack of whips, smell the dirt and sweat as modern day drovers do their job. There's a couple of good watering spots around Julia Creek too - The Punch Bowl Waterhole, 45 kilometres east, Eddington Waterhole around 20 kilometres west and Sedan Dip to the north. Cloncurry is 137 kilometres down the road. Cloncurry was the birthplace of the Royal Flying Doctor Service 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 and the original hanger is still at the aerodrome. However, it's the wealth of cattle and copper that have made Cloncurry grow. It was near here the first copper in western Queensland was found. You can see the big wheels of industry turn on a tour to the Ernest Henry Mine. Head onto Mount Isa - a multi-cultural and dynamic city in the Queensland outback.