Small group tour of Queensland - 11 days
To short break in Queensland's Outback is a small group tour taking for a glimpse of the landscape and history of the state. We you to learn about the Carnavorn Gorge, and also we travel high up into North Queensland to see the Dinosaurs of Winton and incredible Aboriginal rock art at Cathedral gorge.
From £3,698 GBP
- 1. Winton, goes beyond the dinosaur fossil with analysis and interpretation of a stampede on mudflats now in the geologic record.
- 2. Explore Barcaldine, the tree of knowledge and the place where the labour party was founded in Australia.
- 3. Visit Longreach, one of the founding centres for Qantas, the third oldest airline in the world (after KLM and Avianca).
- 4. In Charleville learn about the WWII era when it temporarily became part of the USA and was home to nearly 3500 american servicemen.servicemen lived.
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Ends 07 April 2022 • 10 days
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Ends 12 May 2022 • 11 days
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Ends 15 July 2022 • 12 days
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Ends 22 September 2022 • 12 days
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Small group tour of central Queensland- 11 days
This small group short tour is for Queensland and those regions that are allowed entry in the state - restrictions can change often and up to date information can be found on the local government website. Proof of residence is required when placing a booking.
Get well and truly off the beaten track on Odyssey Traveller's 11-day small group Australian outback tours of Queensland. Away from the usual tourist centres - Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Port Douglas, Mt Isa and the Daintree Rainforest - our Odyssey Travellers will discover the big skies, stunning pastoral and desert landscapes, and fascinating history of the outback communities of western Queensland with your tour guide. This outback Aussie tour for seniors is part of a collection of small group tours that explore the interior regions of Australia. Travellers on this trip into the Aussie outback learn about aboriginal culture, British farming approaches in the outback and the history of the Europeans and Aboriginal Australia. Odyssey seeks to change how you view this landscape which can seem to be a desert at first look.
Our small group tours of the Australian outback in Queensland begin and end in Brisbane. We head west into Queensland and back, pausing along the way to explore and learn at each stop on day tour (s) with local guides, as we head west then up into North Queensland and south back to Brisbane. This escorted tour is suitable for the mature and senior traveler whether as a couple or solo traveller. This small group tour of Queensland goes as far North as Longreach, so it does not reach tropical North Queensland or far North Queensland
This, like all Odyssey Traveller small group tours is limited to 15 people. As a tour company in the current environment, we are committed to small group travel that is safe for you and your fellow traveller rather than being a member of larger group tours.
Odyssey Traveller's Australian outback tours for small groups start in Brisbane and then will travel across to Roma for the first night and a welcome dinner.
In the morning we continue to travel west to Charleville, a regional town with a history that leaves you wondering... What was the 3,500 American members of the armed forces secret mission in the second world war in Charleville? Who drank the champagne from Amy Johnson's bath?
This small group tour spends 2 nights in Charleville. Whilst here the group have the opportunity to go star and planet gazing, take time to tour the historic town and understand the value of wool to a town like Charleville in the early 20th century period. Take a private tour of the heritage listed Hotel Corones with a rags to riches story linked to Qantas, Greek islands, Brisbane and Sydney.
From Charleville, we head across to Windorah or Yarra and then to Longreach.
The following day we journey further into North Queensland and Queensland's outback to Longreach from Charleville, Tambo Blackhall, Emmet and Isisford arriving in the late afternoon. Our Queensland outback small group tour spends two nights in Longreach, the home of the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame, which showcases the history and culture of life in outback Australia working as a stockman, drover or shearer on a outback station, perhaps this is the home of the Australian adventure home of the outback pioneer after the Aboriginal community. As well as our Longreach tours this small group visits the Qantas founder's museum. Longreach was one of the founding centres for Qantas, the third oldest airline in the world (after KLM and Avianca), founded on 16 November 1920. One of the airline's original hangars remains in use at Longreach Airport and is listed on the Australian National Heritage List. The Qantas Founders Museum also includes among its displays a decommissioned Qantas Boeing 747-200 aircraft.
After our Longreach tours we travel east for a day tour in Barcaldine and an overnight stay. The name Barcaldine originates from the Oban region in Scotland and is pronounced bar-call-din. Barcaldine is home to the Tree of Knowledge, which marks the birth of the labour movement in Australia. The tree grew outside the Railway Station for around 180 years until 2006, when sadly, it was poisoned by an unknown culprit. Today, the famous tree has been preserved and placed under an award-winning structure that gives the illusion of a canopy over the Tree. Head to the Tree at night for the best views, as the memorial is lit beautifully by special lighting. Whilst here we leanr about the importance of to Australian society of shearers and the drover and the begining of the 20th century.
In Barcaldine, we spend the afternoon learning about the origins of the Australian Labour Party, and view architectural curiosities, such as the masonic lodge - seemingly out of place in this small central west Queensland town.
Carnarvon National Park
Travelling back into the Australian outback, we head to Carnarvon National Park, where we spend two nights. Carnarvon Gorge is a rainforest oasis in the semi-arid heart of Central Queensland, and a major camping ground and centre of outback tourism. Towering white sandstone cliffs form a spectacular steep-sided gorge with narrow, vibrantly coloured and lush side-gorges. Boulder-strewn Carnarvon Creek winds through the gorge. The gorge is home to a range of significant plant and animal species, many of them relics of cooler, wetter times. Remnant rainforest flourishes in the sheltered side-gorges while endemic Carnarvon fan palms Livistona nitida, ancient cycads, ferns, flowering shrubs and gum trees line the main gorge. Grassy open forest grows on the cliff tops. The creeks attract a wide variety of animals, including more than 173 species of bird.
Rock art on sandstone overhangs is a fragile reminder of local Aboriginal peoples ' long and continuing connection with the ancient landscape of the gorge. Ochre stencils, rock engraving and freehand paintings make up some of the finest Aboriginal rock art imagery in Australia. We will have the opportunity with a tour guide to view and learn about these paintings at Cathedral Cave, which lies at the end of the main path through the Gorge, and is indicated by archaeological evidence to be the main campsite for indigenous people who used the Gorge.
Return to Brisbane
Leaving Carnarvon gorge we travel to Roma for an overnight stay with as farewell dinner as this will be the last night together on this Australian outback tour. These Australian outback tours retrace the path back to Brisbane where we arrive in the late afternoon. This small group tour concludes on our return to Brisbane.
Articles about Australia published by Odyssey Traveller:
For all the articles Odyssey Traveller has published for mature aged and senior travellers, click through on this link.
External articles to assist you on your visit to Brisbane & Outback Queensland:
Day 1: Brisbane to Roma
Accommodation: Roma TBC
Having made your own way to Brisbane we meet inn the morning and begin the journey inland to Roma, home to the southern hemisphere’s largest cattle sale yards. Roma is located approximately 500km from the capital city.
That evening we have a welcome dinner at a local restaurant for you and your fellow traveller as a small group.
Day 2: Charleville
Accommodation: Hotel Corones or similar
Today we travel west to Charleville, the drive should take approximately 3h. We will spend 2 nights in Charleville.
The city has an interesting history linked to the WWII when in 1942 it was home to nearly 3500 American servicemen and we will view what remains of their stay during the war.
Day 3: Charleville
Accommodation: Hotel Corones or similar
Today we explore the city and its history, we will visit the Charleville Historic House Museum and its building that dates back to 1887.
We’ll also learn more about the time the local airport became temporarily part of the USA in 1942 on a secret WWII tour.
In the evening we will star gaze at the magnificent outback sky at the Charleville Cosmos Centre & Observatory.
Day 4: Windorah
Accommodation: Windorah TBC
We continue our journey west to Windorah, located in the Far West region of Queensland, about 500km from Charleville. This small town has a population of just 80 people.
Windorah’s main attraction is Cooper’s Creek, located just outside the township. Here’s the only place where two rivers, the Thomson & Barcoo, join to form a creek. Another attraction in the area are the amazing Sand Hills, located at Ourdel Station, west of the town, where we can experience views and some of the reddest sand ever seen.
Day 5: Longreach
Accommodation: Longreach Motor Inn or similar
We depart Windorah and travel north for 300km until we arrive in Longreach. We visit the Stockman’s hall of fame, a escorted tour with a local guide of Longreach and a visit to the Qantas founder’s museum.
Longreach was one of the founding centres for Qantas, technically QANTAS was founded in Winton.
Day 6: Longreach - Winton - Longreach
Accommodation: Longreach Motor Inn or similar
Today is about Dinosaurs, as we spend the day in Winton (approx. 2h north of Longreach)
We visit the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum to learn about the Cretaceous sauropods that roamed the Winton area 95 million years ago. The dinosaurs were found on the property of a man named David Elliott – amazingly, in the form of an almost complete skeleton of a Sauropod! After our visit to the Dinosaurs Museum, we learn more about dinosaurs on a day trip to Lark Quarry, one of the most fascinating tourism centres in Queensland’s outback . 95 million years ago, Lark Quarry was part of a great river plain, with sandy channels, swaps and lakes brimming with freshwater mussels, lungfish and crocodiles. Rainfall was over a metre per year, so the surrounding lowland forest was lush and green.
This is an amazing day as a step back in geological time and should also include the opportunity to see some of the volunteers who travel to Winton to assist on the dig, cleaning fossils in the lab and cataloguing.
Day 7: Barcaldine
Accommodation: Landsborough Lodge Motel or similar
Today we travel east for about 1h to Barcaldine.
Barcaldine is home to the Tree of Knowledge, which marks the birth of the labour movement in Australia . The tree grew outside the Railway Station for around 180 years until 2006, when sadly, it was poisoned by an unknown culprit. Today, the famous tree has been preserved and placed under an award-winning structure that gives the illusion of a canopy over the Tree. Head to the Tree at night for the best views, as the memorial is lit beautifully by special lighting.
In Barcaldine, we spend the afternoon on a excursion learning about the origins of the Australian Labour Party, and view the local culture and architectural curiosities, such as the masonic lodge – seemingly out of place in this small central west Queensland town. There are plenty of stories and cultural experiences to be shared here to hear as we explore the town.
Day 8: Carnarvon National park
Accommodation: Takarakka Bush Resort or similar
Travelling south-east for about 5h we head to Carnarvon National Park, where we spend two nights. Today is a travel day, we arrive in late afternoon, stopping as and when required by the group on the road.
Carnarvon Gorge is a rainforest oasis in the semi-arid heart of Central Queensland, and a major camping ground and centre of outback tourism. Towering white sandstone cliffs form a spectacular steep-sided gorge with narrow, vibrantly coloured and lush side-gorges. Boulder-strewn Carnarvon Creek winds through the gorge. The gorge is home to a range of significant plant and animal species, many of them relics of cooler, wetter times.
Day 9: Carnarvon National park
Accommodation: Takarakka Bush Resort or similar
Today, we have a full day exploring the park. Not only fauna and flora but the Aboriginal rock art. A Local guide will share their knowledge and stories with the group.
Carnarvon Gorge lies within the spectacular and rugged ranges of Queensland’s central highlands. Lined with vegetation and fed by the waters of numerous side gorges, Carnarvon Creek winds between towering sandstone cliffs. The gorge is a cool and moist oasis within the dry environment of central Queensland.
Recognised nationally for its outstanding natural and cultural values, Carnarvon Gorge protects unique and significant plants and animals—many of them relics of cooler, wetter times. Permanent springwater, cooler temperatures and low levels of direct sunlight provide the conditions that allow remnant rainforest to survive here in the dry central Queensland climate.
Carnarvon Creek always flows, even when it hasn’t rained for months. Water falling as rain in the high country slowly percolates down through the porous sandstone, eventually meeting an impermeable (waterproof) band of rock known as shale. Unable to continue its journey downwards, the water moves sidewards along the sandstone and escapes through breaks, seeping out at places such as the Moss Garden and at other springs within the gorge.
The springs and creeks of the gorge support a mosaic of habitats, home to an enormous diversity of life. Whether you choose to walk the main track or simply relax at the park visitor area, you will have many opportunities to encounter and discover the gorge‘s plants and animals.
Mornings at the gorge are colourful as the sunlight meets the cliffs and a symphony of birdsong fills the air. Kangaroos and wallabies can be found around the picnic area and at night echidnas can be seen strolling about. The call of yellow-bellied gliders, owls and the bush stone curlew are often heard after dark.
Steadily flowing water has carved this gorge out of ancient sandstone. The same water, still flowing from the rock, has drawn travelers to Carnarvon Gorge for many thousands of years. Aboriginal people have a long and continuing relationship with this dramatic landscape. While visitors to the park usually associate Aboriginal history with the park’s rock art sites, the connection for Aboriginal people is with the entire landscape. The dreaming says that the rainbow serpent Mundagurra created Carnarvon Gorge as he travelled through the creek system, coming in and out of the water, and carving the sandstone as he travelled.
The fragile art on the gorge‘s sandstone walls reflects a rich culture. Ochre stencils of tools, weapons, ornaments and ceremonial objects provide an insight into the lives of the gorge‘s first people. The gorge is often described by today’s Traditional Custodians as a place of learning – an area of great spirituality. This land still teaches, with many visitors to the park gaining a new understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal culture and history.
Rugged ranges and rough terrain made this area difficult for early European explorers. Ludwig Leichhardt led the first European group into the region in 1844, passing to the east of the gorge. Two years later Thomas Mitchell and his party passed to the west. It is thought that Mitchell named the ranges after the Caernarfon Ranges of Wales.
European setters followed soon after, with grazing runs established in the area in the 1860s. A mix of resourceful and colourful characters sought a life in this hard, remote area. High country to the south was named ‘The Ranch’, possibly by cattle duffers, while side-gorges were perfect for ‘lying low’.
In 1932, a 26,300ha section of the gorge was declared as national park, after lobbying by the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland, which had organised expeditions into the area. The many sections of Carnarvon National Park now cover 298,000ha of the central highlands.
Cathedral cave lies at the end of the Main Track and the turn-off is only metres from the boardwalked site. Ample seating is provided along the multi-level boardwalk with interpretive signs pointing out key motifs. There are some motifs shared with the Art Gallery, such as the net patterns, but plenty unique to Cathedral Cave. See if you can find the stencilled rifle.
Based on archaeological evidence, Cathedral Cave was the main campsite for indigenous people using the Gorge whereas the Art Gallery appears to have been primarily ceremonial in nature. Cathedral Cave’s massive overhang certainly provides more shelter in adverse weather than the comparatively shallow overhang at the Art Gallery.
When the Gorge was still being used as a cattle lease, Cathedral Cave was where cattle were coralled while the Gorge was being mustered. Unfortunately, the cattle damaged some of the rock art whilst penned in.
Day 10: Roma
Accommodation: Roma TBC
We travel further south today making our way to Roma, a journey of about 300km where we spend the night.
Here we will enjoy our farewell dinner and reminisce about the wonderful experiences we shared in the Australian Outback of Queensland.
Day 11: Brisbane
After breakfast we complete our drive back to Brisbane where our tour concludes.
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 10 nights accommodation.
- 10 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 8 dinners.
- Transport by modern and comfortable 4wd or other vehicle suitable for the highway conditions.
- Entrances and sightseeing as specified.
- Services of Tour Leader for the duration of tour.
- Detailed Preparatory Information.
What’s not included in our Tour
- Return Domestic airfares.
- Comprehensive travel insurance.
- Items of a personal nature, such as telephone calls and laundry.
Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, be in good health, mobile and able to participate in 3-5 hours of physical activity per day, the equivalent of walking / hiking up to 8 kilometers per day on uneven ground.
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
Reading List Download PDF
Frontier History Revisited: Colonial Queensland and the 'History War'
Colonial Queensland was arguably the most violent of all Australian colonial frontiers. Her primary sources certainly reflect the doubtful honour of delivering the most frequent reports of shootings and massacre of indigenous people, the three single deadliest massacres on white settlers, the most disreputable frontier police force, and the highest number of white victims to frontier violence recorded in the history of any Australian state or territory. The most obvious explanation for the higher level of violence is provided by powerful evidence suggesting that she was also, in terms of original indigenous population and number of tribes on record, the single most populous of the Australian colonies. Frontier History Revisited allow its readers an opportunity to examine and compare the most prominent statements made during the skirmish known in the popular Australian press as The History War, with a chronological listing of citations from the primary sources to colonial Queenslands history. It then goes on to examine political and other forms of dissent to her frontier indigenous policies and the actual role, presence and influence of missionaries and protectors. Finally it presents and debates anew the evidence of white and black victims to frontier violence in north-eastern Australia, for the first time providing a full listing of all recorded Europeans and assistants who fell victim during the nineteenth century to this violence within the territory of the present day state of Queensland.
By Robert Orsted-jensenAmazon
Reaching Back: Queensland Aboriginal people recall early days at Yarrabah Mission
Taking us back to Yarrabah Mission, two generations of Aboriginal people relive the days in Queensland under the Act. They recall dormitory and school life, marriage and work at the mission, the struggle for survival during the Depression years and the loss of their language and culture.
By Judy ThomsonAmazon
A History of Queensland
A History of Queensland is the first single volume analysis of Queensland's past, stretching from the time of earliest human habitation up to the present. It encompasses pre-contact Aboriginal history, the years of convictism, free settlement and subsequent urban and rural growth. It takes the reader through the tumultuous frontier and Federation years, the World Wars, the Cold War, the controversial Bjelke-Petersen era and on, beyond the beginning of the new millennium. It reveals Queensland as a sprawling, harsh, diverse and conflictual place, where the struggles of race, ethnicity, class, generation and gender have been particularly pronounced, and political and environmental encounters have remained intense. It is a colourful, surprising and at times disturbing saga, a perplexing and diverting mixture of ferocity, endurance and optimism.
By Raymond EvansAmazon
Made in Queensland
In 1859, Queensland formally separated from New South Wales and became an independent colony. Made in Queensland examines the evolution of this great state by considering all aspects of its recent history, from its people and its politics, to its events and its achievements.
By David Symons, Ross Fitzgerald and Lyndon MegarrityThe Nile
The Gulf Country: The story of people and place in outback Queensland
There is something about the Gulf Country that seems to become part of you.'
With its great rivers, grassy plains and mangrove-fringed coastline, Queensland's remote Gulf Country is rich and fertile land. It has long been home to Aboriginal people and, since the 1860s, also to Europeans and tosettlers with Chinese, Japanese and Afghan ancestry.
Richard J. Martin tells the story of a century-and-a-half of exploration and colonisation, the growth of cattle and mining industries, and the impactof Christian missionaries and Indigenous activism, through to the present day. He acknowledges the brutal realities of violence and dispossession, as wellas the challenges of life on the land in northern Australia.
Drawing on extensive interviews with people across the Gulf Country,this is a lively and colourful account of tight-knit communities, relationshipsacross cultures and resilience in the face of adversity.
By Richard J MartinAmazon
Beyond the Outback: Gulf Women of Remote North West Queensland
Twenty women share their incredible stories of surviving and thriving in the remote Australian 'Gulf Country', near the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Gulf women are self-sufficient, generous, and can cope with almost anything that life and the environment throws at them: floods, drought, sickness, emergencies. Whether they are graziers, fisherwomen, ringers, women in tourism, aviation and education, Indigenous women or descendants from early women settlers, this powerful book gives these women a voice to tell their own stories.
There are stories of new mothers on properties isolated and inaccessible for months in the wet season; women giving birth at home with only neighbours to assist; reminiscences from last century and World War II, and accounts of fishing in the Gulf in sometimes unimaginable conditions.
From the kids wanting a baby croc for a pet to the terror of a snake bite with a flooded airstrip and impassable roads, these women treat the extraordinary events in their lives as just part of their remote way of life.
Set in a world of vast landscapes, distance and merciless climate, Beyond the Outback contains riveting tales of the lives of the women who live, work and raise families in one of Australia's most isolated regions. It will be loved by readers of Sara Henderson, Toni Tapp Coutts and Terry Underwood.
By Bronwyn BlakeAmazon
Growing Pineapples in the Outback
When Rebecca Lister and Tony Kelly move from Melbourne to Mount Isa to care for Rebecca's elderly mother, Diana, they have no idea what they've signed up for. The isolation, sweltering heat and limited employment opportunities make settling into the mining town a challenge. While Rebecca deals with her mother's declining health and delves into her own past, Tony takes on a new role in native title law.
However, caring for Diana - a witty, crossword-loving 92-year-old - proves to be a more enriching experience than either Tony or Rebecca thought possible. As they make deeper connections to the land and community, they find themselves flourishing in a most unexpected place. Growing Pineapples in the Outback explores the highs and lows of caring for an ageing parent, while also celebrating the rewards of a simpler life.
By Tony Kelly, Rebecca ListerBooktopia