11 days
Duration
Destination
PDF of Tour
Short tour of Outback Queensland map

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 12 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?

Charleville

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.

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.

Barcaldine

After our Longreach tours we travel east for a day tour in Barcaldine and an overnight stay. The name Barcaldineoriginates 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:

Articles

Pilbara wildflowers WA

The Australian Outback: A Definitive Guide

15 mins read

Explore learn and consider what is the outback in this article. For mature and senior travelers considering joining a small group package tours into the outback to see, learn and explore about this unique place, not only the landscape but the Aboriginal approach to living. On each of the tours for couples and the single traveler you learn something different but fascinating, from Outback Queensland, the Flinders, Broken Hill and the Kimberley and the wildflowers all contribute to this question, what is the outback?

FAQs

Odyssey has a collection of Australian Outback tours for small groups that seek to provide a travel experience that foster a greater understanding of the outback, the communities who live here today and in the past, the landscapes and the wildlife. The Australian outback tour collection are an adventure with a tour director and tour guide who know and understand Outback Australia. As a tour operator focused on knowledge sharing when we operate a tour, each of our outback small group tours are different, they are designed for couples and the solo traveller who enjoy being in a smaller group when they explore. For example Odyssey will take the senior traveller on a guided tour into the Northern territory with a tour of Australia’s red centre and the Canning stock route or up into Kakadu national park. As well, there is the Outback Australia tour offered as an outback experience as a guided tour of South Australia Flinders range for 14 days including the Oodnadatta track. The Flinders range outback tour also includes the option of a scenic flight over Wilpena pound. Then in Western Australia our Outback tours of Western Australia include a tour of the Kimberley region featuring the bungle bungle range. These Western Australia discovery tours are trips that start on the west coast in Broome on the Kimberley coast. These smaller group tours of Western Australia on the Kimberley coast introduce the traveller to the pristine beaches before turning inland across Western Australia to Kununurra close to the border with the Northern Territory. From here our discovery tours of Western Australia head to the bungle bungle and then returns across the Kimberley region to Broome over several days where this Western Australia tour finishes. From Broome there are regular connecting flights to Perth and across to Sydney or Melbourne. The Outback Australia tours from Broken Hill take the traveller on a outback adventure across three states, New South Wales, South Australia & Queensland. The outback experience included on this trip includes time in Birdsville with guided tour of the surrounding desert environments, before returning back along the Birdsville track to Broken hill via Aarkoroola.

At the moment Odyssey does not offer small group adventure tours to Uluru ( Ayers rock ) or Cairns to reach the Great barrier reef. There are many many choices of larger group tour operators who can provide experiences such as an Uluru tour to here and other high demand destinations than Odyssey can provide as an experience in the ” aussie outback “.

 

The places available to stay in are clean the food is typically good too, though often oversized portions. Though there is a notable absence of bedside reading lights in the hotel bedrooms in the outback… it is simply lights on or off, much to any travellers puzzled look.

 

The people are keen and willing to share the stories and history and they are just great insights into contemporary and historic life that is very much respected.

Also to be respected is that no Regional town or community encountered seeks to be exposed to Covid-19, cleanliness and registering at the door of places visited is keenly monitored as the external traveller/visitor represent a potential Covid-19 source into the local community.

Awareness of and respect for the need for social distancing is very important. This is a good thing, because sometimes where we live in the urban metros we can become relaxed about the threat Covid-19 poses simply because medical resource is often close to hand, I suggest.

The term ‘Outback’ comes from the idea of ‘Back country’, which was used in the early colonies (with recorded uses as early as 1800) to refer to land beyond the settled regions. With the spread of settlement, ‘Outback’ came into use to describe the inland, arid and semi-arid centres of Australia. ‘Outback’ was first used in print in 1869, when the writer clearly meant west of Wagga Wagga, NSW.

‘Outback’ has a number of variants, including ‘Back o’ Bourke’, ‘Back of Beyond’, ‘Back Country’, and ‘Beyond the Black Stump’ (the precise location of which varies according to local folklore!).

The Queensland Outback can get pretty hot! Summer temperatures average between 35-40 degrees, though some towns can get a lot hotter than this. Temperatures cool down between March and October, with the coolest month (July) averaging in the mid-late 20s in most towns.

Reflecting this, Odyssey Traveller has scheduled our Outback Queensland small group tours to leave from July – October and Feb – March 2020 and 2021.

Everybody has their own ideas of where precisely ‘the bush’ becomes ‘the outback’. To avoid controversy, we’re going with the offical map on outbackqueensland.com.au, which defines Outback Queensland as beginning somewhere east of Roma, stretching south to the NSW border, west to the South Australia/Northern Territory borders, stopping a bit north of Mt. Isa, where the tropical weather of the ‘Top End’ begins.


PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

Overview:

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.

Accommodation: Roma TBC

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Hotel Corones or similar

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Hotel Corones or similar

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Windorah TBC

Overview:

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.

Accommodation: Longreach Motor Inn or similar

Overview:

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.

Accommodation: Longreach Motor Inn or similar

Overview:

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.

Accommodation: Landsborough Lodge Motel or similar

Overview:

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.

Accommodation: Takarakka Bush Resort or similar

Overview:

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.

European arrival

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.

Accommodation: Takarakka Bush Resort or similar

Overview: 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.

Accommodation: Roma TBC

Overview: After breakfast we complete our drive back to Brisbane where our tour concludes.

1
Carnarvon Gorge National park shows the group first class well preserved Aboriginal rock art.
2
Winton, goes beyond the dinosaur fossil with analysis and interpretation of a stampede on mudflats now in the geologic record.
3
Explore Barcaldine, the tree of knowledge and the place where the labour party was founded in Australia.
4
Visit Longreach, one of the founding centres for Qantas, the third oldest airline in the world (after KLM and Avianca).
5
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.

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.
Carnarvon Gorge, Queensland
Queensland, Australia
Town of Cunnamulla Queensland
Sunset in the far outback.