Longreach or Bust! - Australia

Driving and camping through outback NSW & QLD

Any Mail? - The old Mail Box at Buckiinguy StationLONGREACH: The town is named after the "long reach" of the Thomson River on which it is situated. Longreach was one of the founding centres for Qantas, the Australian domestic and international airline. In Longreach, the streets are named after species of birds, with the streets running east-west named after water birds and those running north-south after land birds.

Longreach is also the home of the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame, which was officially opened in 1988 by Queen Elizabeth II. The centre showcases the history and the culture of life in rural Australia. Since its opening, over 1 million people have passed through its doors.

STOCKMAN'S HALL OF FAME HISTORY:The story of this Australian icon began in 1974 when Hugh Sawrey dreamt of creating a grand tribute to the unsung heroes of remote Australia. This dream was shared by other well-known Australians, including R.M. Williams. Fundraising followed and Sawrey's vision began to take shape.

The rural township of Longreach became the chosen site for the monumental project, and a national competition was held for the design of the building. Sydney architect, Feiko Bouman won the national competition with his design, inspired by the unique buildings, silos and water tanks of the outback.

The Centre's five themed galleries display the history behind some of Australia's explorers, stock workers, pastoralist, and Aborigines. The exhibits allow visitors to interpret the outback story in their own way.

The museum houses a vast reserve collection which forms a unique work-in-progress display. From behind a glass wall, visitors can view archival material, photographs, artworks and various other items used for research and in new display development.

The Stockman's Hall of Fame at Longreach, Queensland CAMPS AUSTRALIA: One of the best ways to travel independently through Australia is to use the Camps Australia Guide Book, which lists all the campsites and caravan sites across Australia.

VISITORS' CENTRES: Most towns and cities have a Visitor's Centre where you can ask about local activities, opening times and best places to eat or stay (if you haven't already decided).

WATER: Always carry around 4 litres of water in your car as it always comes in handy, especially on hot days. Food is readily available for country supermakets, and remeber to try the bakeries.

Map of  Route through Outback NSW and QLD

ITINERARY to LONGREACH

  • WHY? This is an opportunity to self-drive and stay at country campsites throughout NSW and Queensland. It's a low cost way of travel, providing flexibility and a variety of places to visit.
  • WHAT TO TAKE: A good car - 2 wheel drive or 4 wheel drive, as most of the route is on paved or easy surfaced roads. A 2-3 person tent. Folding table and chairs, picnic gear, sleeping bags and therma-rests.
  • WHEN TO GO: This is a good all year-round drive holiday, except during the hotter, wetter months of December, January and February.
  • SYDNEY – BATHURST - DUBBO (430 km): It takes a long time and some distance to get away from it all. it's only after Bathurst that you start getting the sense of the country. We stayed at the Eumungerie Showground campsite. Visit the Post Office and local store for a pleasant chat.
  • DUBBO – LIGHTNING RIDGE (320 km): via Castlereagh Hwy
    Gilgandra –
    Gulargambone – Town named after the Galahs (local birds). John Oxley memorial on Castlereagh Hwy.
    Coonamble – Nickname Hall of Fame
    Lightning Ridge – Station Camp Great Artesian Spa. Pay a visit to the Black Hand Opal Mine, and visit the underground art galleries.
  • LIGHTNING RIDGE – ST GEORGE – MITCHELL (440 km): via Castlereagh Hwy
    St George –
    Mitchell – Sir Thomas Mitchell, Camp at Neil Turner Weir.
  • MITCHELL – AUGETHELLA - TAMBO (381 km):
    Augethella – Keniff Tree, Moonlighters theatre
    Tambo – Barcoo River Camp – no facilities beside river.
  • TAMBO – BLACKALL - BARCALDINE (316 km):
    Tambo - good public swimming pool
    Blackall – Wool Scourer & The legendary Black Stump
    Barcaldine – Australian Workers Heritage Centre, Between the Bougainvilleas Heritage Trail
    Lloyd Jones Weir.
  • BARCALDINE - LONGREACH (50 km):
    Longreach – Qantas Founders Museum, Stockmans Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre.
  • LONGREACH – ISISFORD – BLACKALL - TAMBO (371 km):
    Isisford has had its original Picture Theatre transformed into a fascinating museum showing the discovery of a dinosaur.
  • TAMBO – CHARLEVILLE - CUNNAMULLA (416 km):
    Charleville – Heritage Trail Walk, Royal Flying Doctors Visitor Centre, Self-Drive Itineraries
    Cunnamulla –, Bi-Centennial Museum, Cunnamulla Fella, Heritage Trail, Robbers Tree
    Allan Tannock Weir.
  • CUNNAMULLA – BOURKE - NYNGAN (339 km):
    Bourke – Fort Bourke Stockade (Replica), Bourke Historic Cemetery, Historical Buildings of Old Bourke
    Nyngan – self-guided heritage trail
    Nyngan Caravan Park.
  • NYNGAN – BUCKIINGAI – NYNGAN - DUBBO (315 km):
    Buckiingai - one of the historic properties in the area.
    Eumungerie Show Ground or Dubbo for accommodation.
  • WESTERN PLAINS ZOO (40 km): It's recommended to take the accommodation and zoo package, as you get a night tour as well as a day tour included in this experience.
  • DUBBO - SYDNEY (430 km): Time to head back to the Big Smoke.
  • FACILITIES: Fill up your tank before it drops to half-full. Petrol in the outback is more expensive than in the large coastal cities. Most accommodation sites will have rubbish bins. Toilets are usually provided in many public parks and at some campsites.
  • FOOD & WATER: Always take about a litre of water per person and some snacks, or even a good lunch to keep you going and enjoying your walk. You can fill up with water at most accommodation sites, or at public parks. Many towns have good supermarkets for food supplies and drinks.
Our Take:
If you want to get out for a few days or a few weeks and explore new South Wales or Queensland, this type of self-drive holiday will shake out the cobwebs of your normal routine. Although the distances are more than many of us are used to, the roads are in good condition, traffic is fairly light and the locals are usually friendly. Some basic camping kit - a tent, folding table and chairs, picnic gear and sleeping bags - and you're set to get out on the road.
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