From the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef and pristine beaches of north Queensland to the rugged rocky outcrops and red sand of north-west Queensland and into the Northern Territory, the Overlanders Way takes you through architecturally rich historic towns, dinosaur centres and to the home of some of the world's most quirky events; without even leaving the bitumen! Keep reading to check out a fantastic drive itinerary from Townsville to the Cloncurry Stockman’s Challenge and Campdraft.
Townsville to Charters Towers
As you head west from Townsville towards Charters Towers, call in at Ravenswood to see magnificent restored buildings and mining remnants such as mullock heaps, old shafts and chimneys stacks. Then continue on to Charters Towers, a beautifully preserved part of North Queensland history.
Charters Towers to Hughenden
This gold mining town was once the largest city in Queensland after Brisbane. During the gold rush, the town boasted 65 hotels and 29 crushing mills. The stories and legends of the gold rush have been brought to life on the Ghosts of Gold Heritage Trail: The discovery of Gold at the foot of Towers Hill; the Grandeur of the historic One Square Mile; Greed at the Stock Exchange Arcade; and the Ghosts of the Venus Battery. From the glory days of the late 1800s gold rush, head to Hughenden to step back even further in time to the era of dinosaurs. Along the way, stop at Burra Range or Mount Walker lookouts for an uninterrupted view of the densely wooded buffel country. In Pentland, visit the Norwood Police Cells for a glimpse into the tiny town's past and take a break at the welcoming Pentland Hotel.
Hughenden to Richmond
Hughenden is the heart of dinosaur country; in prehistoric times, it sat on the shoreline of a great inland sea. Nearly 3000 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. 'Hughie', as the skeleton was nicknamed, is on display at the Flinders Discovery Centre. Porcupine Gorge, known locally as 'Australia's little Grand Canyon' is 63 kilometres north of town and Blackbraes National Park, with its unique basalt features is around another 90 kilometres north. Venture 'underwater' into the prehistoric inland sea to Richmond, the fossil capital of Australia.
Richmond to Julia Creek
In Richmond, explore the amazing collection of marine reptile fossils at the award-winning Kronosaurus Korner. The museum is home to Australia's best-preserved dinosaur skeleton, Minmi, and the Richmond Pliosaur, one of the world's best skeleton fossils. See the fossil preparation area, then grab a map and fossick at one of the free designated sites and have the fossil centre curator identify your find. Explore the Bush Tucker Gardens on the banks of Lake Fred Tritton where you will find local native plants labelled with their traditional purposes. The lake has sandy beaches, a boat ramp, free barbecues and a playground, making it an ideal place to relax, swim and fish for barramundi or red claw. Richmond's business district of yesteryear can be discovered on the Heritage Walk, which includes a replica of an original 1860s homestead. Head further west to Julia Creek for spectacular outback sunsets and a chance to gaze at a thick blanket of stars that covers an outback night.
Julia Creek to Cloncurry
Meet Digby, the Julia Creek Dunnart, a tiny endangered marsupial who lives in a special nocturnal viewing area at the Visitor Information and Interpretive Centre, called 'At The Creek'. This multi-award winning centre is built from recycled materials sourced from local railway fettler's cottages and focuses on the themes of water, Country and people. Learn how the Great Artesian Basin sustains life in the outback, have a picnic on the moon rock chairs and tables, or go underground to explore the geological features that shaped the region. Follow the nature trail or take an historical walk through the township. The remains of a WW2 Directional Finding Installation can be seen near the airport.
Cloncurry Stockman’s Challenge and Campdraft
The Curley Cattle Transport Cloncurry Stockman’s Challenge and Campdraft is on again from 12th to 17th July 2017. Regarded as one of the greatest horse events in Australia, the Curry Challenge is an elite and prestigious event, drawing competitors from all states in to a fierce and thrilling competition. The event is held at the Cloncurry Equestrian Centre, Cloncurry QLD.
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