About South Queensland Outback, Inland from Brisbane
The outback has to be seen ‘because it’s there’. It’s also an integral part of Australia and its history – to say nothing of its mythology. The fact that more than 85 per cent of Australians live in suburbs on the coastal rim probably has something to do with this.
If you get no further north than Brisbane, this is your best route into the Queensland outback. You take the Warrego Highway via Toowoomba, heading west across the Darling Downs. On the other side of the mountains you come to grazing territory – mile upon mile of sheep and cattle rearing country, with just a few isolated settlements on the way. This territory also produces some fine wine, as you’ll discover when you get to Roma.
If you don’t want to go any further west than this, you can detour north from Roma to the Carnarvon National Park, which has some of the finest mountain scenery in Queensland, as well as some superb Aborigine rock paintings. From there you can double back to the coast using our route Central Queensland Outback, Inland from Rockhampton.
West of Roma you come to Charleville, which is at the end of the Warrego Highway. Beyond here it’s another 800 km to the celebrated settlement of Birdsville.
The distances here are vast. If you want to go all the way, you should allow over a week to cover the best places to visit. However, the loop from Roma north to our Central Queensland Outback, Inland from Rockhampton, and then back to the coast can be covered in less than a week, even if you stop to explore.
Regular buses call in at all the main towns along this route as far as Charleville, reached in 10½ hours, Greyhound is the most regular (www.greyhound.com.au). The Westlander train departs from Brisbane and covers the same route, taking 16 hours (www.railsnw.com/tours/australia/qr_westlander001.htm). But if you want to explore, the only way to see this part of Australia is with your own vehicle.