680 km west of Rockhampton on the Capricorn Highway. Here you’re way out in sheep-grazing territory. It’s said that the local population (of around 4,000) is outnumbered 300 to 1 by these living carpets.
Longreach has two main claims to fame. The Queensland and Northern Territories Air Service was founded here in 1921. This outpost remained its headquarters for 25 years, by which time it had become Qantas, Australia’s national airline.
However, Longreach’s main attraction is the Stockman’s Hall of Fame (open 9 am to 5 pm daily, entry fee; www.outbackheritage.com.au). This was opened in 1988, and is housed in an extraordinary architectural wonder. Inside you can see a large range of displays which outline the entire history of the outback, from the mythical Aborigine Dreamtime to the present. Videos, photos and exhibits make this a fascinating repository of outback lore – a region of legends and adventure like no other in the world.
One of the novel pass times includes an authentic paddleboat river cruise, run by Kinnon & Co. They depart daily on a sunset cruise and feature a two course meal and entertainment. Suitable for children. Prices start at AS$20 – $250 (www.kinnonandco.com.au).