An outback adventure is iconically Australian, and Queensland’s outback is tantalisingly within reach. Generations of Australians have grown up hearing legendary stories of cattle ranchers and pioneers, stunning red soil landscapes, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Take your little Australians to taste farm life in Queensland’s outback.
Follow the links in the regions below to find full reviews of each outback adventure – with handy driving maps! – and taste farm life on your next holiday!
Outback adventure in Longreach and surrounds
Pull out a map of Queensland, pop your finger in the middle of the state and you’ve located Longreach – the ‘gateway to the outback’.
There’s a heap of well-known must-do’s when heading out to Longreach – think The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and QANTAS Founders Museum for starters. However, before you get distracted by those big-ticket spots, you cannot miss experiencing farm life in the REAL Australian outback.
Dunraven Station is a 25,000-ha sheep, cattle, and goat farm near Barcaldine. Owners Peter and Roberta conduct their ‘Barcaldine Tag Along Tours’. What makes this tour different to others offered in the area is that it’s a 30km off-road driving tour. Every tour is different, but they usually includes farm activities from shearing to mustering and fencing depending on the season.
Camden Park Station
Camden Park Station, an 18,000-acre working sheep and cattle station, offers an exclusive bush camping experience with one-acre camping sites designed for self-sufficient campers.
At Camden Park Station you’ll get to meet Outback Dan and the Walker family who have owned Camden Park Station for more than 100 years. You can join in on one of Camden Park Station’s guided tours and see the solar farm, walk through the historical homestead gardens, shearing shed, and cattle yards, or join a night tour and enjoy dinner under the stars.
Nogo Station Experience
The half day Nogo Station Experience is a perfect “small bite” of farm life. On arrival, you will be taken into the shearing sheds, where you’ll get a history of the station and the merino industry followed by a shearing demonstration. The kids will love seeing all the cute and noisy sheep, as well as the herding dogs show off their tricks.
Then it’s time to jump in an open-air double decker bus to tour the expansive property, followed by a saddlebag lunch with billy tea by the creek.
Shandonvale Station boasts a huge variety of animals for kids to pat, cuddle, feed, herd, fish, watch or just admire from a distance from camels to pigs, cattle, donkeys, sheep, emus, deer, echidnas, goats, chickens and horses.
Lane and Deon have recently renovated the charming 100-year-old shearer’s quarters into the ultimate luxury accommodation option so your family can stay on station. During your stay you can explore the bush, go fishing, fly in a chopper, have a shoot at the gun range, herd sheep in a buggy, or simply build a campfire to enjoy with your family.
If you are looking for a truly unique holiday experience you have to visit Turraburra, also known as ‘Gracevale Station’. “Guesting” on Turraburra gives you the chance to get a hands-on insight into local culture, history and practices of the Traditional Peoples from the country.
Try harvesting seasonal bush foods such as bush bananas, lemon grass, quinine and blackberries, and experience one of the epic sunrise or sunset tours. Learn about The Dark Emu Constellations and the Seven Sisters Story (Indigenous astronomy), and participate in a cultural learning yarn around the campfire.
A visit to Turraburra gives families the perfect opportunity to disconnect from technology and re-connect through Country.
South-western Queensland outback tour
This underrated part of Australia has some of the most stunning scenery you can find. Our road trip took us towards Cunnamulla, around 800km inland from the coast. With kids we decided to break up the trip, overnighting in Dalby and St George, making it only a 3-4 hour drive each day.
One of the most amazing features of Charlotte Plains is the hot spring baths, with groundwater welling up at a balmy 42 degrees. The owners have installed bathtubs around the edge of the natural pools so you can relax in comfort while the kids kayak or swim.
Charlotte Plains offers camping right next to the hot springs, or you can choose accommodation with a camp kitchen a short 10km drive up the road (but still on the property!).
A definite ‘must do’ is to take a tour of the property. Kids will love riding in the minibus and spotting kangaroos and wild emus along the way, as well as walking through the old shearing shed and learning all about wool. They can even sit in the old camel wagon, from when camel tours were popular on the property.
Further west, Kilcowera Station is a cattle property where you can camp or treat yourself to a comfortable room in the shearing quarters.
The lagoon is perfect for kayaking, birdwatching, swimming, fishing, and yabbying, or you can go mountain biking, 4-wheel driving, or hiking. It’s definitely a place for making memories.
Something you wouldn’t expect in the outback is The Lake, just outside Quilpie. The lake is a beautiful natural oasis and home to many birds and native animals. It’s also home to goats, cattle, sheep and emu, and offers accommodation in the form of camping, private rooms, or a cute little cottage.
In the evening, families are welcome to use the camp kitchen to prepare meals and mingle. This is a great way to meet other families and for kids to make friends.
Moble Homestead is a perfect stopover for families with kids over 12 years old. The owners have developed a range of packaged experiences, including outback cookery classes, ironworking school, floristry lessons and photography masterclasses.
Adavale Way Farm Stay
On an Adavale Way Farm Stay, kids can participate in the feeding of many farm animals, including ducks, sheep and goats. There’s a fantastic cave walk nearby, and a dam and lagoon for yabbying and kayaking.
Townsville and west road trip
Our family adventure will take you west of Townsville along the Flinders Highway to cattle country, with an easily accessible little tropical fruit diversion south of Townsville, too.
For a “wild west” experience, take a horse-drawn wagon tour at Leahton Park, otherwise known as Texas in the Outback! You’ll see Texas Longhorn cattle with horns spanning up to an incredible 3 metres, along with other cattle from around the world including bison and buffalo! Your entertaining and informative tour includes cowboy coffee or billy tea brewed on the campfire, with homemade sweets.
Corella Creek Farm Stay
A Corella Creek Country Farm Stay offers peaceful budget camping and studio accommodation. As well as being a working small farmstead, the owners also run a wildlife sanctuary for injured and orphaned animals. Kids may be invited to participate in feeding and light farm duties, and the hosts offer cooking and art lessons too.
Cloncurry Stockman’s Challenge & Campdraft
July is the perfect time to visit Cloncurry, 780km west of Townsville. This is when the town hosts the Cloncurry Stockman’s Challenge & Campdraft. You can camp on site amongst visitors and competitors and witness one of the greatest annual horse events in Australia – 5 action-packed days of real ranch-style equestrianism and cattle driving!
Achacha Tropical Fruit Plantation
Heading south from Townsville, pop into the Achacha Tropical Fruit Plantation – the first of its kind in the world! Achacha is a highly prized tropical fruit with tangy refreshing taste, but that’s not all you will find at the plantation. You can see bees at work in the flow hives, and chickens enjoying the Solar Powered Chicken Caravan.
Exploring Bundaberg and North Burnett
This Bundaberg road trip itinerary is perfect for families with kids who want to explore Queensland farm life without heading too far away from Brisbane.
Marchioness B&B Farmstay
Marchioness B&B Farmstay is a mix of farm stay, home stay, and bed and breakfast all rolled into one. Here, you can choose the level of interaction and participation in everyday farm life: kick back and relax on the veranda or get as dirty as you like. Our family collected eggs and fed the chooks, played with the dogs, patted the horses and cattle, and fed them too!
Bakersfield Bison, Horses & Working Dogs
At the Bakersfield Bison, Horses & Working Dogs property, you don’t have to have a horse or working dog to enjoy all they have to offer. They host regular events where you can go and watch the dogs and bison at work, with demonstrations of stockmanship, with food and good company included. They also offer bush camping on site if you’d like to stay a little longer.
For an authentic cattle station experience, head to Jerakala Farmstay, 2 hours north of Bundaberg. This 30,000 acre property runs 900 head of Angus and Hereford cattle, plus pigs, horses and chickens. Here you get a fully safe-contained house with breathtaking views in every direction, and farm-fresh food.
Hogback by the Creek
You can bush-camp on the farm at Hogback by the Creek. This nature refuge is run as a cattle farm, with a seasonal creek and semi-permanent waterfall. Bring the gold pans and detectors as this site is at the base of Mt Rawdon gold mine!
You can also bush camp amongst the trees and cattle at Harmony Farm. Harmony Farm also offers half-day trail riding experiences to suit all skill levels, from open paddock, to mountain, and lush rain forest.
More to see in the North Burnett region
While you are in the North Burnett region, check out Gayndah’s Big Orange. It’s another one of Australia’s iconic “big” things to tick off your list when you stop for lunch!
The RM Williams Australian Bush Learning Centre in Eidsvold will take you on a journey of discovery of bush culture, history and arts. You can also enjoy an illuminating outdoor light show when you stay for an authentic camp oven meal under the stars.
If you travel there in April (every second even-numbered year), look out for the Eidsvold Cattle Drive. The Eidsvold Cattle Drive retraces a 70-kilometre portion of the traditional stock routes taken by drovers who would bring cattle from across Queensland for sale, culminating with a dinner under the stars with traditional entertainment at Eidsvold Show Grounds.
Ready for your own outback adventure?
Before you pack the kids in the car, you’ll want to read the full version of these articles. There are more suggested stops for places to experience and taste farm life and maps detailing locations so that you can plan your journey. Click the links at the bottom of each region to explore, or head to www.getoutwithkids.com.au/blog/australia/queensland
This is our second angritourism tour into outback Queensland. Read about our first tour here.