Eighty-two kilometres south-west of Bowen, Collinsville and the bush communities on a first-class road offer travellers a striking scenic contrast to the tropical coastline.
Shortly after leaving the Bruce Highway, the road passes small crop farms bordering the Don River before departing the plains to enter rolling cattle country and the village of Binbee with its Dingo’s Boudoir - an old church which has been converted into a repository of restored antiques.
About another 30km on is Collinsville, a town of 2,500 citizens whose destiny has been shaped by coal, the 'black gold'. A Peter Lawson mural dominates the main street, and a tour of the Scottville mine reveals all about open-cut mining.
The rocky outcrops and hills in the Collinsville-Binbee hinterland are famous for their sapphires, amethyst crystals and opalised woods and attract a constant flow of dedicated fossickers.