The eastern gateway to the Channel Country, the south-western Queensland town of Quilpie is 217km west of Charleville.
Settled in the second half of the 19th century to service extensive sheep and cattle holdings, Quilpie is better known these days as an important centre for boulder opals and embraces some of the state's more productive mines - Pinkilla, Bulla Creek and, most notably, Haricks.
The altar, font and lectern in St Finbarr’s Roman Catholic Church in Quilpie have been faced with a veneer of opal-bearing rock.
The town, which flanks the Bulloo River, takes its name from the local Aboriginal word for the stone curlew, quilpeta, and all save one of the town’s streets have been named after birds.
The Quilpie mardi gras and annual racing carnival are held in September, a week before the thoroughbred spotlight turns to the singular Birdsville Races, 600-odd kilometres further along the track west.
Just 6km north along the river road to Avadale, Lake Houdrahan is a popular water sports and recreational areas.