Aussie bushies reckon you haven't experienced the true blue Outback until you have crossed the Thomson River on the Landsborough Highway run from Longreach to Winton.
And Winton, about 172km west of Longreach at the headwaters of the Diamantina River, is not only dinkum Outback, but was guaranteed a leading role in Aussie folklore in 1895 when A.B. (Banjo) Paterson wrote Australia's national song, Waltzing Matilda, while marooned by floodwaters on nearby Dagworth Station.
Paterson wrote the timeless ballad to a traditional Scottish marching song 'Bonnie Wood of Craigielea', played for him on the autoharp by Christiona Macpherson, daughter of his Dagworth Station hosts.
Waltzing Matilda was first sung in public in Winton's North Gregory Hotel on April 6, 1895. The Combo Waterhole (the billabong in Banjo’s ballad) is a fair drive away, but reeks of history, and you can hitch a ride to the gemstone fields on fossicking tours.
Wander down to the Swagman statue near the swimming pool in town, and pay a visit to the pioneer and the bottle museums.
A two-hour drive or tourist coach will take you to the extraordinary Lark Quarry Environmental Park - the only site in the world to preserve footprints of a dinosaur stampede.