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Townsville - Mount Isa & The Northern Territory
Outback Journey

Great DrivesThis Outback adventure reveals a very different aspect of Queensland. Far from the lush reef-fringed coast there are historic rural and mining towns, and wide brown lands characterised by their endless horizons.

After exploring the wonders of Australia’s largest tropical city, Townsville head out on the Flinders Highway, which will bring you to the beef region around Charters Towers, a once incredibly wealthy gold town is still full of numerous grand heritage buildings.

Further west, Hughenden’s main attraction is the Dinosaur Display, featuring a replica of the famous Muttaburrasaurus skeleton, and you can also take a drive to Porcupine Gorge National Park, a spectacular mini-version of the Grand Canyon. There are more remnants of a long-gone age at Richmond - the Marine Fossil Museum features over 200 fossils from the inland sea that once covered this region.

You’ll then pass through the cattle-trucking centre of Julia Creek, home to a rare marsupial, the Julia Creek dunnart. There is plenty to do in Cloncurry, an old copper mining town and the birthplace of Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service. Visit John Flynn Place, a museum that tells the extraordinary RFDS story, and the collection of minerals and old machinery at Mary Kathleen Memorial Park.

The Barkly Highway then leads to the city of Mount Isa, best known for its mining - this is the world’s biggest single producer of silver and lead. You can take fascinating underground and surface mine tours, visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service base, and spend time at the Riversleigh Interpretive Centre, where fossils are the main attraction.

Beyond Mount Isa, Camooweal lies just east of the Northern Territory border - if you wish to continue to the old gold mining town of Tennant Creek on the Territory’s Stuart Highway, it’s a 450 km drive from here.

Where to Stay

Time Required: This itinerary covers a great deal of ground, so at least a week is recommended.

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