Road trip to Outback Queensland | Australian Frequent Flyer
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Road trip to Outback Queensland

samh004

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This morning I started a journey into the outback unlike I have ever done before. Previously I have always flown everywhere I go (unsurprisingly) but on this trip I wanted to take in some of the sights in between the QantasLink route network.

Joining me on this 4-night journey is @Mattg, so I suppose this is technically a staff road trip, with him being the @AFF Editor and me being @support.

Our journey today takes us from South-East QLD, up the range to Toowoomba, through Dalby, Chinchilla and Miles, lunch at Roma and onwards to Charleville before nightfall.
 

drron

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We will miss you by a few days at Charville.Booked into the Cosmos motel in Charleville.Helps that it is on Shop Small. ;)
 

Mattg

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As @samh004 said, the route is from Brisbane to Longreach via Charleville, then on to Winton. We’ll then head to Emerald, where Sam will leave me and I will stay a few days longer before flying back to Brisbane.

I’m looking forward to visiting the Qantas Founders Museum again, and lots of other things along the way that I haven’t seen before!

The first day went well and I really enjoyed the cosmos tour here in Charleville. I think Sam got some good photos which he’ll post tomorrow.

We stopped along the way today in Dalby, Chinchilla and Roma. Here are a few photos from Chinchilla, the home of the Big Watermelon.

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When we arrived in Charleville, the Westlander train was about to depart for its trip back to Brisbane. The train is currently only running once per week and the trip takes twice as long as it does by car, but @EestiTiger seemed to enjoy the journey recently (see his post here - Regional Destinations - like we ain’t heading OS)

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We’re staying tonight at the historic (and currently somewhat unfortunately named) Hotel Corones.

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This was dinner at the hotel restaurant.

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I’m sure Sam will add a few more photos later. He’s got a much better camera than I do. 😉
 

LadyC

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It's great to see some local trips for inspiration. Obviously, it was schnitzel for the win at dinner!
 

samh004

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A clear night ahead
The Charleville Cosmos Centre 'Big Sky Observatory' tour was excellent. We started at 21:00 and it was freezing, especially with the wind... but seeing the stars through a $15,000 telescope, seeing the rings of Saturn 🪐 and the moon craters 🌕 really up close was great. I couldn't really get a photo through the telescope itself, but this is what my camera caught on a tripod.

Also, a couple shooting stars allowed me to make some wishes ;)

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Exposure information (but looks better on a retina display full size)

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samh004

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Plenty to see on the way out West. But on a whistle-stop tour it can be hard to take photos out the window. Most towns slow down to about 60KM/h, but not all!

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Rome lays claim to a lot of bottle trees, they're scattered all over town. This is the biggest in the town itself, but we felt we saw bigger ones as we travelled further West.

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Some light reading.

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Spotted near Roma's airport, but unfortunately long since permanently closed, otherwise these would have been the lucky door prizes at AFF#14!

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Lots of lovely landscapes between towns, though hard to photograph at 110KM/h out a window.

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Finally arriving at Charleville!

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An aptly named hotel to stay at. There is a lot of history behind this old place, they operated the first catering for Qantas, among other things, such as hosting famous people like Gough Whitlam.

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As Matt mentioned, a train left this evening for Brisbane.
 

samh004

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Our day began where it finished yesterday, but at the ungodly hour of 0600 when the fire alarm decided to ring in our room for a few seconds, before turning off. No fire, back to sleep. We ended up leaving Charleville at 0900 after a scorching artesian bore water shower – wish my shower at home was both as hot or powerful, but glad I don't have the smell.

First stop of the day was Augathella, just an hour up the road. The claim to fame here appears to be the meat ant, that can supposedly strip a carcass to bone in just a few weeks. Presumably it takes more than one, but certainly not an ant I'd like to meet. Augathella has a giant statue of one that we stopped to photograph.

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As I know AFFers have recently been getting into all things artsy on silos/water towers, we also got some snaps of some wonderful artwork on the Augathella water tower.

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samh004

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Our next stop was in Blackall, another 2.5 hours up the road. Here we took a tour of the 'Historic Blackall Wool Scour', the only one left in the country apparently. While not used in a commercial capacity, many of the machines still run and the tour was informative on the processes that formerly happened in the wool business. These days, most wool is chemically washed instead.

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As you can see, the original bore still flows freely and the water is lovely and warm.

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Something clearly evident are the differences in funding between the many tourist attractions in the outback. The wool scour for instance is barely operational and in some places looks about ready to collapse.

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The above and below machines were both operational to the point that they moved very slowly when the tour guide gave them some electrical power. Though there was no wool or water in the troughs to move along.

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Also in Blackall is 'The Black Stump', the spot the Surveyor General took measurements from in 1887 to map the entire state. Though the thing about this is, that's not the actual stump, as the original was destroyed by fire. Despite this, tourists such as myself take photos of a fake ;)

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samh004

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Another 2 hours up the road we finally arrived at Longreach. A quick chat to the CEO of the Founders Museum and to check out the new Airpark structure and then we checked in to our accommodation. It really is an amazing piece of engineering. My photos from late this afternoon do not do it justice and I hope to get some better ones tomorrow.

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This evening we did the Luminescent Longreach tour, an experience that has only been open for 5 weeks and I have to say, is incredible. It's a light and sound show that uses the 4 planes in the Airpark as canvases to project the story of Qantas onto. The story itself is incredibly well thought out and the projections are stunning. I wish I could show you how amazing it was, but they have a rule of no photography. If you're looking for an experience like no other, I can safely recommend this, especially at this crucial time when travel is very limited. They've done a terrific job!

Tomorrow: we take a tour of the Airpark, and then head to Winton and the Age of Dinosaurs.
 

EestiTiger

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Heading to Longreach in a week's time so I am looking forward to your report. I wasn't planning on doing the Luminescent show but I think you have talked me into it :)
 

samh004

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Heading to Longreach in a week's time so I am looking forward to your report. I wasn't planning on doing the Luminescent show but I think you have talked me into it :)
You won’t regret it, but as everything has contact tracing requirements right now you need to book early so places on tours don’t fill up.

I’ll be posting more photos from our Airpark tour that we did this morning, later tonight I hope.

Next stop today is to see some dinosaurs!
 

samh004

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My god, what another jam-packed day we have had. Our first engagement of the day was at the museum before it even opened, an interview with Tony Martin, the CEO, which you can hear on tomorrows podcast. It was a very informative interview and I am sure you will all enjoy it if you do tune in.

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The Airpark tour itself took in the 747, 707, DC3 and Super Constellation. The first three have been at the museum a while, so I'm not going to focus much on them, however the Super Constellation exhibit has only been open for 5 weeks, and it stunning inside. My photos don't do it justice with the amount of work and information that is displayed. Certainly, a must-see if you want to re-connect with the past.

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A panorama to complete the set.

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samh004

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Following the Founders Museum Airpark tour we quickly hightailed it up the road to the Australian Age of Dinosaurs, just outside Winton. We arrived about 10 minutes late, but didn't miss much and were treated to nearly 3 hours of tours taking in how the process fossils, the collection room full of many original and highly valuable bones and finally stage one of a multi-year upgrade that will one day bring a 6,000 sq m natural history museum to Winton.

Seriously, the amount of money being invested in these outback museums is huge. What people don't realise/the common misconception is that these are regional museums, when the reality is that these are better than some museums you'll find in capital cities, but they're in regional locations. There's no lack of infrastructure, architectural or technological ingenuity out here just because of the location.

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And a couple panoramas.

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Mattg

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The interview that Sam was talking about is now available on podcast feeds -

In that post, you can also see a picture of the 747 lit up in Wunala colours. This is something that you can see in the spectacular new Luminescent Longreach show.
 

samh004

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This morning we headed down the road to Lark Quarry to see the Dinosaur Stampede (only one in the world)! I will be posting more photos later, but while I sit in the passenger seat I’m able to post a few from my phone. First, a couple panoramas.

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You’ll normally find me behind the lens, but I kindly posed on a cold, windy morning with the Lark Quarry facility behind me.

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samh004

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After a marathon 950KM drive home today (starting at 0700 and arriving at 1900), from Emerald, through Biloela, Mundubbera and Gympie... I am finally home, and exhausted. I have all my photos on the computer but you'll have to wait until tomorrow for the past few days photos to be posted and a recap on the adventure.
 

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