5th Wheeler Caravanning Trip from Charleville to Birdsville, Western QLD
Considering going on a caravanning holiday soon? Far Western Queensland from Charleville to Birdsville is a popular trip amongst caravaners around this time of year (June/July). Being an outback holiday destination, the distances are further, but the variety of things you can do and see are surprising - just do some planning before you go! To help you out, here are some ideas that you must do when visiting the areas of Charleville, Quilpie, Windorah and Birdsville:
Charleville is located 740km west of Brisbane and is the largest town in South West Queensland with a population of around 3,500. The town is rich in history dating back to 1847 and has a range of things you can do whilst being amongst the great Australian Outback. The “Bilby Experience” is a top attraction on our list for things to do. The program is only open till October but is an experience you will not regret! You can meet a rare Bilby and learn all about these fascinating, endangered marsupials. Play your part to save this unique animal by joining the Save the Bilbies fund while you are there.
Travelling on to a totally different experience, the Cosmos Centre is our next favourite attraction in Charleville. You must visit the centre at night time when the roof opens up for visitors to use the extreme telescopes that probe the skies - for you to see the distant stars up-close. There really is nothing like exploring the magnificent outback sky free-of-light so you have a clear view of the stunning stars. If you can’t visit the night session, there is a theatre with movies, as well as displays open during the day.
Charleville also has a School of Distance Education which was established in conjunction with the Royal Flying Doctors Service. If you want to see how school differs for the 260 children in this remote region (often there is only one child per class), guided tours of the school are available. If you’re more interested in the Royal Flying Doctor Service then they have a visitor centre where you can learn about the base and their services covering an area of approximately 622,000 square kilometres within South West Queensland.
Travelling 211km west of Charleville in your 5th wheeler, you will reach the town of Quilpie. Known as the “opal town”, there is no surprise that fossicking is at the top of our ‘to do’ list. When you enter Quilpie, make sure you stop at the Quilpie Museum and Shire. Here you can gain an understanding of the town’s railway and opal history as well as view an exhibition by local artists and receive your fossickers permit from the Information Centre. Just two kilometers from town, you can visit the free fossickers area to search for the precious boulder opal gem. Alternatively you can travel to the opal mines of Duck Creek and Sheep Station Creek located 40km from Toompine. If you just want to relax, or do a bit of photography, Quilpie offers stunning landscapes with extensive bird life and animals for you to enjoy.
The Channel Country Tourist Park in Quilpie provides caravan sites and has great facilities including a hot artesian spa and their own opal fossicking area within the grounds!
A further 3 hours west (247km) of Quilpie is the town of Windorah, near Coopers Creek - known as the ‘Heart of the Channel Country’. You will want to visit this town if you want a real outback experience! There might not be not much to do here (apart from fill-up at the petrol station), however the nearby expansive red sandhills, vistas, ruins and historical sites offer a picturesque landscape worth seeing.
The Windorah Caravan Park is close to the town’s services and has plenty of room to park your 5th Wheeler.
Looking to caravan even further west into the Outback? Five hours (386km) west from Windorah is Birdsville - situated right on the edge of the Simpson Desert. You're pretty much guaranteed to have sunny weather here as it only rains on average 22 days each year (the climate is very arid). You will be happy to know that there is a famous pub, the Birdsville Hotel, where you can enjoy air-conditioning, a cold drink at the bar, soak in the atmosphere and view local memorabilia. The town is the starting point of the historic and renowned Birdsville Track, developed in the 1860s as one of Australia’s first major cattle routes, and later as the mail run made famous in the 1950’s movie with Tom Kruse. The track has now been upgraded to accommodate four-wheel drive vehicles so you will be able to caravan this extremely barren yet spectacular tourist route quite easily.
The Birdsville Caravan Park is situated along the banks of the Birdsville Billabong, and within walking distance of the famous Birdsville Pub - everything in Birdsville is within walking distance.
When you are travelling to these outback towns, make sure you carry plenty of fresh water, supplies, fuel and spare parts for your caravan in case of emergencies. You will need an offroad 5th Wheeler caravan - have a look at the Ormiston 630 Offroad or the Strzelecki 520 Offroad which are both manufactured by Winjana 5th Wheelers. Don’t forget to make your caravan park bookings in advance to avoid any problems, check road conditions, and check if bookings are required for any attractions that you want to see along the way.