Top outback Queensland museums
From dinosaurs and doctors to swagmen and a Super Constellation.
Check out these museums on your next trip to Longreach, Winton and surrounds.
Qantas Founders Museum, Longreach
The Qantas Founders Museum is easily one of the best museums in Outback Queensland. Whether you’re an aviation buff or just think of aircraft as a transport option, the museum’s collection of planes, historical artefacts and interactive exhibits brings Queensland’s unique aviation history to life. The highlight of the museum is a guided tour of the Airpark which houses four aircraft, including the new Super Constellation, significant to Qantas’ history. The Airpark is one of only two places in the world that you can stand inside a jet engine and the only place you can walk on the wing of a Boeing 747. At night Luminescent Longreach, a stunning multimedia light show, is projected on to the side of the 747, detailing Qantas’ history and its importance to Longreach and the world – see a sneak peek here.
Cost: $30 - $195 per adult.
Must do: Boeing 747 wing walk and Luminescent Longreach light show.
Tip: Allow a full day to explore the museum, plane park and light show. Bring a water bottle to the Airpark.
Waltzing Matilda Centre, Winton
The first museum in the world dedicated to a song, the Waltzing Matilda Centre delves into the history of the iconic Banjo Patterson composition. The museum uses the song as a steppingstone to the stories of the bush, celebrating the roles of swagmen, farmers, migrants, women and Indigenous Australians during the 19th century. Highlights include an immersive audiovisual experience that describes what it feels like to experience rain after years of doubt – something that is still relevant to modern-day outback Queenslanders.
Cost: $32 per adult.
Must do: Check out the 500+ recordings of Waltzing Matilda, including Irish folk, metal and jazz versions.
Tip: Grab lunch at the North Gregory Hotel across the road where Banjo Patterson first performed Waltzing Matilda.
Australian Age of Dinosaurs, Winton
Once part of a vast inland sea, outback Queensland has become a treasure trove for palaeontologists and fossil hunters. The Australian Age of Dinosaurs is a working research facility and houses the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaurs. Join the Ultimate Dinosaur tour to go behind the scenes to discover how dinosaur fossils are discovered and try your hand at excavating. Take the electric shuttle bus to Dinosaur Canyon to walk among life-size dinosaur replicas.
Cost: $30 - $95 per adult.
Must do: Grab a VIP pass for entry to the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument, two hours from Winton.
Tip: Bring a hat, sunscreen and water bottle as much of the museum is outside.
Machinery Mile, Ilfracombe
A great place to stretch your legs when travelling along the Landsborough Highway, Ilfracombe’s Machinery mile in an outdoor display of machinery collected within 160km of the town. Maintained by volunteers, the Mile is a timeline of pastoral evolution in the area and includes farm equipment, vehicles, machinery and wagons. Rare pieces include the one-of-a-kind Steam Devil and a 1917 Ruston Proctor Tractor, one of only two in the world. Kids can let out some energy by climbing into the driver seat of some of the pieces of vehicles. Be sure to check out the war memorabilia and marine fossil display in the Romani Hall at the beginning of the Mile.
Cost: Free (donations box available).
Must do: Check out the horse-drawn Steam Devil – the only excavator of its kind in the world.
Tip: Grab a takeaway coffee or cold drink across the road at the Wellshot Hotel and have a picnic at the shaded picnic table at the end of the Mile.