Big Red

Follow an old Cobb & Co route across Queensland on the aptly-named Adventure Way from Brisbane to one of the outback’s most iconic towns, Birdsville.

Brisbane, Nindigully, Cunnamulla, Noccundra, Innamincka, Birdsville

 

 

Distance  1892 kilometres 
Travel time  5 days
Time of year to go  April to September
Vehicle type  4WD
Best bakery  Birdsville Bakery
Highlights  Nindigully Pub, riverside camping, the Dig Tree, Cooper Creek, Birdsville Pub.
RACQ safety tip  Check Queensland and South Australia road conditions, bring food, water and fuel supplies. Take a break every two hours.
 

(Note. There is a more direct from Brisbane to Birdsville, alternative route suitable for 2WD vehicles, travelling 1581km via Roma and Windorah.)

Brisbane to Nindigully, 501km

(via State Route 85)

Your first day on the road is a big one as you clock up the kilometres winding up and over the up the range to Toowoomba – celebrated for its springtime gardens – and south-west to Goondiwindi, where the traffic disappears, the sky gets larger and you can stretch your legs on the riverside walk along the banks of the Macintyre River. Continue west along the Barwon Hwy to tiny Nindigully, where the pub, Queensland’s oldest, starred in the Hugh Jackman and Claudia Karvan film, Paperback Hero. The steaks – and hospitality – are legendary.

Nindigully to Cunnamulla, 340km

(via Balonne Hwy/State Route 49)

Try some wine from Queensland's most western winery, Riversands Winery, near St George, say hello to the Cunnamulla Fella outside the visitors centre and ask for directions to the famous Robber’s Tree, or follow the Warrego River Walk and go for a slide down the Cunnamulla Sandhill on the edge of town.

Cunnamulla to Noccundra, 340km

(via Adventure Way, Cunnamulla Rd and Bundeena Rd)

Enjoy an artesian mud bath at Eulo, fossick for boulder opal at Yowah, and if you’ve got an extra day or two at your disposal take a 4WD detour down the Dowling Track into Currawinya National Park, one of the country’s most important inland waterbird habitats with lovely riverside camp sites. There’s more fantastic waterfront camping at Noccundra, too, with the bonus that it’s only a few hundred metres from the historic Noccundra pub.

Noccundra to Innamincka, 311km

(via Innamincka Rd)

The bitumen disappears at the South Australian border just beyond the turn-off to Nappa Merrie Station, home of Australia’s most famous carved coolabah, the Dig Tree, where explorers Burke and Wills discovered they had been abandoned by their back-up party. Despite its tragic history, Cooper Creek, where the ill-fated explorers perished, is a beautiful place to camp, fish, swim and paddle – you can hire kayaks at the Innamincka Hotel

Innamincka to Birdsville, 400km

(via Cordillo Downs Rd and Birdsville Developmental Rd/State Route 14)

It’s a dusty 4WD adventure across rolling sand dunes and vast gibber plains strewn with smooth wind-polished and sand-blasted stones and, if you’re lucky enough to be here after rain, lots of yellow and white wildflowers. Stop at Cordillo Downs half way and check out the historic curved woolshed made of stone. By the time you get to Birdsville you’ll have well and truly earned a kangaroo and claret pie from the bakery and a cold drink at the outback’s most photographed pub.

Images by Tourism and Events Queensland and Reichlyn Aguilar.

 

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