14 Day Corner Country Simpson Desert 4WD Tour
This is your opportunity to experience the most isolated and most iconic areas on the Australian continent. We will ensure that you have a safe drive through one of the last great wilderness areas of Australia.
The 14 Day Corner Country Simpson Desert Tour is packed with iconic destinations. At the end of this tour you will have:
- Travelled on the Warrego and Newell Highways, Diamantina and Birdsville Developments Roads, Cordillo Downs, Glenn Hope and Jobs Gate Roads, QAA Line, K1 Line, French Line, Rig Rd, Warburton, Birdsville and Strzelecki Track, and
- Visited the Borders of NT, NSW, SA and QLD, Poeppel, Haddon and Cameron Corners, The Corner Store, Dig Tree, Big Red, Simpson, Strzelecki and Stoney Desert, Innamincka and Strzelecki and Sturt National Parks.
(The route may change in according with safety, weather and road conditions or at the direction of the Tour Leader.)
The itinerary is as follows:
Day 1: Meet at Yowie Park Kilcoy to Mitchell and Welcome Dinner;
Day 2: Mitchel to Charleville;
Day 3: Charleville to Windorah;
Day 4: Windorah to Birdsville for 3 nights 2 days;
Day 5: Birdsville and Poeppel Corner;
Day 6: Poeppel Corner to Birdsville;
Day 7: Birdsville to Innamincka;
Day 8: Innamincka sightseeing day;
Day 9: Innamincka to Tibooburra via Cameron Corner;
Day 10: Tibooburra to Eulo;
Day 11: Eulo to Lightning Ridge 2 nights 1 day;
Day 12: Lightning Ridge sightseeing day;
Day 13: Lightning Ridge to Goondiwindi and Farewell Dinner; and
Day 14: Goondiwindi to Kilcoy or to individual destination
Day 1: Kilcoy to Mitchell
Today we gather at Yowie Park Kilcoy 8:00am when we will conduct a tour check-in, cover the workplace health and safety requirements and complete any outstanding administration requirements.
After completing the WHS and administration requirements we will check vehicles and communications equipment.
When you are happy that all is well with your vehicle and gear we will head off to Mitchell. We travel along the Warrego Highway through Dalby, Miles, Roma to Mitchell.
Accommodation at Mitchell will be at Bonus Downs Farmstay. Our Welcome Dinner will kick- off around 6:30pm which is being held in the Jackaroo’s Cottage.
Mitchell is in the Western Downs district of the Maranoa Region, Queensland, Australia. The town services the local area, a cattle and sheep farming district with a population of 1,300.
Day 2: Mitchel to Charleville
Today starts with a surprise number one, so we will not be heading off to Charleville until just before lunch.
The drive along the Warrego Highway to Charleville is straight forward passing through Mungallala, Morven and Sommariva. Charleville is located 740 km West North West of Brisbane with a population of 3500 and is known as the "hub" of the South West. The area around Charleville was first explored by Edmund Kennedy during his 1847 journey through the area.
William Tully a pioneer surveyor name Charleville after his childhood home in County Cork, Ireland but the name is French. With the rapid development of Charleville, came a Pub on every corner, a local cordial works, four saw mills, butcheries and most importantly, the rail line in 1888. Being on a permanent water hole meant Charleville was a popular stopover for drovers using the extensive network of stock routes in the area. Even Cobb & Co had a coach building factory there from 1893-1920.
Accommodation is the Hotel Corones Charleville, offers accommodation with the ambience of yesteryear and comfort of today. Hotel Corones Charleville has newly renovated Executive Motel Rooms with parking at the door. The hotel is well known as one of the truly iconic hotels in the heart of the Outback, the history of the hotel goes back to its construction from 1924 – 1929. This magnificent Building has a giant foot print in the heart of Charleville, a must to visit.
Day 3: Charleville to Windorah 551km ETA 7 hrs.
Today is an early start as a long way to go 7 hours or so along the Diamantine Development Road, (DDR). Today the topography changes with both the natural and artificial physical features of the area. We are moving into “Road Train” territory the roads are narrower the foliage is getting lower and is sparser.
We will stop at Quilpie for surprise number two and a visit to the Visitor Information Centre, Museum and Gallery located in Brolga Street.
On to Windorah with its panorama of giant red sandhills, Windorah is in the heart of the Channel Country, beside Cooper's Creek. Windorah's history is linked with Isisford for it was the Whitman brothers who established both towns. Originally known as Stony Point, its current name is the Aboriginal word for 'place of large fish'. This relates to Cooper's Creek, which is formed by the junction of the Thomson and Barcoo Rivers just south of Jundah. Cooper Creek at Windorah is a top fishing spot, ideal for birdwatching and enjoying watersports with a waterhole about 19 kilometres in length and up to 10 metres deep. The channels can spread floodwaters up to 100 kilometres wide as they flow towards Lake Eyre. The main industry is cattle grazing, due to the abundance of Mitchell Grass and other herbage that is available after heavy rainfall.
Accommodation is the Western Star Hotel Motel. It is an iconic pub filled with all the character and friendly locals that only outback pubs acquire. The Western Star is a unique family owned, and operated Hotel and Motel in the heart of Queensland’s Channel Country.
Day 4: Windorah to Birdsville for 3 nights 2 days 379km.
This is an easy day to Birdsville as The Diamantina Developmental Road is sealed from Windorah to the junction with the Birdsville Developmental Road. The Developmental Roads are maintained frequently. However, after rain they can be quite rough, with washouts and deep wheel ruts and it is still “Road Train” country.
At the end of the famous Birdsville Track is the frontier town of Birdsville, Abundant with birdlife, fish, yabbies and many small marsupials, Pelican Point is located just outside of the town in a branch of the Diamantina River with plenty to see.
Birdsville is a small town and locality in the Shire of Diamantina, Queensland, Australia, with a population of 140. Birdsville is located on land traditionally owned by the Wangkanguru People, in the Channel Country of Central West Queensland, Australia.
Accommodation is at the Birdsville Lodge, and in conjunction with The Birdsville Caravan Park are now offering quality affordable outback lodging that will suit any budget. The Birdsville Lodge which is situated on Graham Street is offering stylish desert accommodation with modern facilities.
“Tonight, is dinner and drinks in the famous Birdsville Pub.”
Day 5 & 6 Birdsville and Poeppel Corner area
Day 5:- Birdsville to Poeppel Corner 127km travel time unknown
Today is the big day of the tour from Birdsville to Poeppel Corner. This is a big day and will be the hardest on equipment and vehicles. The plan is to be on top of “Big Red”, for the sun rise over the Simpson Desert at 7:00am.
Then a drive over the first 200 or so of the 1,117 sand dunes that make up the Simpson Desert on our way to Poeppel Corner. It is 127km to Poeppel Corner, however travel time will be dependent on traffic and conditions.
I am planning on arriving at Poeppel Corner mid to late-afternoon. We will make camp for our night under the stars and have happy hour at Poeppel Corner with members of the tour in different state.
Day 6:- Poeppel Corner to Birdsville 390km expect a 5 or 6 hours trip
The distance to Birdsville is 390km so we can expect a 5 or 6 hour trip. That means that at the end of today we can say we have travelled on the QAA Line, K1 Line, French Line, Rig Rd, Warburton Track and the Birdsville Track. We will also have visited Poeppel Corner, the Borders of SA, NT & QLD and crossed Big Red.
We should be back in Birdsville by mid-afternoon. The rest of the day would be a rest day to make and mend.
Accommodation for the three nights in Birdsville, day 4, 5 and 6, will be at the Birdsville Lodge or with one night under stars. depending on which accommodation package you chose.
Day 7 & 8 Birdsville to Innamincka 410km ETA 6 hrs
Day 7:- Today we trace the Burke and Will’s trail east along the Birdsville Developmental Road to Innamincka some 419kms away. Along the way we will visit Haddon Corner. We should arrive at Innamincka mid-afternoon just in time to shower and get ready for Happy Hour.
Innamincka is located on the banks of the Cooper Creek in the North East of South Australia and has a population of about 12-15 people. However, itinerant workers e.g. backpackers and mining workers swell the number at times to over a 100. It is an area rich in history diverse in explorers, Indigenous, pastoral, and natural history.
Accommodation is at the Cooper Creek Homestay in Innamincka.
Day 8:- The Innamincka Regional Reserve covers 1.3 million hectares which is 5019 square miles with over 200 species of birds calling it home.
Today we will visit Burke and Wills’ Home Camp and see the iconic Burke and Wills Dig Tree and explore the restored Australian Inland Mission building.
If available we will visit the Cooper Creek from Innamincka to Wills’ grave, Burke’s grave, and see John King’s Marker sole survivor of the Burke and Wills expedition.
Day 9 Innamincka to Tibooburra via Cameron Corner 454kms ETA 7 hrs
After a tad of shopping therapy, it’s off to Tibooburra, formerly known as The Granites, began as a gold-rush town when gold was discovered early in the 1880s in the region known as the Albert Goldfields. This extended from Mt Browne, Milparinka, Mt Poole through to "The Granites".
In those early days the township was described as" a conglomerate township, the building stone of the district being a fine sandstone having been made liberal use of its construction, as well as galvanized iron, packing cases and their metal linings..."
Accommodation is The Family Hotel, is an elegant two-storey sandstone building. It is the oldest of the two hotels left remaining in Tibooburra and was built of locally cut sandstone in 1882. The sandstone was transported to town by horse and cart and then hand-cut and hand- chipped to form the beautiful stone structure which remains today. Locally it is known as the "Two-Storey"
Day 10 Tibooburra to Eulo 416km ETA 8 hrs
Today we are off to Eulo along the Cut Line and Glen Hope Road with a stopover at Artesian Mud Baths, (Surprise number three).
Set amidst the mulga, Eulo is a delightful green haven for travellers. Following drought, recent record rainfall has once again transformed this beef, wool and honey producing area into a carpet of native grasses and herbages. In the spring, seasonal conditions considered, the surrounding bush comes alive with wildflowers.
Once the bustling main centre for the opal miners, the area was chosen for settlement given its proximity to a good waterhole on the Paroo River.
Artesian water opened up the Outback and the unique town of Eulo (population 48) was settled because of its position on the stock route which was on the banks of one of the best water holes of the pristine Paroo River.
Accommodation is at the Eulo Queen Hotel and Caravan Park, lies on the tourist trail in the hub of Paroo Shire opal, bee keeping and grazing country. The main route to all western Queensland tourist attractions runs past the front door. The historic Eulo Queen Hotel and Caravan Park is operated by Jeffrey and Janelle Jackson who invite you to enjoy their country style hospitality in relaxing and picturesque surround
Day 11 & 12 Eulo to Lightning Ridge 2 nights 1 day 537km ETA 7 hrs
Today are the back roads to Lightning Ridge over the Jobs Gate Road pass the Culgoa Floodplain National Park.
Lightning Ridge, is famous for magnificent opals and is also home to the unique black opal, a rare and luminous gem mined from the surrounding plains.
There is so much to see and do in Lightning Ridge that Day 12 is put aside so we can visit the town’s many opal stores like the Opal Bin, where raw opals are polished into shimmering gemstones and rare and precious stones are on display. We can also venture into the mine site where opal was once mined and try your hand at fossicking.
A swim in the Lightning Ridge’s Artesian Bore Baths, water from deep underground flows into an outdoor pool at a constant 42C. Enjoy the warm water on a cool evening when stars fill the sky.
The Bottle House Museum exhibits fascinating local artefacts - and is a former home made entirely out of bottles. You can also explore memorabilia at the Lightning Ridge Heritage Cottage Museum, housed in a 1932 miner's hut. Visit the Black Hand Opal Mine Art Cave for fabulous engravings carved in an underground mine.
The John Murray Art Gallery displays the work of this local artist whose vivid acrylic and watercolour paintings capture life, work and play in Lightning Ridge.
Accommodation is at Opal Caravan Park, is in a quiet bushland setting. Only three minutes from the heart of Lightning Ridge, Black Opal Country. Featuring modern facilities, spacious drive through sites and self-contained cabin, this outback accommodation venue is bound to delight. The Opal Caravan Park is a member of the Top Parks Chain, it is the perfect starting point to explore all that Lightning Ridge has to offer.
Day13 Lightning Ridge to Goondiwindi 386km ETA 5 hrs
The road to Goondiwindi via Moree takes us along the Gwydir and the Newell highway to the border of QLD and NSW.
Sitting peacefully on the banks of the Macintyre River at the junction of five major highways, Goondiwindi is a well-established border town. Its name was derived from an Aboriginal word Goonawinna meaning "the resting place of the birds" - and it's just the place to relax and rest a while. With all you could want by the way of amenities, an interesting history to explore, great food and warm country hospitality, it'll be time well spent.
The Queensland/ New South Wales border is marked by the great Macintyre River, which creates a scenic backdrop for this friendly and prosperous country town. Home to around 6,000 locals and servicing approximately 15,000, its neat tree-lined streets, well maintained public buildings, sporting facilities and relaxed town centre are a good measure of the community spirit and civic pride you’ll find here.
Accommodation is at the iconic Victoria Hotel, it has been newly renovated and features the most outstanding architecture in Goondiwindi. Situated in the heart of the main street, it is an ideal place for a cold drink, a tasty meal or an overnight stay. Better still, stay for several days while you enjoy all the Goondiwindi region has to offer.
Tonight, we will have our farewell dinner as tomorrow we head home to the Sunshine Coast or Brisbane.
Day 14: Sun 26th August, Goondiwindi to Kilcoy 347km ETA 5 hrs to home
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