Camperman: Campervan Hire Australia

Australian Outback

 

Cunnamulla to Townsville

Distance: 1,500 km | 16 hrs over 4 - 6 days 

Part of this road trip (from Cunnamulla to Karumba) is know as the Matilda Way. The tour meanders through the unique landscapes of Australia’s outback before returning east to the tropical coastal city of Townsville and the Great Barrier Reef. 
The nearest city to Cunnamulla is Brisbane (788 kms and 9.5 hours away). The Brisbane to Cunnamulla Drive joins this road trip.

If you are hiring a campervan from Camperman, you can  pick it up from 
Brisbane, the Gold Coast or Sydney and drop it off in Townsville (or vice versa). There are a range of road trips you can add on to this one. But more about that at the end of the article.

Outback Road Etiquette

If a truck approaches while travelling the outback roads, it is polite (and sensible) to pull over onto the side of the road and wait for it to pass. The trucker will thank you for it and you’ll protect your windscreen from flying rocks.

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The night skies will blow you away. Photo: OutbackQueensland via IG


Queensland Outback Itinerary (from Brisbane)

Brisbane to Cunnamulla
Day 1: Brisbane | Toowoomba |  Goondiwindi: 350 km | 4 h 15 min
Day 2: Goondiwindi | St George | Cunnamulla : 495 km | 5 hr 45 min

Cunnamulla to Townsville

Day 3: Cunnamulla | Charleville | Tambo: 400 km | 4 hr
Day 4: Tambo | Blackhall | Bacaldine | Longreach: 315 km | 3 hr 20 min
Optional: Day in longreach
Optional: Idalia, Welford and Lochern National Parks: 8 hr 40 min
Day 5: Longreach | Winton | Hughendon: 390 km | 4 hr
Day 6: Hughendon | Charters Towers | Townsville: 385km | 4 hr


Queensland Outback Itinerary (from Townsville)

Townsville to Cunnamulla 
Day 1: Townsville | Charters Towers | Hughendon: 385km | 4 hr 
Day 2: Hughendon | Winton | Longreach: 390 km | 4 hr
Optional: Day in Longreach
Optional: Idalia, Welford and Lochern National Parks: 8 hr 40 min 
Day 3: Longreach | Bacaldine | Blackhall | Tambo: 315 km | 3 hr 20 min
Day 4: Tambo | Charleville | Cunnamulla: 400 km | 4 hr

Cunnamulla to Brisbane
Day 5: Cunnamulla | St George | Goondiwindi: 495 km | 5 hr 45 min  min
Day 6: Goondiwindi | Toowoomba | Brisbane: 350 km | 4 h 15 

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Queensland Bottle Tree


Cunnamulla

Here begins the Matilda Way. Cunnamulla is an outback town where the handshake is stronger and the smile lasts longer – according to the locals. Slim Dusty put the town on the map with his song Cunnamulla Fella. The town honored him by erecting a bronze Slim Dusty statue in their main street. They also celebrate country music and outback culture with a Cunnamulla Fella Festival each November. 

Camping and Caravan Parks

  • Warrego Riverside Tourist Park has earned rave reviews. It is by the river with grassy sites and shady trees. FAcilities include hot showers, camp kitchen, BBQ area.
    RATES: Not available
  • Cunnamulla Tourist Park is in a grassy bush setting. Facilities include camp kitchen, BBQs, free WiFi, camp fire, showers, laundry and a kiosk.
    RATES: From $27 per night unpowered. $34 powered.
  • Charlotte PlainsBetween Cunnamulla and St George is a station where you can bathe in artesian waters. You can spend the night here in your campervan. Facilities are basic but you get to soak in the warm spring waters outdoors!
    RATES: $28 per night. 

cunnamulla

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Charlotte Plains

Charleville

Charleville has strong links with aviation history through Qantas and the pioneering Smith brothers. 

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Charleville Historic House. Photo: ABC

Tambo

Tambo Library is housed in a charming yellow and white historic house which doubles as the Tourist Information Centre. Here you can pick up maps for the Heritage Walk and Coolibah Walk. Tambo is also home to the Grassland Art Gallery.

Tambo Caravan Parks

There are two caravan parks in Tambo, both are highly reviewed and one has a saltwater swimming pool.

Blackhall

Blackall on the Barcoo River, has the pretty Five Mile Water Hole which is good for fishing. 

blackhall sculpture rolypoly

blackhall sculpture nest

Barcaldine

Barcaldine is the site of the revolutionary 1891 Shearers’ Strike. 

Detours

Detour the 100 km round trip to Starlight’s Lookout for sweeping views across the outback and plains. Then head back down to Longreach.

A 522 km (8 hr 40 min) detour between Blackall and Longreach will take in three national parks.

  1. Idalia National Park protects dense molga woodlands, craggy escarpments, great views, and several macropod (kangaroo and wallaby) species.
  2. Welford National Park is a little further on, has campervan-friendly campsites, red sand dunes, spinifex, ghost gums and river red gums.
  3. Lochern National Park, 150 km South West of Longreach, also has campervan friendly campsites. After the rain the parched channels will have transformed into wetlands teeming with life.

Camping

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Welford National Park. Photo: John Augusteyn

Longreach

Longreach is an outback town brimming with things to see and do so you may wish to spend a whole day here. 

Free Camping

If you made it to Longreach, pull up at the free campground beside Thompson River for the night. It’s a little out of town heading north. You may wish to spend two nights at Longreach so that you can give the town a full day (or more). But no matter where you spend the night, spread a picnic rug so you can lie back and star gaze miles from the city lights.

The Matilda Way ends here.

Winton

Winton is the town closest to Lark Quarry (110km, a two-hour drive) where hundreds of dinosaur footprints can be seen. You can fossick for opals, visit Arno’s Wall – a peculiar construction of rock, opal, and tractor parts -  and take in the views of Cawnpare Lookout. Winton is also very near Bladensburg National Park, a place of raw beauty, red rocks, stunning views from flat-topped mesas, grassy plains and river flats. 

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The views from Bladensburg National Park. Photo: TravellingAustralia.info

Hughendon

Hughendon is part of Australia’s Dinosaur Trail. Its volcanic mountains and sweeping black-soil plains are rich in fossils and dinosaur areas. 

For great views, drive to Mount Walker or visit the Porcupine National Park – Queensland’s little Grand Canyon. With its clear creek, vibrant sandstone cliffs, and dense vegetation it provides a striking contrast to the dry flat plains that surround it.

Hughenden Caravan Parks

Camping

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Porcupine Gorge. Photo: Australias Dinosaur Trail

White Mountain National Park

On your way through Prairie, stop for a cold drink or a cuppa at the haunted Prairie Hotel. The owners have created a unique atmosphere with their collection of stockman’s hats and other memorabilia.

White Mountains National Park has diverse landscapes of white sandstone bluffs and gorges, brilliant wildflowers, lancewood forests and sand dunes. Camping is available for campervans during the dry season, but during wet season (Nov – April) roads might be inaccessible.

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Views from White Mountains National Park. Photo: Cairns Unlimited

Charters Towers

Charters Towers enjoyed a rich and heady hey day during the gold rush. Victorian mansions with iron-lacework verandas and imposing public buildings still stand as a reminder. The handsome Stock Exchange Arcade building was built in 1887 and restored in 1972. Today it houses the National Trust office, a tourist office, a couple of galleries and shops, and a mining museum. The Zara Clark Museum, has an interesting collection on transport and lifestyle in the early Charter Towers. Explore gold mining at the Venus Battery and take a Texas Longhorn wagon tour of town.

Your next stop is the coastal city of Townsville. There are so many day trips and things to do in Townsville that we've dedicated separate articles to them. From Townsville there are a number of other road trips you can do.

Map of the Queensland Outback Drive

Add on Road Trips

If you feel like the adventure has just begun, there are plenty of road trips that you can add on to this one. All those listed below have Camperman drop off points.

From Brisbane

From Townsville

Map of Australia Road Trips

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Campervan Hire Depots

Adelaide

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South Australia 5033 Phone: 1800 216 223

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Phone: 1800 216 223

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Queensland 4870 Phone: 1800 216 223

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Victoria 3058 Phone: 1800 216 223

Sydney

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Sydney, NSW 2229 Phone: 1800 216 223

Townsville

167 Mount Low Parkway, Townsville,
Queensland 4814 Phone: 1800 216 223

 

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