Outback Road Trips

Brisbane to Quilpie

This time we are heading way outback in an Apollo 4WD Adventure Camper. We’ve aiming to visit the Queensland National Parks that require a 4WD – west to Hell Hole and Birdsville; north to Lawn Hill; back via Porcupine Gorge, Blackdown Tableland and Robinson Gorge.

Friday 22 April 2022: Brisbane to Sandy Creek 200 km

We picked up our camper and luckily we got a brand new one. This is a new design with a full kitchen and fridge outside creating much more room inside. There’s solar charging, 6 x 12v power outlets in the rear and two spare tyres as well.
With our $30 Thunder Down Under portable toilet we can go anywhere

Sandy Creek Pub

Sandy Creek Pub is about 10 km west of Warwick (here are the photos) where we stayed last year.

The Darling Downs Hotel (locally known as the Sandy Creek Pub) opened in 1875. It operated as a coach stop, changing horses for Cobb & Co from 1880 until the railway opened in 1904. In the 1920s, the old Darling Downs Hotel was replaced with the current building. With free camping, cold beer and good pub food it was a great stop for our first night.

Saturday 23 April 2022: Sandy Creek to Bengalla Reserve 220 km

Warwick parkrun – a nice course along the Condamine River

We took the Sprint Route along secondary roads from the iconic Sandy Creek Raceway via Pratten and Leyburn and onto Karara.

The annual Historic Leyburn Sprints features cars ranging from the 1920’s through to modern classics racing around the 1.0 kilometre Leyburn street course.

A gum tree in the still flooded paddock
St James Anglican Church in Pratten opened in 1881
A decaying old house in Pratten
Karara train station
The line opened in 1904 but the train doesn’t run any more
At Karara we joined the Cunningham Highway which we had travelled along via Inglewood and Yelarbon (silos) in 2020. The pictures are here.
In December 2021 800 people were evacuated to the cemetery as flood waters rose. The town has recovered and is one of the cleanest, neatest towns we’ve seen.
Bengalla Reserve about 30 km east of Goondiwindi, is a large free camping area along the bank of the Dumaresq River (the NSW border).

Sunday 24 April 2022: Bengalla Reserve to Nindigully 200 km

We drove this way but in reverse on our second outback Queensland road trip in 2020 passing Goondiwindi, Toobeah, Talwood and the Weengallon aboriginal rock wells. The photos are here.

Goondiwindi Council Chambers, 1937
Giant cotton harvesters pull over to let us pass on the Barwon Highway
Sheep keep the grass mown while Talwood waits for a new policeman

Nindigully

We like Nindigully so much that we’ve now stayed here three times. Previous photos here and here.

We had to take on the Nindigully 5.5kg ROAD TRAIN BURGER challenge:
1.5kg meat patty, a 1kg bun, one entire lettuce, three large beetroots, a whole tin of pineapple slices, six tomatoes and 400 grams of cheese and 1kg of potato wedges, plus bonus onion rings.

Monday 25 April 2022: Nindigully to Charlotte Plains 310 km

Nindigully Pub at dawn

Charlotte Plains

Third time taking the waters in Charlotte Plains.
The previous photos are here and here.

First thing was to change a tyre that had picked up a nail
Relaxing in the artesian baths at Charlotte Plains
Black-fronted Dotterel also enjoying the artesian waters
Green Tree Frog swimming in the dunny
Flies are friendly at Charlotte Plains

Tuesday 26 April 2022: Charlotte Plains to Charleville 270 km

We drove from Charlotte Plains to Charleville vis Cunnamulla and Wyandra in 2020. Here are the photos. Just as well we got some photos then, today was miserable with rain on and off all day.

New in Cunnamulla – a laneway painted by Drapl and the Zookeeper 2022
They’ve done some fabulous silo art – here
We stayed at the Evening Star Tourist Park about 10 km west of Charleville
“Lamb Chops” checking the prices in the bar

Wednesday 27 April 2022: Charleville to Quilpie 210 km

Our original plan to go via Avadale and camp at Hell Hole Gorge didn’t work out as rain had closed the dirt road so instead we went along the bitumen to Quilpie. Photos from 2020 when the weather was better are here.

In December 2021 Quilpie Council marketed land as “essentially free” on the condition that buyers built a new house and live there for at least six months. That attracted hundreds of inquiries from across the globe. The reserve price was just $12,500 but the blocks sold for up to six times that!