DIAMANTINA VISITORS’ GUIDE
BIRDSVILLE • BEDOURIE • BETOOTA
WHERE ADVENTURES BEGIN
Outback pubs, wild places, there is so much to see and do in the Diamantina Region
WELCOME TO COUNTRY
We acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, all of whom have a deep attachment to the Diamantina Shire. We hope that you also are able to experience all of its beauty. We wish you a safe journey and ask that you respect this land and its traditions, past and present, by leaving Country as you find it.
DIAMANTINA WHERE ADVENTURES BEGIN
The Diamantina, home to the legendary townships of Birdsville, Bedourie and Betoota, is the heart of the outback and a rewarding travel destination. THE DIAMANTINA SHIRE is true frontier country. Its people, heritage, stories, places, landscapes and wildlife blend together to create an authentic old-world Australian destination – with a modern twist. People come from across the globe to visit, and those who live as part of the local community are from culturally diverse backgrounds, bringing with them a unique array of experiences and energies. The Diamantina is a land of extremes; searing hot days and freezing nights, flood and drought, rare flora and fauna, national parks, Channel Country, the wide red desert, and glorious space as far as the eye can see. Teeming with wildlife, the area is home to one of the world’s most fragile and unique desert ecosystems.
Rich in natural, cultural and pastoral heritage, the Diamantina covers 95,000 square kilometres, yet is home to just 11 cattle stations and 300 residents. It captures the very essence of Australia’s outback, and is accessible to most vehicles, caravans and motor homes. Experience a 4WD adventure of epic proportions on a Simpson Desert crossing, trek through the stunning Diamantina National Park and gaze in wonder at the Channel Country, a rich tapestry of vast gibber and grass plains stretching to the horizon. For the best Diamantina experience, visit us between March and October.
The Diamantina Visitors’ Guide
BIRDSVILLE SEE IT TO BELIEVE IT!
At the end of the famous Birdsville Track is the frontier town of Birdsville. Deep in the heart of wild and isolated country, Birdsville is situated between the eastern edge of the Simpson Desert, the vast gibber plains of Sturtâ€™s Stony Desert to the south and rich Channel Country to the north.
ONCE A NOTORIOUS PLACE through which cattle drovers moved their stock, Birdsville is now a thriving modern community where you can enjoy a cold drink at the iconic Birdsville Hotel or back a winner at the world-renowned Birdsville Races. Watch the sun set over Big Red, the tallest sand dune in the Simpson Desert, explore the Australian Inland Mission Hospital Museum, or spend an unforgettable day with family and friends at the Birdsville Billabong, where birdlife, fish, yabbies and marsupials abound. Birdsville is also home to a sporting complex, gallery, bakery, air services, motel, hotel, caravan park and cabin accommodation, general store, post office, medical clinic, fuel, auto services and a police station. If you’ve always wanted to, now is the time to tick Birdsville off your bucket list!
BIRDSVILLE HOTEL It’s impossible to come to Birdsville without popping into the historic Birdsville Hotel which was built in 1884. The Birdsville Hotel is recognised all over the world and is one of the most famous outback hotels, attracting many tourists to the far-flung town. These days, the hotel boasts 27 modern motel units, a guest laundry and a tranquil beer garden. The front bar displays some great historical memorabilia. EFTPOS and ATM facilities are also available.
BIRDSVILLE CARAVAN PARK Birdsville Caravan Park is ideally situated on the banks of the Birdsville Billabong. Hire a kayak to explore the billabong or a push bike to discover all Birdsville has to offer. The park has powered
sites, 12 cabins (three with ensuites), an amenities block and plenty of camping sites.
Quality accommodation that will suit the new age adventurer who seeks thrills, but wants to travel in comfort and rest in quality accommodation. All rooms have ensuites and modern facilities. There is a spacious on-site camp kitchen and laundry which is available to all guests.
The Birdsville Roadhouse, opposite the caravan park, provides all of the necessities for the traveller, including fuel, mechanical and tyre repairs, groceries and a range of souvenir products. The Birdsville Roadhouse also acts as the local RACQ agent and is the contact for desert and remote recoveries.
BIRDSVILLE FUEL SERVICES*
Located opposite the Birdsville Hotel, Birdsville Fuel Services provides fuel, vehicle and tyre repairs. A small range of grocery and souvenir items are also available. The Australia Post outlet is located at Birdsville Fuel Services.
Say hi to the team at the Birdsville Bakery. Tuck into a Curried Camel or Kangaroo & Claret pie, grab a sausage roll on the run, or sit down and enjoy a cuppa and a great breakfast. One of Australia’s few licensed bakeries, there’s a modest selection of beer and wine.
*No auto gas services are provided in Birdsville.
The Diamantina Visitors’ Guide
INTEREST WIRRARRI VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE
Want to know about local road conditions or the weather, get a few travelling tips, find out what to see and do? Drop into the Wirrarri Visitor Information Centre in the centre of Birdsville. You might also like to take a look at the work of local artists in the centre’s extensive gallery, or take in a DVD about the shire at the on-site theatrette. The centre offers wireless internet access, a library, maps and souvenirs.
Reach out and touch the ancient past. Located 12 kilometres from Birdsville is a stand of rare Waddi Trees, one of only three such stands left in the whole of Australia. Some of these trees are almost a thousand years old. The timber is almost impossible to burn, and is so hard it can damage an axe (trees are protected).
THE BIRDSVILLE BILLABONG
The billabong, located on the edge of town, is a beautiful place to view the outback sunset. A mere hop, skip and jump from the caravan park, you can also enjoy walking, kayaking, swimming or fishing. Just across the water is Pelican Point, a small peninsula with a great view of the billabong and its birdlife.
POWER STATION (DECOMMISSIONED 2018)
Birdsville boasts one of the few low-temperature geothermal power stations in the world. It drew water from the local Artesian Bore, and
Camping at Big Red Bash
the steam from the water was used to provide around 25% of the town’s electricity.
BIG RED SAND DUNE
Marvel at the Big Red Sand Dune as it rises up out of the Simpson Desert to a height of nearly 40 metres, and bask in its silhouetted sunset glory. Situated approximately 35 kilometres west of Birdsville, it is one of 1,140 dunes that populate the desert. Big Red is located on private property, please remember to always respect private property and stay on designated tracks. All other areas are under revegetation and it is strictly No Camping.
The Birdsville Races are world renowned. You’ll find the track three kilometres east of the town. If you’re lucky enough to be in Birdsville on the first Saturday of September, you’ll be part of one of the most exciting events on the Australian sporting calendar. Held on the first Saturday in September, this Australian tradition was started in 1882, two years before the Birdsville Pub was built.
THE ROYAL HOTEL
The Royal Hotel was built in 1883 and was constructed of dehydrated gypsum (or kopi) mixed with sand and water to achieve a bonding compound for the stonework. It was the second hotel built in the town and originally had a Spanish-style enclosed courtyard. Throughout the years, the Royal Hotel has been used as a school and
a hospital. It is situated on the corner of Adelaide and Frew Streets, opposite the Birdsville Roadhouse. It is now listed for restoration and preservation by the National Trust.
building is called the ‘old hospital’, despite it being a replacement of the original hospital.
The Diamantina River rises in Kirby’s Knob, Queensland, and flows (seasonally) for 800 kilometres south-west past Birdsville to Goyder Lagoon in South Australia, draining a basin of 158,000 square kilometres. The average amount of water discharged from the Diamantina River at Birdsville could fill a backyard swimming pool in one second. Flow can reach 1,400,000 litres per second in flood but in drier years, the river becomes a series of still waterholes, with no flow at all.
Tenders were called for the erection of the courthouse in 1888. The successful bidder was Henry Walton who submitted a tender of £840 for the building and £14/10/- for furniture. Walton was unable to complete the building and the work was completed by J Wookey. The final cost when the building was completed in 1890 was £933. Unlike other similar courthouses built throughout Queensland in small towns and settlements, the Birdsville courthouse was constructed of stone rather than timber. This material was chosen for pragmatic reasons. Most of the more substantial buildings in Birdsville were built either of stone or pise due to cost of transporting timber. Sandstone was readily available and therefore a sensible choice as a building material.
AUSTRALIAN INLAND MISSION HOSPITAL The Australian Inland Mission (AIM) Hospital, next to the current Birdsville Clinic, was built in 1953 after the original hospital, on the same site, was destroyed by fire. Throughout the years, numerous buildings in Birdsville have been used as a hospital, including the Royal Hotel. The surviving AIM building’s first post was laid by the then Governor of Queensland, Sir John Lavarack. Confusingly, this
THE OLD DIAMANTINA RIVER CROSSING
The Diamantina River was named after Diamantina Roma Bowen, wife of Queensland’s first Governor. In the early 1870s, itinerant merchant Matthew Flynn crossed the Diamantina River and established a rough depot to the north of the river, above the flood level. This depot became the settlement of Diamantina Crossing, which was later surveyed as Birdsville.
FOOTPRINTS OF TIME SIGNS A series of signs across Birdsville showcasing artwork by local Aboriginal artists, ‘Footprints of Time’ involves the sharing and transfer of knowledge collaboratively with the Aboriginal people of the Diamantina Shire. Painting is about ‘love for this country’.
The Diamantina Visitors’ Guide
BIRDSVILLE BEDOURIE TO
T h e B i l b y Wa y JOURNEY ALONG THE BILBY WAY
The road from Birdsville to Bedourie is known as The Bilby Way. It stretches for 186 kilometres, and meanders past some of the world’s most extraordinary natural wonders. Its namesake, the rare and endangered bilby (otherwise known as the rabbit-eared bandicoot), is about the size of a rabbit, with a long pointed nose, silky blue-grey fur, a black-and-white crested tail and long, almost transparent ears. These nocturnal marsupials were once a common sight across southern and central Australia and a much-prized delicacy of local Aborigines. Sadly, the bilby’s numbers declined suddenly at the turn of the 20th century, probably due to competition for food from rabbits and livestock, as well as introduced predators like cats and foxes.
12KM – WADDI TREES
Only 12 kilometres from Birdsville is a stand of Waddi Trees (Acacia peuce), one of only three such stands left in Australia. These trees grow to about three – four metres high, and are thought to be remnants of the last ice age. The wood is very hard, in fact it will not usually burn if put in a fire, growth is only about 15 centimetres a year, and most trees you will see are approximately 500 – 1000 years old.
81KM – CARCOORY RUINS
One of the first properties Sidney Kidman purchased in 1899. Carcoory is the property featured in Jill Bowen’s book, ‘Kidman, The Forgotten King’, where Jill relates the story of Kidman. The remains of this homestead are classified by the National Trust.
35KM APPROXIMATELY – MOONIES GRAVE, LOCATION NOT CERTAIN
William Moonie’s job was to patrol the dog (dingo) fence that skirts the Simpson Desert between the South Australian border and the Toko Range. After one of his recreational sprees at the Birdsville Hotel, in 1895, he left Birdsville with two cases of whisky on his packhorse. Six weeks later his body was found about 50 metres from the track surrounded by empty bottles.
112KM – BEDOURIE VIA LAKE MACHATTIE
A 60km detour, returning to the Birdsville/ Bedourie Road at Kings Creek Crossing. Lake Machattie, when full, is the largest pelican breeding area in Australia. This detour will afford the traveller with views and glimpses of the lake between 6 kilometres and 12 kilometres, 16 kilometres to 20 kilometres and at 25 kilometres. The lake is 99 metres above sea level. This large, flat and usually dry lake provides abundant stock feed after inundation. It is one of many throughout the Queensland Channel Country, but one of a few that can be easily seen by travellers. The road travels over many sand dunes making it an interesting detour.
119KM – CUTTABURRA CROSSING – AMAZING WETLAND AND WILDLIFE
A permanent waterhole and a renowned wetland on the Eyre Creek, between Lake Koolivoo and Lake Machattie and is home to many and various species of birdlife. This prolific birdlife can be viewed at the roadside rest and viewing area, on the right after crossing the creek.
165KM – KINGS CREEK CROSSING – AFGHAN GRAVE
Named after King, sole survivor of the illfated Burke and Wills expedition. This waterhole on Kings Creek was a favourite overnight stop for Afghan cameleers travelling the track between Birdsville and Bedourie. The natural stone causeway was also an excellent crossing point. An Afghan who died in this area was buried near the campsite, his grave facing Mecca. The large grave is covered with rocks and is found between the junction of the Windorah Road and the waterhole.
130KM – MEMORIAL TO WILL HUTCHINSON
Recognised as the founder of Coober Pedy, Will discovered the first opal in Stuarts Range Opal Field in South Australia. A drover for Sir Sidney Kidman at the time, Will was droving cattle from Clifton Hills Station in South Australia to Glengyle, when along the way he went for a swim in Eyre Creek and to this day, his death remains a mystery as he was a confident swimmer. Will’s body was recovered three days later from the creek and was buried nearby. This memorial was unveiled on Saturday, June 28, 2008.
The Diamantina Visitors’ Guide
BEDOURIE A N OA S I S I N T H E D E S E R T
Bedourie, meaning â€˜dust stormâ€™, is a small town with a population of 120 people. Perched on a sand dune, surrounded by Eyre Creek, it is the administrative centre of the huge 95,000 square kilometre Diamantina Shire. This equates to being twice the size of Denmark.
In the 1880s, Bedourie was a major watering and rest stop for drovers moving cattle from the Northern Territory and northwest Queensland to the customs collection point in Birdsville 200 kilometres south. For a small community, the town has excellent facilities, including a hotel/motel, two caravan parks, a restaurant and tavern, general store, fuel services, police station and a medical clinic. Town attractions include the heritage-listed Mud Hut, the cemetery and the sculpture in Herbert Street. The structure stands on Wangkamardla Country and represents the Dust Storm and whirly winds, these were a way the spirits travelled. Recreational facilities include the Artesian Spa & Aquatic Centre, Bedourie Golf Club, Bedourie Gun Club, BMX track, tennis courts, children’s playground and bike hire. Attractions around Bedourie include the Vaughan Johnson Lookout, the renowned wetland of Cuttaburra Crossing, Carcoory Ruins and the Diamantina National Park – one of Australia’s top ten national parks. Bedourie is the birthplace of the Bedourie Camp Oven, created under a tree in the 1920s by a tin smith. The cast iron camp ovens the drovers and cameleers were using were cracking and breaking in the harsh conditions of the outback. Over time the design for the oven was refined and was manufactured from spun steel with a tight fitting lid. In 1945 R.M. Williams began selling the ovens and in 1966, an R.M. Williams catalogue listed the Bedourie Camp
Oven with heavy duty rolled edges for sale at two pounds, fifteen shillings ($5.50). In 2001, the Australian Capital Territory recognised the origins of the Bedourie Camp Oven as ‘Uniquely Australian’ and its significance as an improvised oven used by the pioneers of the Queensland outback. Official documentation was sent to Diamantina Shire Council from the former Federal Member for Maranoa, the Hon. Bruce Scott.
BEDOURIE HOTEL (previously known as the Royal Hotel) While you’re visiting, take a walk back in time and call in to the Bedourie Hotel even if just for a coldie and to say hello to the locals. Constructed of sundried mud bricks and a thatched roof, the building has changed little in appearance since it opened in 1886, except for the replacement of the thatched roof with corrugated iron. Once the central business in Bedourie, the hotel has ownership links to Sir Sidney Kidman. Check out the dining room, which still carries reminders of yesteryear – an authentic outback pub experience. Satisfy your well deserved hunger and enjoy a pub counter meal with the locals with some really good tucker.
SIMPSON DESERT OASIS ROADHOUSE* At the northern end of Bedourie, you’ll find the Simpson Desert Oasis Roadhouse. The roadhouse serves as the town’s general store, fuel stop, auto services/tyre repairs, restaurant and tavern. Motel, cabin and caravan accommodation are also available.
*No auto gas services are provided in Bedourie.
The Diamantina Visitors’ Guide
INTEREST BEDOURIE OUTBACK VISITOR CENTRE Want to know what the weather’s doing, learn about the area, check road conditions, access wireless internet services, visit the public library or take in a DVD about the shire at the on-site theatrette? Drop into the Bedourie Outback Visitor Centre. The centre is located next to the Diamantina Shire Council administration office. You can also book a spot at the Diamantina Shire Caravan Park, and get a key to the Artesian Spa & Aquatic Centre (refundable deposit required). A public payphone and phone cards are available at the centre.
bush timber roof framing with corrugated iron sheeting. The date of construction is not known, however the ownership of the building closely parallels that of the Royal Hotel.
ARTESIAN SPA & AQUATIC CENTRE One of Bedourie’s favourite attractions is the Artesian Spa & Aquatic Centre. Ease your tired muscles in the 22-person therapeutic spa, and cool off afterwards in the 25-metre swimming pool. The crystal clear water comes directly from Bedourie’s artesian bore.
VAUGHAN JOHNSON LOOKOUT
The stabilised earth house dates back to the 1880s and is believed to be one of the first buildings constructed in Bedourie. The simple two-room building has thick rammed earth walls, earth floors and a
The Vaughan Johnson Lookout is located at the highest point on the cusp of the Diamantina Shire and overlooks the Channel Country and the catchment of the Georgina River. It is located on
the property of Marion Downs, which is North Australian Pastoral Company – NAPCO land. The lookout also sits at the shire border between the Diamantina and Boulia Shires, which is approximately halfway between the two towns and equates to the site being 100 kilometres from each town. The initiative was officially opened Saturday 21 April 2012 and named the Vaughan Johnson Lookout. It was named after Vaughan Johnson MP for his efforts for sealed roads in western Queensland.
BEDOURIE OUTBACK GOLF COURSE Pick up a golf course map, score card and golf clubs for a nominal fee at the Bedourie Outback Visitor Centre and indulge in a challenging game of nine-hole desert golf. Bedourie Golf Course is a scenic desert course with many challenges to suit novices to the advanced players. There are plenty of sand traps and permanent water hazards to keep things interesting. Keen birdwatchers might also find the stunning birdlife a distraction.
DUST STORM SCULPTURE This sculpture represents the spinifex in a dust storm, and is part of the Dreamtime Sculptures project and was designed and created by Victorian artists Glenn Romanis, Mark Trinham and local artists Joyce Crombie and Jean Crombie-Barr.
The Diamantina Visitors’ Guide
BETOOTA RIDE WITH THE GHOSTS OF
AUSTRALIA’S OUTBACK Betoota stands lonely on a vast gibber plain, 170 kilometres east of Birdsville. While Betoota is mainly a ghost town, it comes alive twice a year. The annual Horse and Motorbike Gymkhana is held on the first weekend of QLD Easter school holidays and then during the last weekend in August when this tiny ghost town explodes with all the colour and excitement of the Betoota Races, kicking off the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival. Betoota is 70 metres above sea level and has an annual rainfall of just 300 millimetres. In 1885, the Queensland Government set up a customs post here to collect tolls for stock as they travelled to South Australia. The toll station operated up until Federation in 1901. Betoota was also once a Cobb & Co change station. In the 1880s, three hotels were established here, along with a police station, store and post office. The last-standing hotel was a favourite spot for tourists until it closed in October 1997. In fact, the publican, Simon Remienko, was the sole resident of Betoota for many years and was once stranded on the Birdsville Track for 18 weeks with his truckload of eight tonnes of beer. Points of interest include Browns Creek – a popular camping area near the Betoota Hotel – and Deon’s Lookout, the perfect place for travellers to take a break and drink in the spectacular view. You can also visit The Dreamtime Serpent – a work of art representing a series of pathways travelled through Country to connect the river systems in the Channel Country of the Diamantina Shire. The Serpent has been created using gravel and gibbers found throughout the shire.
NATIONAL PARKS IN THE
DIAMANTINA DIAMANTINA NATIONAL PARK
One of the most glorious sights in nature, The Diamantina National Park is a must-see destination and was named one of Australia’s top 10 national parks by the Worldwide Fund for Nature. Visitors can get up close and personal with unique wildlife, including the kowari, plains wanderer, freckled duck, peregrine falcon and two rare skinks. In times of exceptionally good rain or floods, the native long-haired rat often has somewhat of a population explosion. When this happens, predators like the inland taipan, letter-winged kite and eastern grass owl also make a welcome appearance. Vast numbers of waterholes are fed by the Diamantina River. After cyclonic rains, water flowing from the north can be an astounding 50 kilometres wide before passing through the narrows known as Diamantina Gates. These can be viewed from Janet’s Leap across to Hunters Gorge. The area is a fish and bird fanciers’ paradise, and a fabulous camping destination. Formerly a pastoral property known as Diamantina Lakes, the park was purchased by the Queensland Government in the 1950s. The traditional owners of the area are the Maiawali people. Visit old station buildings, cemeteries and hotel ruins, and pop in to the information room at the old homestead to learn about the park’s history. Leave the caravan behind and take a day trip from Bedourie via Boulia. Stop in at Vaughan Johnson Lookout – affectionately known as ‘the loo with a view’, drink in the scenery of the self-guided Warracoota Circuit (approximately 90 kilometres from start to finish), visit Janet’s Leap for a bird’s eye view of the Diamantina, or roll out your swag and gaze at the night sky. There are NO more self registration booths. Permits for camping can be purchased from The Birdsville and Bedourie Information Centres.
MUNGA-THIRRI NATIONAL PARK (FORMERLY SIMPSON DESERT NATIONAL PARK)
Every year, adventurous travellers from Australia and around the world experience the thrill of crossing the Simpson Desert. Home to thousands of towering sand dunes, saltpans and rolling grey-green spinifex, it’s a vast red wilderness under a rich blue sky. This is ‘the sun country’; land of the Wangkangurra and Yarluyandi people. Spanning more than a million hectares, the Munga-Thirri National Park is Queensland’s largest protected area, teeming with rare mammals, strange reptiles and 180 exotic species of bird. It’s a magical place where you can camp under the stars, immerse your senses in the colours of the desert, feel the crunch of red sand and ironstone under foot, breathe in the pungent aroma of the Georgina gidgee – a glorious yellow wattle that grows in the hollows between towering dunes – or take a trip to Poeppel Corner and stand on the very spot where Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory intersect. Only experienced, self-sufficient visitors should explore this park, and only from April to October. Be ready for hot days and freezing nights, make sure your vehicle is well-equipped and take plenty of water – this is, after all, the driest place in Australia. There are no toilets, no designated camping grounds, no walking tracks and no drinkable water. It’s just you against the desert, and it’s an experience you will never forget. All vehicles must have a Desert Parks pass. Please observe all camping and general safety recommendations with the DPP. These are available from the Wirrarri Visitor Information Centre, Birdsville Roadhouse or Birdsville Post Office/Fuel Service.
The Diamantina Visitors’ Guide
TIPS FOR TRAVELLERS: Safety information
DESERT AND OUTBACK A journey to the Munga-Thirri National Park and the Simpson Desert can be the trip of a lifetime with so much awe-inspiring landscape to explore. It’s also one of the harshest and least hospitable areas to cross. Make sure you’re well prepared for your trip and stay safe with these tips:
NOTE THE ANNUAL SIMPSON DESERT CLOSURE
Due to extreme heat, the Simpson Desert is closed annually from 1 December – 15 March. Temperatures hit between 40 and 50 degrees celsius.
LET PEOPLE KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Tell someone your travel plans and keep in regular contact. It’s a good idea to travel with other vehicles to reduce the need for expensive outside help if you have an accident or breakdown.
CHECK ROAD CONDITIONS AND CLOSURES
Weather conditions vary seasonally in the outback. Check the latest road conditions online on www.thediamantina.com.au or by phoning 1300 794 257.
BE AN OUTBACK-WISE DRIVER
The safest way to cross the desert is in a well equipped 4WD vehicle with high ground clearance. Ensure your vehicle is well maintained, serviced, roadworthy and inspect it every morning before you hit the track. Check tyre pressure, fluid levels and underneath for leaks or cable damage. Know how to operate your 4WD transmission before you leave. Always keep a safe distance from the vehicle travelling in front of you. Stick to designated public access tracks, parking areas and campgrounds and avoid driving on salt lakes and other sensitive terrain. If dust limits your visibility then pull over. Never overtake through a dust cloud as there may be another vehicle coming towards you. The use of trailers in the Simpson Desert is strongly discouraged, plus motor homes and caravans should never attempt this crossing.
TAKE THE RIGHT GEAR
The following items are recommended as a minimum, but you should find out about the places you are visiting so that you can be best prepared: ● Water || a minimum of 6 litres per person per day plus a 3-4 day reserve supply ● Food || enough for the trip plus a 3-4 day reserve supply ● Fuel || calculate distances between refuelling points. Remember frequent low gear and 4WD work uses more fuel so it’s a good idea to double your estimated consumption.
tyres || at least two tyres and tubes
|| long-handled spade, tyre levers and pressure gauge, air compressors, spanners, multigrips, screwdrivers, pliers, hammer, electrical tape, WD40, spare fan belt, radiator hoses, coolant, engine and transmission oil, spark plugs, fuses, spare fuel filter, fence wire and plastic tubing
equipment || make sure you’re well stocked with maps, compass, GPS, jack and plate, wheel brace, tyre levers, tube mending kit, two ropes, leather gloves, winch and sling, tree protector, D shackles, snatch block and straps, jumper leads and booster cables
protection || sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and long sleeve loose shirts to help avoid sunburn, heat stress and heat stroke
equipment || Personal Locator Beacon or EPIRB which can be activated in life-threatening situations, satellite phone or HF radio. Vehicles in a convoy may like to use UHF radio to communicate.
(Satphones may be hired for the crossing at Mount Dare or Birdsville – call Birdsville Wirrarri Visitor Information Centre for details on 07 4656 3300)
WATCH OUT FOR WILDLIFE The wildlife in our parks is pretty incredible. Enjoy observing native animals but don’t try to interact with them or feed them as this can affect their natural behaviour. This is particularly important for dingoes in the outback. If ‘humanised’, animals may not be able to survive in the wild. They can also become aggressive towards parks visitors for food. Wildlife and stock are most often on roads at sunrise and sunset. Birds of prey sometimes feed on road kill. Slow down when passing these birds as they take some time to get airborne.
BE A SAFE AND SAVVY CAMPER Avoid camping in creek beds or watercourses in case of flash flooding, and avoid setting up camp under trees that may drop limbs. If your vehicle breaks down or is immovable: ● Do
not leave your vehicle
● Radio ● Wait
or phone for help
for assistance to arrive
food and water
energy and stay in shade
you hear a nearby plane or vehicle, attract searchers by flashing a mirror in the sun or burning firewood with some green vegetation to produce a dark smoke.
For further information refer to the Remote Area Travel brochure & The Desert Parks Bulletin Department of Environment and Natural Resources: Phone Information Line (08) 8204 1910 Website: www.parks.sa.gov.au 16
T h e r e ’s a l w a y s s o m e t h i n g happening in the Outback!
April: Betoota Gymkhana || The annual Betoota Gymkhana brings
Australia’s smallest town alive. Watch bushmen and women compete in exercises of true horsemanship and skillful dirt bike riding. Saturday you can expect barrel racing, flagging plus much more at the Horse Gymkhana followed by Motorbike Enduro later in the afternoon. Remember, plan ahead and camp overnight to see the motorbikes kick back into action on Sunday. You won’t go hungry with on-site catering (outback style) and plenty of cold ale at the bar, available Friday evening through Sunday afternoon.
Handle Bars and Horns || Join the adrenalin pumping action of two extreme sports – riding bikes and riding bulls – at the inaugural Bedourie event. Perch yourself ringside for the live action of fearless men verse beasts with great prize money up for grabs. Combined with bikekhana, enduro, bullriding, entertainment and a well-stocked bar, this event is guaranteed to keep you entertained all day long. So get amongst the action!
MAY: Birdsville Bronco Branding || Always mother’s day week in May. Come and experience the fast moving action and skills of professional bushmen and women as they demonstrate their skills through these historic arts. Witness teams tough it out to be the quickest to brand cattle using the traditional method of branding in the bush. This means without a calf cradle and rather out in the open, all in recognition of country tradition and keeping these skills alive. The weekend isn’t complete without a campdraft competition and a much anticipated rodeo when the sun falls. Jive all night long to live music and cheer on the bushmen who will share in big prize money. Food and refreshments are available throughout the weekend and free camping is also on hand to make a holiday of it.
JUNE: Rugby League Nines Bedourie || The game of brute strength and fitness has returned to The Diamantina after 30 years. Fans, tourists and locals alike are invited along to the local park, turned rugby league field, to cheer on the local team. Wanna get amongst the action? Teams of both men and women are encouraged to nominate with prize money of $10,000 up for grabs. Contact Trevor Stewart on 07 4746 1202 or by email trevor.stewart@ diamantina.qld.gov.au. Birdsville Gymkhana & Bikekhana || Bring the whole family to the Bronco Branding Yards in Birdsville on the first weekend of the Qld June/July school holidays to watch skilled bushmen and women demonstrate their craft. Get involved in the horsemanship skills on Saturday with barrel, flag and herding races, or simply kick back ringside and enjoy the dusty action. Horsepower is then replaced by dirt bikes and quads on the Sunday, and the same events re-enacted on wheels. You won’t starve with all the on-site catering you’d expect, plus loads of live music and evening entertainment.
JULY: Bedourie Campdraft, Rodeo & Gymkhana || Perched on a
sand dune and surrounded by Eyre Creek, soak up all the action and
speed of the country’s best horse, bike and bull riders in Bedourie, stand ringside and appreciate precision, agility and tight teamwork at its very best.
Big Red Bash || Meet people from all corners of the globe stageside at Queensland’s most spectacular concert, with 40 metre Big Red sand dune as the backdrop. Witness the tunes of Aussie music legends like Troy Cassar-Daley and Jimmy Barnes over three days and nights of non-stop music and entertainment. Join an organised tour, pitch a tent or rest your head in accommodation in nearby Birdsville. Take the opportunity to busk on stage, see the desert sights from a helicopter or don your best `Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ outfit for the hilarious drags (these are running races through the campsites). Sound like fun... So will you be joining us to Rock the Simpson Desert this year?
Bedourie Camel Races & Camp Oven Cook-off || Forget horses as it’s the camels that reign supreme in Bedourie. Be amongst the hundreds of race goers who converge on the town to watch dozens of camels race in six events, worth a total of more than $11,000. Also amongst the action is pig racing, wood chopping and novelty events like the ‘old farts’ and ‘old boilers’. Plus, enjoy the traditional camp oven cook-off, where you’re invited (free of charge) to bake your very own damper using provided ingredients. If it happens to be a success (and not a brick) and you wanna take it home… Easy, purchase your own world-famous Bedourie camp oven invented in the droving camps of a bygone era.
AUGUST: Betoota Races || Witness the ghost town of Betoota come to life with holiday goers and outback folk to celebrate one of the region’s signature events – The Betoota Races is the last weekend in August – and kicks off the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival. Firstly, don your dancing shoes on Friday night for a night of outback entertainment followed by backing a winner in one of the six horse race meets the next day. Don’t forget there’s also Fashions on the Field, a mystery auction and lucky gate prizes. Then mingle with the down to earth country characters living in and around isolated Betoota, which sits on a vast gibber plain surrounded by cattle stations east of Birdsville and west of Windorah.
SEPTEMBER: Birdsville Races || Dubbed as the Melbourne Cup of the Outback, crowds of 6,000 race goers converge on Birdsville each year to enjoy two days of quality outback racing and entertainment. The second race meet in the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival, the 13 race program features horses from all over Australia competing for the coveted Birdsville Cup. Other entertainment includes the Fashions on the Field, Fred Brophy’s Boxing Troupe, Fun Run, Cocktail Party, a variety of food vendors, a giant auction and much more. Bedourie Races & Rodeo || Dress to impress in pink for Bedourie’s much anticipated Races and Rodeo. Yes, that’s right the colour pink. All in the name of Breast Cancer Research, join hundreds as they flock trackside by day in their finest pink silks to back a winner crossing the pink finishing posts. By night the entertainment switches gears into Rodeo mode with cowboys and their beasts on display, live music and a fun-flowing bar. The Diamantina Visitors’ Guide
ITINERARIES Simpson Desert Racing Carnival Always wanted to kick up some dust at the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival? This year, live the dream with our handy 15 day itinerary.
DAY 1: BETOOTA RACES
DAY 9 & 10
DAY 2 & 3
DAY 11 & 12
DAY 4 – 6
DAY 13 & 14
Kick off your racing trifecta with the Betoota Races on the last weekend in August. Renowned as the race that brings a ghost town back to life, this country race meet prides itself on being family friendly. On the drive to Birdsville stops at Deon’s Lookout and the Dreamtime Serpent sculpture. After you set up camp in Birdsville head down to the Wirrarri Visitor Centre for the lowdown on the region’s best attractions. Head down to the Market Stalls and watch the buskers perform, catch a screening of the ‘Back of Beyond’ at the Shire Hall or watch the bouts at the world famous Fred Brophy’s Boxing Troupe.
DAY 7 & 8: BIRDSVILLE RACES
Entertainment continues throughout Friday and Saturday starting with morning Race Calcuttas. Come lunchtime there’s a flurry of action at the racetrack with a full two-day program of quality outback racing, Fashions on the Field and trackside marquee packages. When dust finally settles, it’s back into town to ponder your winnings (or losses) with a beer or two at the Birdsville Hotel.
Start with a late picnic lunch down at the Old Diamantina Crossing. With most punters now moved on it’s time to get out and explore the region – hire a canoe and go fishing, fire up the 4WD and try conquering Big Red. Meander along the Bilby Way from Birdsville to Bedourie which winds its way past some of the region’s most extraordinary sites. Stop overnight at Carcoory Ruins or pitch your tent at Cuttaburra Crossing and get up close to the amazing array of birdlife. Check in the Bedourie Outback Visitor Centre and then check out the town’s sites – wander around the heritage-listed Mud Hut, dip in the hot Artesian Spa, marvel at the street art sculpture, have a beer at the Bedourie Hotel, or test your putting skills at the Bedourie Outback Golf Course. Then prepare yourself for a wild night of outback action at the Bedourie Rodeo.
Bedourie Races & Ute & Travellers’ Muster Rev up your engines early for the Bedourie Ute & Travellers’ Musters. It attracts competitors from all around the country keen to pay homage to the good ‘ol Aussie ute. It’s then down to the racecourse for the first race break through the barriers with betting facilities, food and refreshments and plenty of entrainment on hand. Don’t forget to wear pink and help ‘Dress the Desert Pink’ to raise money for Breast Cancer Research.
The Diamantina Visitors’ Guide
ITINERARIES Discover Birdsville DAY 1: BIRDSVILLE – GO BACK IN TIME ● Morning
walk around town: explore the Royal Hotel ruins and visit the Australian Inland Mission Hospital.
the Diamantina River Trail: Diamantina River Bridge, Burke & Wills slashed tree, the Old Diamantina Crossing for a picnic or ‘smoko’, see the famous Birdsville Racetrack.
about the Traditional Owners: Stroll down at the Two Boys Dreaming site, the short walking trail, and read about the fascinating Aboriginal Dreamtime. See the Aboriginal Meeting Place, another of the three sculptures in the Shire designed by members of the native Wangkangurru/Yarluyandi tribe.
at Pelican Point: Wind down and relax for a while across the Birdsville Billabong, with scenic waterfront views and ample birdwatching.
atop Deon’s Lookout: Relax at the elevated Deon’s Lookout and enjoy the expansive 360 degree views. With a dedicated rest area, picnic table and toilets, this is the perfect spot to stop for a bit of morning smoko or lunch.
about the beer at this pub: Head back to the ghost town of Betoota and explore the once lively Betoota Hotel, standing very lonely on a vast gibber plain. Tonight, sleep under the stars after setting up camp in the popular Browns Creek camping area.
DAY 3: BETOOTA TO BIRDSVILLE APPROX. 170KMS/3HRS ● Return
to Birdsville: Visit the Birdsville Court House, an important link with the early pastoral settlement. The building is one of only three surviving masonry buildings in Birdsville.
DAY 2: BIRDSVILLE TO BETOOTA APPROX. 170KMS/3HRS
to the sunset on Big Red: For a perfect way to end a day in Birdsville, a night to remember for sure.
for your three-hour drive to Betoota. See the amazing Dreamtime Serpent, a work of art representing a series of pathways travelled through Country to connect the river systems in the Channel Country of the Diamantina Shire. See the creative application of locally sourced gravel and gibbers in this hillside artwork.
up at the Geothermal Power Station: Discover where approximately 25% of Birdsville’s power is generated at the Geothermal Power Station, the only one in Australia. at the Waddi Trees: Take the short 14 kilometre drive to the rare and ancient Waddi Trees, considered to be 500 – 1000 years old, and one of only three such groups of Waddi Trees left in Australia.
the ‘Diamantina Spirit’ at the Wirrarri Information Centre: a 55 minute film on the way of life in the remote and isolated Diamantina, which includes interviews with locals.
Discover Bedour ie DAY 1: DESERT RECREATION WALK/SWIM/GOLF ● Call
into the Bedourie Visitor Information Centre to grab a town map and watch a video about the Diamantina Shire on the big screen.
the 2.6 kilometre heritage walk around town. Stroll past the Bedourie School, opened in 1967. View the Dust Storm Sculpture: You’ll pass the historic Bedourie Cemetery and learn the stories of early residents. Continue walking along the levee to the historic Mud Hut.
a swim in the Artesian Spa: The water temperature sits at around 35 – 40 degrees celcius and comes from the town’s original bore head drilled in 1905.
a round of desert golf: Indulge in a challenging game of nine-hole desert golf at the local golf course. Keen birdwatchers might also find the stunning birdlife a distraction!
DAY 2: LAW OF THE LAND POLICING/POWER/A COLDIE ● Serve
up an Ace: Enjoy a leisurely half-day today starting with an energising morning hit of tennis at the Bedourie Tennis Courts.
the old Bedourie Police Hut: For an insight into early policing, head to the historic Bedourie Police Hut, which was built around 1890 – 1910.
a ‘coldie’ with the locals: Return to the historic Bedourie Hotel (formerly known as the Royal Hotel) for a well-deserved ‘coldie’, tea or coffee and lunch.
DAY 3: NATURE’S CALLING SCENIC DRIVE/BIRDWATCHING/WILDLIFE SPOTTING ● Follow
the Bilby Way Scenic Adventure Loop Drive: Fill the car up, stock up on plenty of water and a picnic lunch before setting off.
off in Cookawinchika Creek, take a dip in Kings Creek Crossing. Look out for the No. 3 Bore, which was significant in the 1890s when all cattle were moved ‘on the hoof’ and water was the drover’s main concern.
Lake Machattie: Take an interesting detour off the main road and over many sand dunes.
the birdlife at Cuttaburra Crossing and stop at the memorial to Will Hutchinson.
by Glengyle Station/Eyre Creek: Drive past the private property of Glengyle Station, bought by Sir Sidney Kidman in 1903.
the Toko (Floodplain) Channel: Approximately 42 kilometres from Bedourie, you’ll pass Toko Channel. These floodplain channels that cross the road are renowned kangaroo feeding areas. Perhaps you will see some kangaroos too! Take the Bedourie turn-off (22 kilometres from Bedourie) and travel the last section of your scenic drive back to town.
The Diamantina Visitors’ Guide
Bir Insiddsville e Tra ck
Arrabury Road Cordillo Downs Track Walkers Crossing Burke & Wills Dig Tree
ROA D D I S TA N C E S T O
POST OFFICE Birdsville......................................................................................07 4656 3263 Bedourie...................................................................................... 07 4746 1201
(Approximate distances will vary with route taken) BIRDSVILLE BEDOURIE Brisbane 1602 1590 Sydney 2129 2327 Melbourne 2470 2666 Adelaide 1207 1403 Perth 3293 3489 Darwin 2335 2137 Alice Springs 1186 1010 Longreach 692 754 Windorah 385 384 Marree 540 736 Mt Isa 717 516 Innamincka (Via Cordillo Downs) 415 613 (Via Arrabury Road) 568 748 (Via Walkers Crossing) 315 495
SIMPSON DESERT CROSSING (to Birdsville via Mount Dare Homestead) BIRDSVILLE Mt Dare - (French/QAA Line) 502 Uluru/Ayers Rock 1074 Alice Springs 917 Oodnadatta 758 Williams Creek 959
POLICE STATION Birdsville......................................................................................07 4656 5677 Bedourie......................................................................................07 4746 1220 A C C O M M O D A T I O N, C A R AVA N PA R K S / CAMPING Birdsville Hotel/Motel..............................................................07 4656 3244 Birdsville Caravan Park/Birdsville Lodge.............................07 4656 3214 Bedourie Hotel/Motel.............................................................. 07 4746 1201 Bedourie Simpson Desert Oasis............................................. 07 4746 1291 Diamantina Shire Caravan Park.............................................07 4746 1040
BEDOURIE 698 1270 1112 954 1155
From Birdsville to Big Red – 35 From Birdsville to Poeppel Corner (150 sand dunes) – 166
Rex Regional Express www.rex.com.au || 13 17 13 NEED HELP PLANNING YO U R T R I P T O T H E D I A M A N T I N A ? CONTACT ONE OF OUR VISITOR CENTRES:
WIRRARRI VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE 29 Burt Street, BIRDSVILLE QLD 4482 07 4564 2000 07 4656 3302 email@example.com
BEDOURIE OUTBACK VISITOR CENTRE 13 Herbert Street, BEDOURIE QLD 4829 1300 794 257
COFFEE SHOPS & RESTAURANTS Birdsville Bakery........................................................................07 4656 4697 Bedourie Hotel........................................................................... 07 4746 1201 Bedourie Simpson Desert Oasis............................................. 07 4746 1291 Birdsville Hotel..........................................................................07 4656 3244 TOURS Birdsville Desert Edge Tours...................................................07 4564 2000 AATT – Adventure Australia Treks and Tours..........................................................................0437 994 096 Wrights Air – Scenic Flights................................................... 0417 843 561 GENERAL STORES Birdsville Roadhouse................................................................07 4656 3226 Bedourie Simpson Desert Oasis............................................. 07 4746 1291 MEDICAL CLINICS Birdsville Clinic..........................................................................07 4656 3245 Bedourie Clinic...........................................................................07 4746 1226 In cases of emergency or after hours dial 000 FUEL & AUTO SERVICES (including tyre repairs) Birdsville Roadhouse and Recovery Service........................07 4656 3226 Birdsville Fuel Service...............................................................07 4656 3236 Bedourie Simpson Desert Oasis............................................. 07 4746 1291 OTHER BUSINESSES QLD National Parks Office......................................................07 4656 3272 Bedourie QGAP.......................................................................... 07 4746 1128 Birdsville QGAP..........................................................................07 4656 3310 Krakka Fabrication | Boilermaker: Sam Barnes.................................................................................0447 450 518 Not Just Hardware: Peter Barnes...............................................................................07 4656 4873
07 4746 1272 firstname.lastname@example.org
SOCIAL MEDIA www.instagram.com/diamantinaqld @diamantinaqld Birdsville Bedourie Betoota - The Diamantina facebook/thediamantina The Diamantina Visitors’ Guide
1300 794 257 email@example.com www.thediamantina.com.au facebook/thediamantina
he Diamantina, home to the legendary townships of Birdsville, Bedourie and Betoota, is the heart of the outback and a rewarding travel desti...
Published on Oct 26, 2018
he Diamantina, home to the legendary townships of Birdsville, Bedourie and Betoota, is the heart of the outback and a rewarding travel desti...