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BIRDSVILLE BEDOURIE BETOOTA V I S I T O R

G U I D E

S i m p l e p l e a s u r e s , g r e at a d v e n t u r e s

DIAMANTINA


Diamantina THE

SIMPLE PLEASURES, GREAT ADVENTURES

THE DIAMANTINA SHIRE is true frontier country. Its people, heritage, stories, places, landscapes and wildlife combine in this authentic Australian destination. The Diamantina is a land of beauty: rare flora and fauna, national parks, Channel Country, the wide red desert; a glorious landscape. 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, camp in 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.


Outback pu bs, wild places, there is so much to see and do in the Diamanti na Region

Acknowledgement of 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.

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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 Sturt’s Stony Desert to the south and rich Channel Country to the north.

Aboriginal inhabitants harnessed this incredible landscape for thousands of years, prior to drovers moving their cattle through and pastoralists arriving. 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 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

BIRDSVILLE ROADHOUSE*

It’s impossible to come to Birdsville without popping into the historic Birdsville Hotel. Built in 1884, the Hotel is recognised all over the world and is one of the most famous outback hotels. 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.

The Birdsville Roadhouse, opposite the tourist 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.

EFTPOS and ATM facilities are also available. BIRDSVILLE TOURIST PARK Birdsville Tourist Park is ideally situated on the banks of the Birdsville Billabong. The park features deluxe cabins with lagoon views, as well as standard cabins, budget rooms, powered and unpowered sites. Also onsite are showers and a laundry that for a small fee are publicly accessible. BIRDSVILLE LODGE Quality accommodation for adventurers seeking comfort, these ensuited rooms are located next door to the Birdsville Hotel and across the road from the airstrip. A spacious camp kitchen is located onsite.

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. Birdsville Fuel Services also operate the Australia Post and Commonwealth Bank outlets. BIRDSVILLE BAKERY Be sure to drop in to the iconic Birdsville Bakery. Our friendly team offer a comprehensive hot cooked breakfast menu to suit both dine in or on the run along with amazing barista coffee and a great range of sweets and pastry products. Also on offer daily is a great range of fresh sandwiches, wraps and rolls that will be sure to keep you going on your journey. The Birdsville Bakery, an icon not to be missed. *No auto gas services are provided in Birdsville.

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POINTS OF 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 gallery, or take in a DVD about the Shire at the onsite theatrette. The centre offers wireless internet access, a library, maps and souvenirs.

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.

WADDI TREES

RACECOURSE

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 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 weekend in 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 Hotel was built.

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. GEOTHERMAL POWER STATION (DECOMMISSIONED 2018) Birdsville boasts one of the few lowtemperature geothermal power stations in the world. It drew water from the local Artesian Bore, and the steam from the water was used to provide around 25% of the town’s electricity.

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BIG RED SAND DUNE

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.

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BIRDSVILLE COURTHOUSE 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 finalise 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. Due to open in 2021, the Birdsville Courthouse will feature a new attraction. Experience outback justice wandering through the police and magistrate displays, and witness a hologram recreation of some of the cases heard at the Birdsville Courthouse. 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

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the Royal Hotel. The surviving AIM building’s first post was laid by the then Governor of Queensland, Sir John Lavarack. Confusingly, this building is called the ‘old hospital’, despite it being a replacement of the original hospital. THE OLD DIAMANTINA RIVER CROSSING The Diamantina River rises in Kirby’s Knob, Queensland, and flows (seasonally) for 800 kilometres southwest 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. 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 The Two Sisters, ‘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’.

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BIRDSVILLE BAKERY RE-OPENING IN 2021 ... After a period of hiatus, the Birdsville Bakery is under new ownership and excited to be reopening in late March 2021. The iconic building has long been a welcome sight for weary travellers taking on the remote Aussie outback and now with great barista coffee, a large selection of freshly baked goods and welcoming faces, the Bakery is once again a must visit for all those visiting Birdsville! www.birdsvillebakery.com

BIRDSVILLE BIG RED BASH THE WORLD’S MOST REMOTE MUSIC FESTIVAL

The Birdsville Big Red Bash is the world’s most remote music festival. Set at the iconic Big Red Dune, 35km west of Birdsville, each July thousands of intrepid outback travellers gather for 3 days and nights of classic Australian music. The festival is super family friendly, BYO alcohol, and you can even bring your dog! The open-top stage is set against the Big Red Dune making a unique and spectacular stage backdrop. You can even watch the music from up on Big Red. Get set to enjoy an unforgettable 3 days and nights of Aussie music.

www.bigredbash.com.au

WRIGHTSAIR Wrightsair is a multi-award winning scenic and charter flight operator, based in one of Australia’s most remote towns, William Creek. Operating since 1992, Wrightsair conducts scenic flights over Australia’s largest inland salt lake, Kati-Thanda – Lake Eyre. Other spectacular locations such as the Channel Country, Big Red, The Simpson Desert and the Anna Creek Painted Hills are not to be missed while you are exploring this wonderful part of Australia. P: (08) 8670 7962

E: info@wrightsair.com.au

OUTBACK AIR & GROUND TOURS

www.wrightsair.com.au

BIRDSVILLE OUTBACK SCENIC FLIGHTS & GROUND TOURS ARID AIR operates Outback Scenic Flights & Ground Tours from Birdsville during tourist season. We specialise in showing you the Simpson Desert, Big Red, Lake Eyre, Goyder Lagoon, the Channel Country, Coongie Lakes and lots more. Why ARID AIR – We maximise your outback experience in this spectacular outback region with our unique scenic flights & ground tours. Our professional pilots & drivers provide great commentary in high wing planes and quality off road 4X4 vehicles.

P: 0488 444 544

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E: admin@aridair.com.au

www.aridair.com.au

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(07) 4656 3214 info@birdsvillecaravanpark.com BOOK ONLINE AT birdsvillecaravanpark.com

1300 794 257 visitors@diamantina.qld.gov.au

BIRDSVILLE ADVENTURE TOURS Round out your Birdsville Adventure with us on top of Big Red, cracking a cold beer or enjoying a red / white wine from our favourite wineries in the Barossa or McLaren Vale regions is going to give you a life long memory of Birdsville and the desert along with hand selected platters. We will head West towards the Simpson Desert, traversing rugged terrain with spectacular views, at Little Red we turn and sneak up a 2 wheeled track past a massive Wedge Tailed Eagle’s nest to the base of what you came to see...BIG RED! Feel free to kick off your shoes and “earth” yourself in the sands of Big Red. P: 0418 813 778

E: admin@birdsvilleadventuretours.com.au

www.birdsvilleadventuretours.com.au

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Birdsville Bedourie TO

JOURNEY ALONG THE BILBY WAY THE ROAD FROM Birdsville to Bedourie is known as The Bilby Way. It stretches for 180 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. Sadly bilby populations declined suddenly at the turn of the 20th century, largely due to introduced predators such as cats and foxes.

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1 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.

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2 35KM APPROX; 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.

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3 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.


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4 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.

5 130KM; MEMORIAL TO WILL HUTCHINSON

6 165KM; KINGS CREEK CROSSING: AFGHAN GRAVE

Recognised as the founder of the Coober Pedy township, 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.

Named after King, sole survivor of the ill-fated 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 200m from the junction of the Windorah Road, near the trucking yards.

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Bedourie

AN OASIS IN THE DESERT Bedourie, meaning ‘dust storm’, 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 roughly the same size as Hungary or Portugal.

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In the 1880s, Bedourie was a major watering and rest stop for drovers moving cattle from the Northern Territory and north-west Queensland to the customs collection point in Birdsville 180 kilometres south. For a small community, the town has excellent facilities, including two hotels, two caravan parks, a pub, tavern, restaurant, general store, fuel services, police station and a medical clinic. Town attractions include peaceful Eyre Creek, the heritage-listed Mud Hut, the Bedourie Outback Visitor Information Centre and the sculpture in Herbert Street. The structure stands on Wangkamana Country and represents the Dust Storm and whirly winds, these were a way the spirits travelled. Recreational facilities include the popular Artesian Spa and Aquatic Centre, gym, golf club, parks and playgrounds, tennis courts and the gun club. Attractions around Bedourie include the Vaughan Johnson Lookout, the renowned wetland of Cuttaburra Crossing, Carcoory Ruins and the Diamantina National Park.

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). No camping trip is complete without a meal cooked in a Bedourie Camp Oven, and these are available to purchase at the Bedourie Visitor Information Centre. In 2001 the Australian Capital Territory named a series of public places, landmarks and streets after ‘uniquely Australian’ people, objects and items. Bedourie Street in the ACT was named after the Bedourie Camp Oven, to pay tribute to the pioneers of the Queensland outback who used this now iconic firepit cookware.

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 some really good tucker with the locals. 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, tyre sales and repairs, restaurant and tavern. Motel, cabin and caravan accommodation are also available. *No auto gas services are provided in Bedourie.

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POINTS OF INTEREST

BEDOURIE OUTBACK VISITOR INFORMATION 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 shop for local souvenirs and gifts. Drop into the Bedourie Outback Visitor Information Centre. The centre is located next to the Diamantina Shire Council administration office. You can also book a spot at the Bedourie Tourist Park, and get a key to the Artesian Spa and Aquatic Centre (small fee applies). MUD HUT 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 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 AND AQUATIC CENTRE One of Bedourie’s favourite attractions is the Artesian Spa and 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.

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VAUGHAN JOHNSON LOOKOUT 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. 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. BEDOURIE OUTBACK GOLF COURSE Pick up a golf course map, score card and golf clubs for a nominal fee at the Bedourie Outback Visitor Information 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.

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Betoota

EXPERIENCE THE QUINTESSENTIAL AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK Betoota stands on a vast gibber plain, 170 kilometres east of Birdsville. With the pub recently reopening, Betoota is once again a popular watering hole, especially when events are on! In August the colour and excitement of the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival comes to Betoota for a spectacular time for all. 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

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beer. The pub remained closed for over 20 years, so it was with much celebration that it reopened in 2020! The pub once again offers cold beer and pub grub to weary travellers, along with the odd tall tale! Points of interest include Browns Creek 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.

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NATIONAL PARKS IN THE

Diamantina MUNGA-THIRRI NATIONAL PARK (Formerly Simpson Desert National Park) Every year, adventurous travellers 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 Wangkangurru 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 and the desert, and it’s an experience you will never forget. All vehicles entering the Munga-Thirri National Park must have a Desert Parks Pass and a vehicle mounted desert flag. People travelling to Poeppel Corner return need to purchase a camping permit. Desert Parks Passes and camping permits can be purchased at the Wirrarri Visitor Information Centre.

FOR INFORMATION ON TRAVELLING SAFELY IN REMOTE AREAS, SEE PAGE 18

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DIAMANTINA NATIONAL PARK A glorious wilderness, the Diamantina National Park is a must-see landscape. 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 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’, admire 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. Permits for camping can be purchased from the Wirrarri and Bedourie Outback Visitor Information Centres.

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Travel Safely KEEP SAFE IN THE REMOTE AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK

A JOURNEY through the Diamantina can be the trip of a lifetime with awe-inspiring landscapes to explore. With preparation, it will be a safe and enjoyable trip. NOTE THE ANNUAL SIMPSON DESERT CLOSURE Due to extreme heat, the Simpson Desert is closed annually from 1 December – 15 March. Do not travel across the desert during the annual closure, as temperatures often reach 45 to 50 degrees celcius. 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 Road conditions vary in the outback. Check the latest road conditions online at diamantina.qld.gov.au and click on the ‘Check Road Closures’ link. BE AN OUTBACK-WISE DRIVER The safest way to experience remote Australia is in a well equipped 4WD vehicle with high clearance. Ensure your vehicle is well maintained, serviced, roadworthy and inspect it every morning before you hit the road. 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. 018

TAKE THE RIGHT GEAR

WATCH OUT FOR WILDLIFE

The following items are the minimum requirement for travelling through the Diamantina, but you should find out about the places you are visiting so that you can be best prepared:

The region’s wildlife is 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.

„ Water || a minimum of 10 litres per person per day plus a 3-4 day reserve supply „ Food || enough for the trip plus a 3-4 day reserve supply

If ‘humanised’, animals may not be able to survive in the wild. They can also become aggressive towards people for food.

„ 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.

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.

„ Spare tyres || at least two tyres and tubes

BE A SAFE AND SAVVY CAMPER

„ Tools || 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 „ Recovery 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, recovery ramps, jumper leads and booster cables „ First aid kit „ Sun protection || sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and long sleeve loose shirts to help avoid sunburn, heat stress and heat stroke „ Personal Locator Beacon or EPIRB for life-threatening situations, satellite phone and UHF radio. Satellite phones may be hired for Simpson Desert crossings at Mount Dare or Birdsville. Contact the Wirrarri Visitor Information Centre on (07) 4564 2000.

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Avoid camping in creek beds or watercourses in case of flash flooding, and avoid setting up camp under trees that may drop limbs. Also, remember you are in a pristine landscape, and some of the best organic beef country in Australia. Take your rubbish with you, and use designated dump points. Fines apply for unauthorised dumping of rubbish and liquid waste. If your vehicle breaks down or is immovable: „ Do not leave your vehicle „ Stay calm „ Radio or phone for help „ Wait for assistance to arrive „ Ration food and water „ Conserve energy and stay in shade If 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 on driving safely in remote areas, see qld.gov. au/transport/safety/road-safety. For information specific to Munga-Thirri National Park, see https://parks.des. qld.gov.au/parks/munga-thirri.


Events

THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING HAPPENING IN THE OUTBACK MARCH:

JUNE:

BEDOURIE GOLF DAY Locals are proud of their outback golf course, and this is a great event to join them for a day full of dress ups and fun. Sometimes they even play golf!

BIRDSVILLE GYMKHANA & BIKEKHANA Bring the whole family to the Bronco Branding Yards 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. Then at night, loads of live music and entertainment!

MAY: BIRDSVILLE BRONCO BRANDING Experience the fast moving action and skills of bushmen and women as they demonstrate their skills. Witness teams tough it out to be the quickest to brand cattle using the traditional method of branding in the bush. The weekend isn’t complete without a campdraft competition and a much anticipated rodeo when the sun falls.

JULY: RUGBY LEAGUE NINES BEDOURIE Fans, tourists and locals alike are invited along to the local park, turned rugby league field, to cheer on the teams. Wanna get amongst the action? Teams of both men and women are encouraged to nominate with prize money of $10,000 up for grabs. 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 Most spectacular concert, with Big Red sand dune as the backdrop. Witness the tunes of Aussie music legends over three days and nights of non-stop music and entertainment. BEDOURIE CAMEL & PIG 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 camels race. 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 cookoff, where you bake your very own damper using provided ingredients. AUGUST: BETOOTA RACES The Betoota Races 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 the horse races the next day. Don’t forget there’s also Fashions on the Field, a mystery auction and lucky gate prizes. SEPTEMBER: BIRDSVILLE RACES Dubbed as the Melbourne Cup of the Outback, thousands of race goers converge on Birdsville each year to enjoy quality outback racing and entertainment. The second race meet in the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival, the 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 Dress to impress in pink for Bedourie’s much anticipated Races. 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.

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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 7 & 8: BIRDSVILLE RACES

DAY 13 & 14

Kick off your racing trifecta with the Betoota Races on the last weekend in August. This country race meet prides itself on being family friendly and is the perfect way to begin your Diamantina adventure.

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) at one of the many vendors open late.

Drop into the Bedourie Outback Visitor Information 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.

DAY 2 & 3 On the drive to Birdsville stop at Deon’s Lookout and the Dreamtime Serpent sculpture. After you set up camp in Birdsville head down to the Wirrarri Visitor Information Centre for the lowdown on the region’s best attractions. DAY 4 – 6 Spend time enjoying the heady atmosphere of Birdsville at race time. Wander around the many vendors and see the local sights such as the new Birdsville Courthouse Hologram Experience and the Wirrarri Visitor Information Centre. And of course, watch the bouts at the world famous Fred Brophy’s Boxing Troupe.

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DAY 9 & 10 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 – go fishing, fire up the 4WD and try conquering Big Red. DAY 11 & 12 Meander along the Bilby Way from Birdsville to Bedourie which winds its way past some of the region’s most extraordinary sites. Pitch your tent at Cuttaburra Crossing and see the amazing array of birdlife.

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DAY 15 BEDOURIE RACES The Simpson Desert Racing Carnival continues with the Bedourie Races. Head 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.


Wirrarri

Bedourie Outback

Visitor Information Centre

Visitor Information Centre

(07) 4564 2000 info@diamantina.qld.gov.au diamantina.qld.gov.au

T HE DIAMANTINA VISITORS GU ID E

1300 794 258 visitors@diamantina.qld.gov.au diamantina.qld.gov.au

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Itineraries DISCOVER BIRDSVILLE

DAY 1: BIRDSVILLE; GO BACK IN TIME „ Book the morning walking tour and find out about the history of Birdsville. „ Follow 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. „ Learn about the Traditional Owners: As you wander around town, keep your eyes open for the local Aboriginal artwork signs to learn more about the cultural heritage of Wirrarri (Birdsville). Visit The Meeting Place, another of the three sculptures in the Shire designed by members of the native Wangkangurru/Yarluyandi tribe. „ Relax at Pelican Point: Wind down and relax for a while across the Birdsville Billabong, with scenic waterfront views and ample birdwatching. „ Escape to the sunset on Big Red: For a perfect way to end a day in Birdsville, a night to remember for sure.

DAY 2: BIRDSVILLE 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. „ Sit 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. „ Have a beer and some pub grub at the Betoota Hotel. Chat with the locals and discover the magic of living in this majestic landscape. Explore Browns Creek. In the afternoon, head back to Birdsville and try the soon to be opened Birdsville Courthouse Hologram Experience. Finish the day with an afternoon viewing of ‘The Diamantina Spirit’ at the theatre in the Wirrarri Visitor Information Centre.

TO CONTINUE YOUR OUTBACK ADVENTURE, MAKE SURE YOU EXPLORE THE BARCOO AND BOULIA SHIRES AS WELL. SEE THE MAP ON PAGE 24

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DISCOVER BEDOURIE DAY 1: DESERT RECREATION WALK/SWIM/GOLF

DAY 2: LAW OF THE LAND POLICING/A COLDIE

„ Call into the Bedourie Outback Visitor Information Centre to grab a town map and some local souvenirs.

„ Serve up an Ace: Enjoy a leisurely half-day today starting with an energising morning hit of tennis at the Bedourie Tennis Courts.

„ Follow 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. „ Take 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.

„ Visit the old Bedourie Tracker’s Hut: For an insight into early policing, head to the historic Bedourie Tracker’s Hut, which was built around 1890 – 1910. „ Have 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.

„ Hit 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 3: NATURE’S CALLING SCENIC DRIVE/BIRDWATCHING/ WILDLIFE SPOTTING „ Take a drive to discover the surrounding landscape. Fill the car up, stock up on plenty of water and a picnic lunch before you set out. „ Cross over Cookawinchika Creek and Kings Creek Crossing. Turn left towards Windorah and follow this road until you come to the No. 3 Bore. This bore was significant in the late 1800s when all cattle were moved ‘on the hoof’ and water was the greatest concern for drovers. „ After stopping to freshen up at No. 3 Bore, take the road to the right towards Birdsville. Follow this road through scenic pastoral land until you reach the intersection. Take the right turn towards Bedourie. „ See the birdlife at Cuttaburra Crossing and stop at the memorial to Will Hutchison. „ Cross 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.

T HE DIAMANTINA VISITORS GU ID E

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Arrabury Road Cordillo Downs Track Walkers Crossing Burke & Wills Dig Tree

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Information

Contacts

ROAD DISTANCES TO (KM)

AIR SERVICES

Approximate distances will vary with route taken.

Rex Regional Express............www.rex.com.au............. 13 17 13

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 Mount Isa ..................................717...................................516 Innamincka via Cordillo Downs .............415 ..................................613 via Arrabury Road............... 568...................................748 via Walkers Crossing...........315...................................495 SIMPSON DESERT CROSSING (KM) To Birdsville via Mount Dare Homestead. BIRDSVILLE BEDOURIE Mt Dare - (French/QAA Line) .................. 502.................................. 698 Uluru/Ayers Rock ................... 1074 ................................1270 Alice Springs .............................917 ................................. 1112 Oodnadatta .............................. 758 ..................................954 Williams Creek ........................ 959 ................................. 1155 From Birdsville to Big Red – 35 From Birdsville to Poeppel Corner (150 sand dunes) – 166

NEED HELP PLANNING YOUR TRIP TO THE DIAMANTINA? Contact one of our Visitor Centres Wirrarri Visitor Information Centre 29 Burt Street, BIRDSVILLE QLD 4482 P 07 4564 2000 F 07 4656 3302 E info@diamantina.qld.gov.au

POST OFFICE Birdsville................................................................... 07 4656 3263 Bedourie.................................................................... 07 4746 1201 POLICE STATION Birdsville Police........................................................07 4744 1666 Bedourie Police....................................................... 07 4744 1600 ACCOMMODATION, CARAVAN PARKS/CAMPING Birdsville Hotel/Motel............................................ 07 4656 3244 Birdsville Tourist Park/Birdsville Lodge................07 4656 3214 Bedourie Hotel/Motel............................................. 07 4746 1201 Bedourie Simpson Desert Oasis........................... 07 4746 1291 Bedourie Tourist Park..............................................1300 794 257 COFFEE SHOPS & RESTAURANTS Birdsville Bakery...................................................... 07 4656 3360 Birdsville Hotel........................................................ 07 4656 3244 Bedourie Hotel......................................................... 07 4746 1201 Bedourie Simpson Desert Oasis........................... 07 4746 1291 Betoota Hotel.......................................................... 0407 739 798 TOURS Arid Air..................................................................... 0488 444 544 Birdsville Adventure Tours...................................... 0418 813 778 Big Red Tours.......................................................... 0448 979 555 Wrightsair – Scenic Flights...................................08 8670 7962 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

Bedourie Outback Visitor Centre 13 Herbert Street, BEDOURIE QLD 4829 P 1300 794 257 F 07 4746 1272 E visitors@diamantina.qld.gov.au

QLD National Parks Office.................................... 07 4657 3024 Not Just Hardware ................................................ 07 4656 4873 Birdsville QGap ...................................................... 07 4744 1663 Bedourie QGap ...................................................... 07 4744 1601

Social media #thediamantina @diamantinaqld @diamantinaqld Birdsville Bedourie Betoota - The Diamantina @thediamantina

T HE DIAMANTINA VISITORS GU ID E

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1300 794 257 info@diamantina.qld.gov.au www.thediamantina.com.au facebook/thediamantina

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Diamantina Visitor Guide 2021-22  

BIRDSVILLE | BEDOURIE | BETOOTA ... Simple Pleasures, Great Adventures

Diamantina Visitor Guide 2021-22  

BIRDSVILLE | BEDOURIE | BETOOTA ... Simple Pleasures, Great Adventures

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