14 Jun 2022
From Townsville to Mount Isa, the Overlanders Way is your chance to discover a new side of North and Central Queensland.
More famous for sparkling beaches and island paradises, another side of Queensland awaits on a trip through the Overlander's Way.
Townsville to Mount Isa
From the Great Barrier Reef to the rocky outcrops and red sand of north-west Queensland, the Overlander's Way takes you through towns rich in history, dinosaur discoveries and some of Australia’s most unique events.
Distance to Travel: 1,100 kilometres
Recommended Trip Length: 8-10 Days
Named in honour of the first colonial Australians, who drove cattle to Central Queensland from the Northern Territory throughout the 1800s, the Overland Way is steeped in national folklore.
Commencing in the coastal hub of Townsville, make your way inland approximately 1,100 kilometres to reach Mount Isa and experience Outback Queensland’s unique way of life, scenery and top notch Aussie hospitality.
Start your trip in Townsville
At home in the tropics and just a short ferry away from the koalas of Magnetic Island, Discovery Parks – Townsville is a magnificent resort set amongst classic Queensland palms.
Suggested Stay in Townsville: 2-3 nights
Nearest Discovery Parks: Discovery Parks - Townsville
The world is your oyster in Townsville with activities like scuba diving, a street art trail you shouldn’t miss, and the chance to go on a horse riding tour of the beautiful Horseshoe Bay. The Strand and Castle Hill are not to be missed as places to soak up the Far North Queensland atmosphere, while the incredible Magnetic Island should be on everybody's must-do list.
4 Things To See and Do in Townsville
- Magnetic Island
- Street Art
- Billabong Sanctuary
- Castle Hill
Visit Magnetic Island
The World Heritage listed Magnetic Island or 'Maggie' is only a 25-minute ferry ride away.
Explore the hinterland on numerous nature walks including the the historic Forts Walk and keep an eye out for sleepoing koalas. Cool off with a swim at any of the island’s pristine bays. Hire a jetski or kayak and circumnavigate all of part of this beautiful marine sanctuary.
Explore the Street Art Trail
Escape for an hour or so and discover 20 large scale murals that are hidden in the laneways and alleyways of Townsville.
Commissioned by the city of Townsville, artists from around Australia and the world have contributed to this living exhibition.
Billabong Sanctuary offers Australia’s best interactive wildlife experience.
Just 20 minutes south of Townsville, the park features native Australian animals in their natural habitats of eucalyptus forest, rainforest and wetlands.
Summit Castle Hill
Just metres short of a mountain, Castle Hill is a giant pink granite monolith that stands proud in the centre of Townsville.
As well as offering vehicle access, Castle Hill provides a number of popular walking tracks and 360-degree views of Townsville from the top. Take your time at sunrise or sunset.
Townsville to Richmond
via Charters Towers and Hughenden
You'd be silly not to break up the trip from Townsville to Mount Isa, especailly with so much fascinating history and unique nature to explore.
If you were to set off early from Townsville, there's no reason you couldn't hit all three of these spots in one day, or over a couple of days, which we highly recommend.
Distance to Travel: 499 kms
Hours by car: 5-6
Suggested stay: 1-2 nights
Nearest Discovery Park: Discovery Parks - Cloncurry
Charters Towers is an old gold mining town 136 km outside of Townsville and is a beautifully restored part of the regions history.
Porcupine Gorge National Park near Hughenden is a step back in time to the dinosaur era, while Julia Creek between Richmond and Cloncurry is famous for its spectacular outback sunsets and plays host to the annual Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival, an awesome weekend for anyone trying to sample the best (and weirdest) parts of Outback Queensland!
Hughenden is the heart of Australia's dinosaur country and any visit here should include the Flinders Discovery Centre and Museum, which houses an extensive display of fossils from around the world and locally.
Further down the road at Richmond, Kronosaurus Korner is Australia's premier marine fossil museum and home to Australia's best vertebrate fossil, 'Krono' Kronosaurus Queenslandicus - a 10 metre, giant marine reptile, and 'Wanda' - Australia's largest fossilised fish!
4 Things to See & Do on the Overlander's Way
- Towers Hill at Charters Towers
- Porcupine Gorge National Park
- 'At the Creek' at Julia Creek
- Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival
Towers Hill at Charters Towers
Once the second largest city in Queensland, this gold rush era settlement has been preserved as a monument to its former bustling self.
Enjoy its wide open main street and grand old architecture reflecting the former prosperity of this historic outback town.
At 420m above sea-level, Towers Hill Lookout offers a panoramic view over Charters Towers. It is also the site at which an Aboriginal boy named Jupiter first discovered gold in December 1871!
Porcupine Gorge National Park
Known locally as ‘Australia’s Little Grand Canyon’, Porcupine Gorge is made up of towering sandstone cliffs that have been carved into the landscape over time by the surrounding creek.
It's also a goldmine for anyone who loves finding dinosaur fossils!
At the Creek
At The Creek is a must-do experience when visiting Julia Creek.
Much more than a Visitor Information Centre, it has audio and visual displays showcasing the country and people of Julia Creek including a virtual reality cattle muster experience. You can also learn about the native Dunnart - a small nocturnal marsupial unique to this part fo Australia.
Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival
Held in April each year, the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival is a celebration of live music, the country’s toughest triathlon, bog snorkelling, horse racing, PBR Bull riding and Australia’s Best Butt competition! This is the Outback at its best and funniest.
Julia Creek to Cloncurry
Burke and Wills found beauty here on their 1861 expedition here - now take your turn when you stay with us at Discovery Parks – Cloncurry.
Distance to Travel: 137 kms
Hours by car: 2
Suggested stay: 1-2 nights
Nearest Discovery Park: Discovery Parks - Cloncurry
‘The Curry’ is the birthplace of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), launched by Reverend John Flynn in the 1920s. Learn how Flynn harnessed the emerging technology of pedal radio to pioneer outback communication.
Stop into the Mary Kathleen Memorial Park and Museum to view Robert O'Hara Burke’s water bottle, observe local history and photographs, as well as a celebrated rock and mineral display.
2 Things to see and do in Cloncurry
- See the first QANTAS hangar
- Visit the birthplace of the Royal Flying Doctors Service
Visit the original hanger for the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Servive (QANTAS) from which its first commercial passenger was flown in 1922!
The unassuming hangar in the remote Queensland town of Cloncurry is the home of Australian civil aviation.
From here the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd, better known as QANTAS, took to the skies for the very first time.
John Flynn Place Museum
When vision meets innovation, all goals are achievable.
In honor of the extraordinary efforts and achievements of Australia’s early pioneers, the Cloncurry John Flynn Place Museum pays tribute to Reverend John Flynn and his team for their dedication and success in overcoming isolation and bringing communication education, and health to remote Australia.
The museum takes you on a journey following in Flynn’s footsteps from conception, birth and the legacy of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, born in Cloncurry in1928 to improve quality of life for rural Australians.
Cloncurry to Mount Isa
This may be the outback, but you’ll still have a river view!
Distance to Travel: 121 kms
Hours by car: 2
Suggested stay: 3-4 nights
Set by the banks of the beautiful Leichhardt River, Discovery Parks – Mount Isa is an excellent base to explore this centre of Australian outback life.
If you’ve never experienced Rodeo, you’ve come to the right place too – Mount Isa is renowned as the Rodeo Capital of Australia and their annual event is fast and furious fun.
For a well-rounded taste of this rugged mining country, head to Outback at Isa, don a headlamp and descend into a purpose-built mine, then visit the fascinating Riversleigh Fossil Centre. Got kids? They'll love Queensland’s largest all abilities playground, Mount Isa Family Fun Park.
5 Things to See and Do in Mt. Isa
- Mt. Isa Rodeo
- Lake Moondarra
- Isa Experience Gallery
- Hard Times Mine
- Mount Isa Family Fun Park
Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo
4 days of rodeo action are the feature of this annual festival of all things Outback Queensland.
Watch local cowboys ride bucking bulls and enjoy the thrills, spills and exhilaration of the biggest rodeo in the Southern Hemisphere. A huge community event from August 11-14, 2022.
The spectacular Lake Moodarra is 17km north of Mount Isa and is a popular spot for swimming, boating, sailing, canoeing and fishing, and has a wide variety of native wildlife.
There are several scenic picnic areas around the lake with large shady trees and these are some of the best places in Mount Isa to have a barbecue. The Barbecues are free of charge and have a woodpile that is stocked regularly.
Mount Isa Experience Gallery
The ‘Isa Experience Heritage Display’ is a must do for those interested in an in-depth look at Mount Isa from its humble beginnings more than 90 years ago.
Book a self-guided tour and wander through the interactive and vibrant displays depicting Mount Isa from the early days to the thriving town of today.
Hard Times Mine
The Hard Times Mine Tour is more than a tour – it’s an experience!
From the moment you meet your tour guide who has worked as a miner for most of his life, to the kitting-out in overalls and cap lamps, this is an experience you won't forget.
Mount Isa Family Fun Park
The Mount Isa Family Fun Park is the largest all-abilities playground in Queensland!
Opened in 2009, the park cost more than $4.25 million to design and build, and offers locals and visitors alike the perfect facility to play, relax, and enjoy.
The Family Fun Park is built to be accessible to everyone, regardless of their level of ability or movement and to have something for everyone to play on.