Great. Inland Way. Sydney to Cairns M A P

Great D ETAILED MAP INSIDE Inland Way Sydney to Cairns Clematis Ridge, Carnarvon National Park • SYDNEY • BATHURST • ORANGE • DUBBO • GILGANDRA ...
Author: Miles Lamb
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Inland Way Sydney to Cairns

Clematis Ridge, Carnarvon National Park


Tooraweenah, Warrumbungles

Hebel Pub

The Unique Egg, St George

Hat Collection, Nindigully Hotel

Romavilla Winery, Roma

Discover where Australia acquired the line in its national anthem, ‘nature’s gifts of beauty rich and rare’ when you take to the road on the Great Inland Way. This fully sealed route leads from one natural treasure to another as it weaves its way from Sydney, to the wide-open roads of the outback and up through Queensland’s Central Highlands to Cairns, Cooktown and the pristine tropical playground of the Great Barrier Reef. Along its 2691km path, trodden by pioneering men and women, grand masterpieces carefully sculptured by millions of years of nature’s caressing by weather and time, fascinate and enthrall all that see them. Follow the Great Dividing Range where craggy mountain ranges and sandstone monoliths are interspersed with rolling pastures, open plains and welcoming towns. Underground, sparkling gemstones, the purest of gold, and the Great Artesian basin – the world’s largest and deepest aquifer – coupled with ancient art galleries and dreamtime legends present today’s traveller with a never-ending feast of attractions. Camping or accommodated, all are equally catered for. There are luxurious lodgings, secluded hideaways, first-class B&B’s, and the chance to get off the beaten track and escape all the hurly-burly associated with the modern day world. With literally something for everyone, you’ll soon appreciate why the Great Inland Way is considered the ‘Australian drive of all drives’.

Breadknife, Warrumbungles

Sydney to Queensland’s Border Leaving Australia’s premier harbour city Sydney, the Great Inland Way winds through Bathurst and past some of the state’s award-winning wineries in the surrounding Mudgee and Orange regions. Take the time to visit some of these wineries on your way to Dubbo, where at the Western Plains Zoo, more than 1500 animals roam. Hugging the unique Castlereagh River, an upside-down river where if you see water, the

river is flooding, the Great Inland Way passes through Gilgandra, Gulargambone, Coonamble and Walgett to Lighting Ridge, home of Australia’s national gem stone, the opal. Here, beneath the ochre tinted clay, the rarest opal of them all, the black opal is unearthed. Then it’s off to Hebel, just within Queensland’s border. Don’t miss a visit to the pub where the Kelly Gang once stood quaffing beers. Murals depict humorous outback scenes; even a sheep welcomes you to the public ‘bah’! This tiny little township, set on the banks of the Bokhara River, offers a touch of class with the Crafty Yum Yum as German pastry chef Hilmer bakes mouthwatering culinary delights. If you have a 4WD consider a detour to Culgoa Floodplain National Park. Heading north 65kms, Dirranbandi is home to the world’s largest privately owned irrigated cotton farm, Cubbie Station. St George – Roma St George, the fishing capital of inland Queensland is next. Here on the banks of the Balonne River fishing tales of huge Murray Cod and Yellowbelly come true. However, there’s more than just big fish in this picturesque rural town. Don’t miss meeting Steve Margaritis at the Unique Egg. Steve creatively carves emu eggs and his illuminated collection of over 100 eggs is extraordinary. While in town visit Riversands Winery, Queensland’s most western winery, St George Heritage Centre and do a tour of the cotton gin. Plan some time to visit Rosehill Aviaries, 60km west and Nindigully Hotel, 44km south. John Beardmore at Rosehill is a true bush character and his collection of Australian parrots is considered the most complete in the world. The authentically preserved Nindigully Hotel is reputed to be the longest running hotel in Queensland. The Great Inland Way then follows the Balonne River 108km to Surat, another gem for those who enjoy fishing. First stop should be The Cobb & Co. Changing Station with its 25,000-litre freshwater aquarium,

replica 14-seater Cobb & Co. Coach and art gallery. Then visit the Aboriginal Bush Garden, Villacoola Winery, the Cobb & Co. Corduroys and pretty Beranga Creek 3.5km north where in late summer purple water lilies erupt in an impressive floral display. A little over 60km east is Myall Park Botanic Garden, the oldest collection of Australian semi-arid plants in Queensland and the birthplace of the Grevillea Robyn Gordon.

Grevillea Robyn Gordon, Myall Park Botanic Garden

Roma From Surat, Roma is less than an hour’s drive away. Over 100 years ago, the accidental discovery of Australia’s first oil and gas reserves catapulted Roma onto the world stage. Learn all about it at the Big Rig. While in town enjoy a local drop at Romavilla Winery, Queensland’s oldest winery, see a cattle sale at Roma Bungil Saleyards, Australia’s largest store cattle selling facility, take a walk along the 100 bottle trees that line Heroes Avenue and visit the many historical buildings like the Court House where famous cattle duffer Harry Redford was controversially acquitted. Discover Injune and the Sandstone Belt Discover Injune, 89km north, in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range – a town full of spirit! Start by visiting the cypress pine log cabin information centre for a complimentary cuppa and chat with the locals. Then prepare yourself for a couple of days of exploring surprising treasures from both the natural and man made world. There’s a new historical trail and don’t

Carnarvon Gorge

Old Rainworth Fort, Springsure

forget to call in at the ‘Struth’ hotel where friendly cowboys wearing black hats are always in for a yarn. Surrounding Injune are some of the most impressive national parks in the country. Lonesome is a treat with its candlestick sandstone monoliths, deserted 90 year old boundary riders hut and rare Black Striped Wallabies. From the lookout, the view stretches across the Arcadia Valley, one of the best beef-producing areas in Queensland. Lake Nuga Nuga, the largest natural water body in the Central Queensland sandstone belt, is bird watchers paradise. Said to have formed by a pair of Mundagarri (Rainbow Serpents) to keep their skin wet, the lake puts on a fantastic show bi-annually when purple water lilies carpet its surface. Both parks are accessible by 2WD.

The Chimneys, Mt Moffatt, Carnarvon National Park

Central Highlands The spectacular Carnarvon Gorge should not be missed! Ancient Aboriginal art works, remnant rainforests and 21km of walking tracks meandering through the craggy sandstone cliffs lead to extraordinary sites such as the Moss Garden, Amphitheatre and Ward’s Canyon. The 298,000 hectare Carnarvon wilderness area is segmented into parks each with outstanding features courtesy of Mother Nature. Winding northwards, the Great Inland Way passes through Rolleston to arrive in Springsure. A striking sight lit at night, Virgin Rock looks over the town from within the pretty Minerva Hills National Park. Take one of the self-drive tours and visit the historical Old Rainworth Fort, the Wills Massacre site and

Lake Maraboon, Emerald

Pioneer Village, Capella

Fred’s Gorge. Access to the Ka Ka Mundi and Salvator Rosa sections of Carnarvon National Park are from Springsure. You won’t find a single emerald gem stone around Emerald, the vibrant heart of Queensland’s Central Highlands, 66km from Springsure. The new straw-bale visitor information centre is not hard to find – just look for the giant Van Gogh sunflower painting. Allow a few days for this area has much on offer. Around town, pay a visit to the Emerald Botanic Gardens, heritage listed Railway Station, the 250-year-old fossilised tree, and mosaic pathway. Extremely popular for those into fishing are Lake Maraboon and Fairbairn Dam. Here the famous Redclaw – freshwater crayfish – are caught by the dozens. A mere 44km to the west of Emerald is one of the world’s largest sapphire fields. Admire sapphires in a myriad of sparkling colours in the local galleries and gem shops. Crossing the Tropic of Capricorn, is the friendly town of Capella, 54km north of Emerald, encircled by a patchwork of multi-coloured crops forever changing across the black fertile plains. Drop in and see Australia’s largest wood-roofed station homestead – the Peak Downs Homestead at the Pioneer Village and take the relaxing self-drive tour through the Peak Range. Next is Clermont where gold fossickers armed with a detector and licence, are often compensated with valuable finds. Picnic at Hoods Lagoon and don’t miss the free tour of Blair Athol Mine to witness mining at the world’s largest seam of steaming coal. Only a few kilometres south, Theresa Creek Dam is a beaut spot to camp and fish. At nearby Copperfield, see all that remains of Queensland’s first copper mine. Ghosts of Gold – Charters Towers Winding northwards, the Great Inland Way calls into Belyando Crossing before arriving in Charters Towers, once Queensland’s second largest city after the discovery of gold. Immaculately restored buildings and attractive parks grace the streets of this charming city. The best place to start at is the Visitor Information and Orientation Centre then allow the Ghosts of Gold to escort you around this exciting ‘living museum’ taking

The Stock Exchange, Charters Towers

in the Venus Battery, Stock Exchange, and Towers Hill with its cute allied rock-wallabies and historic World War Two bunkers. Take the short drive to visit Dalrymple National Park and the heritage-listed town of Ravenswood. When you finally release yourself from Charters Towers’ enchanting grasp, continue to Undara Volcanic National Park. On an organized tour, walk around the rim of Kalkani crater and explore the world’s largest lava tube system. The Tablelands – Cairns & Cooktown Green undulating pastures, rainforests, cascading waterfalls, lookouts, lively markets, quaint art and craft galleries are just a few of the treasures to be uncovered as the Great Inland Way meanders through the Atherton Tablelands on its final leg to Cairns and Cooktown. With an unmatched beauty, Tropical North Queensland bestows picture perfect scenery every day. This is where world heritage-listed rainforests meet the world heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef – don’t forget the camera!

Cairns Marina

To the east, the tropical capital of Queensland, Cairns and seaside villages from the glamorous to the secluded await. A day on the reef is essential even for those who like to keep their toes dry opportunities exist so no one misses out viewing this magical marine playground. Surrounded by paradise, Cooktown is a relaxed seaside town where one can escape the humdrum of more populated tourist destinations. The recently renovated James Cook Historical Museum and botanic gardens are both worth a visit. Find secluded beaches, serene lagoons, and exquisite views. What a finale!

Hiking through fields, Roma

Sydney to Cairns

QUIRKYFACTS Pack the fishing lines. Clermont, Charters Towers and the Atherton Tablelands all boast large reservoirs stocked with freshwater Barramundi. Head to Cooktown to try your hand in the saltwater.

• CDMA, GSM and 3G is available in most sizeable towns along the Great Inland Way and extends 10-20km to the surrounding area. • Standard mobile phones have coverage in most towns. For more accurate information on these services contact your mobile carrier.




Opal is found as either precious opal or common. Both precious and common opal is found in three major forms: Nobby opal (found as rounded nodules from the size of a pea to as large as a potato), Seam opal (usually found as a horizontal layer, or seam, in the opal bearing rocks) and Fossil pseudomorphs (false forms).



Did you know that Sapphires come in other colours than ‘blue’ (for example pink, green, purple, yellow, orange, white etc)? The different colours are caused by trace mineral impurities within the corundum; a form of aluminium oxide.


Did you now the Great Artesian Basin underlies 23% of the continent, including most of Queensland. The basin is 3000 metres deep in places and has been estimated to contain between 9 and 65 cubic kilometres of groundwater.


You will cross the Tropic of Capricorn at the Theresa Creek bridge between Emerald and Capella.


Anyone for golf? Capella, Clermont, Charters Towers, Greenvale and Mt Garnet all boast real bush courses, for any traveller needing a fix.



In their hey day, Cobb & Co. coaches travelled 28,000 miles (44,800 km) per week. New South Wales Coaches were painted red and Queensland coaches painted white.


Did you know the Great Dividing Range is Australia’s most substantial mountain range, stretching more than 3500 km from northern Queensland to Victoria.


If you’re worried about accommodation, don’t be. Along the Great Inland Way are numerous caravan parks, hotels and motels, host farms and backpackers. Information on accommodation is available from the Visitor Information Centres and tourist organisations listed on the back of this brochure.



Opal, Lightning Ridge Opal Mine

The Art Gallery, Carnarvon Gorge

Fossicking, Sapphire Gemfelds

Venus Gold Battery, Charters Towers

Freshwater Lakes and Rivers

James Cook Museum, Cooktown Housed in the original St Mary’s Convent, the Museum contains diary excerpts from Cook himself, as well as original artifacts from the Endeavour, which ran aground off Cooktown in June 1770. There are also excellent displays of this region’s colourful Indigenous, Chinese and European histories. Freshwater Lakes and Rivers The length of the Great Inland Way, tranquil billabongs and lagoons, rivers and creeks lined with huge old shady gum trees, and massive dams form some of the most important waterways and wetlands across Australia. They are an oasis for wildlife supporting numerous bird species, insects, fish and plants.

Undara Lava Tubes

Sapphire Gemfields One of the world’s largest sapphire fields, only 44km west of Emerald, the Sapphire Gemfields is still is still today a place where stories of rags to riches come true! The stunning stones unearthed come in a myriad of colours and the Central Highlands sapphire fields are noted James Cook Museum, Cooktown for the discovery of some of the finest gems in the world. Venus Gold Battery, Charters Towers The only complete gold mill and cyanide works remaining from the Charters Towers boom era, the Venus is testament to the ingenuity of the early industrial miners, who perfected the art of extricating gold from its hard quartz casing. Add the noise, the heat, the fumes and the desperation and you’re back in 1872! Undara Lava Tubes Volcanic eruptions 190,000 years ago have formed a magical landscape of craters and caves, arches and tunnels, pools and rainforests, amidst the sparse beauty of the northern savannah. Take a crater walk at dawn or enter the underworld of swirling gasses and boiling rock in the Undara lava tubes.


Cobb & Co. Changing Station, Surat

Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo Discover the fascinating animal world at Dubbo’s Western Plains Zoo. Across grassy plains 1500 different animals from five continents of the world, roam in Australia’s first open-range zoo. The breeding and conservation programs engineered, especially those dealing with endangered species and the educational exhibits, have gained the zoo world recognition. Lightning Ridge Opal Mines The opal is Australia’s national gemstone and the Black Opal, the rarest opal in the world, is found nowhere else except at Lightning Ridge. Often described as ‘nature’s own fireworks display,’ these beautiful gems dated to be around 110 million years old are mined from sedimentary rock one to 30 metres deep underground.

Elephants, Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo

Cobb & Co. Changing Station Museum, Aquarium and Gallery, Surat The legendary reliable service of Cobb & Co coaches, ‘the first people movers of inland Australia’, lasted for over 75 years. Surat farewelled the final Cobb & Co. horse and coach in 1924 and pay tribute to the pioneering icon at the Changing Station. Also, see the amazing 25, 000 litre freshwater aquarium and art gallery. The Big Rig, Roma More than a century ago, the unexpected discovery of gas on Roma’s Hospital Hill signalled the birth of Australia’s oil and gas industries. The Big Rig celebrates this unique historical event with captivating collections from the past to today’s The Big Rig, Roma multi-million dollar industry. The night show re-enactments, complete with pyrotechnics, are amazing. Carnarvon Gorge Carefully sculptured by millions of years of weathering, spectacular Carnarvon Gorge is a national treasure. The gorge itself stretches for over 30km sheltering rainforest remnant species such as endemic Livistona palms, ancient cycads and fragile ferns. Aboriginal artworks, considered some of the oldest in the world, adorn sandstone overhangs.



Spectacular Sunset

Wheat Fields

Fossicking, Sapphire Gemfields

Balonne River, St George

Undara Lava Tubes


Visitor Information Centres are conveniently situated along the Great Inland Way in each town or major centre and their friendly staff can provide information and maps. QUEENSLAND ACCREDITED VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRES Cooktown – Natures Powerhouse Tel: (07) 4069 6004 or 1800 174 895 E-mail: [email protected] Kuranda – Kuranda Visitor Information Centre Tel: (07) 4093 9311 E-mail: [email protected] Cairns – The Gateway Discovery Centre Tel: (07) 4051 3588 E-mail: [email protected] Mareeba – Mareeba Heritage Museum and Tourist Information Centre Tel: (07) 4092 2906 E-mail: [email protected] Atherton – Atherton Tableland Information Centre Tel: (07) 4091 4222 E-mail: [email protected] Ravenshoe – Ravenshoe Visitor Centre Tel: (07) 4097 7700 E-mail: [email protected] Charters Towers – Charters Towers Visitor Information Centre Tel: (07) 4752 0314 E-mail: [email protected]

Emerald – Central Highlands Visitor Information Centre Tel: (07) 4982 4142 E-mail: [email protected] Injune – Injune Information Centre Tel: (07) 4626 1053 E-mail: [email protected] Roma – Roma Visitor Information Centre Tel: (07) 4622 8676 E-mail: [email protected] St George – Balonne Shire Visitor Information Centre Tel: (07) 4620 8877 E-mail: [email protected] NEW SOUTH WALES ACCREDITED VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRES Lightning Ridge – Lightning Ridge Visitor Information Centre Tel: (02) 6829 1670 E-mail: [email protected] Walgett – Walgett Visitor Information Centre Tel: (02) 6828 6139 E-mail: [email protected] Gilgandra – Gilgandra Coo-ee Heritage and Visitor Information Centre Tel: (02) 6847 2045 E-mail: [email protected]

Dubbo – Dubbo Visitor Centre & Events Bureau Tel: (02) 6801 4450 or 1800 674 443 E-mail: [email protected] WELLINGTON – Wellington Visitor Information Centre Tel: (02) 6845 1733 or 1800 621 6143 E-mail: [email protected] Orange – Orange Visitor Information Centre Tel: (02) 6393 8226 or 1800 069 466 E-mail: [email protected] Bathurst – Bathurst Visitor Information Centre Tel: (02) 6332 1444 or 1800 681 000 E-mail: [email protected] LITHGOW – Lithgow Visitor Information Centre Tel: (02) 6350 3230 E-mail: [email protected] BLUE MOUNTAINS – Glenbrook Visitor Information Centre Tel: 1300 653 408 E-mail: [email protected] Sydney – Sydney Olympic Park Visitor Information Centre Tel: (02) 9714 7545 or (02) 9714 7888 Sydney Visitor Centre Darling Harbour Tel: (02) 9281 0788 Sydney Visitor Centre – Sydney International Airport Tel: (02) 9667 6053 Sydney Visitor Centre – The Rocks Tel: 13 20 77 or (02) 9240 8788 For futher information regarding these and other New South Wales Visitor Information Centres visit:

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