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Beyond Birdsville - beyond the black stump

Outback Queensland's remote west


So you ask me "What is beyond Birdsville?" Good question. You came here either along the Birdsville Track, or from the Matilda highway on your travel Queensland experience.

ruin in the outback
Carcory homestead ruins between Birdsville and Bedourie

Wherever you came from, whatever direction you go from Birdsville, I promise you there is more great Outback scenery and loneliness. This is definitely "black stump" country. From Birdsville there are a few options, but first I'd like to answer your next question "what does black stump mean"?

Okay, the black stump is an imaginary point after which the country is considered very isolated, remote, empty. There are many towns in Australia that claim to have the original black stump. But believe me, the black stump is rather in people's mind than a signpost of any kind.

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Where to go beyond Birdsville?

Leaving Birdsville you have several choices to go to.

  • The eastern option from Birdsville is along the Birdsville Developmental Road to Windorah, the heart of the channel country.
    It is a lonely 460 km drive with no facilities along the way. Low jump-ups, shimmering mirages and stony plains as far as you can see. Hey, that's the Australian Outback.
    Betoota was once the only tiny town on this route, however, the last hotel and fuel spot closed down in 1997.
  • If you are into a very challenging adventure, you can go west and cross the famous Simpson desert into Outback South Australia. The QAA Line leads to Poeppel corner where you can choose to step further into the Simpson, or go south and join the Birdsville track.
    This is only for very experienced and well-equipped 4x4 adventurers.
  • The third choice is to head north along the Eyre Developmental Road to Bedourie, and further to Mt. Isa. Although this is called a road, I thought road conditions were even worse than on the Birdsville track. At least it was much lonelier.

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Birdsville to Bedourie - Eyre Developmental Road

This route is also known as the Bilby Way.

  • A few kilometres out of Birdsville is a very rare stand of ancient trees. These Waddi Trees only occur in a few places in the world. You can see Waddie trees here in western Queensland, around Alice Springs and in South Africa.
    Listen to the eerie noise of the wind howling through these ancient trees.
  • Next, the ruins of the abandoned Carcory Homestead are worth a stop. It is a protected heritage site, and a good example of the type of homesteads built by the early settlers.
  • Cuttaburra crossing further north is a permanent waterhole and wetland area on Eyre Creek. It is a welcome change in the scenery. If Eyre Creek is in flood you need to take the Lake Machattie detour, a very remote track.
  • Road conditions along Eyre Developmental Road:
    I recently read an article that the developmental roads in south-west Queensland should be improved in the future. So there are definitely patches of bitumen, but still many stretches of dirt road.
    As I said before, I found the route particularly rough. But conditions change all the time, depend on the weather and when the grader went through the last time.
    Click here to download the latest road report from the Diamantina Shire's website.
  • Travel distance between Birdsville and Bedourie is approximately 186 km.
The fascination of Outback Australia is the ever-changing scenery. One moment you traverse a barren spot that makes you think it is the end of the world...
... while the next moment you cross a creek, lined with bushes and trees, and you are in a different world.

Bedourie - Population 120

Bedourie, another small bush town with true Outback character. It is the administrative centre of the Diamantina Shire.
The town's name means dust storm, and there are quite a few sand dunes around that can produce dust.

Bedourie's artesian water supply is of good quality, it even feeds the pool and spa of the swimming complex. After a hot day on the dusty tracks this is just heaven, don't you agree?

The sand dunes surrounding Bedourie are very photogenic, especially in the late afternoon. Climb on top of a dune and enjoy an unique sunset. The silence is only broken by the howling wind and the sound of the birds. For accommodation in Bedourie check the Queensland travel tips page.

Pictures along Eyre Developmental Rd

ancient waddi trees in outback queensland
Waddi trees
creek crossing and cattle
Cuttaburra Crossing
lonely track
Do you feel the loneliness?
ancient waddi trees in outback queensland
Different scenery at King Creek
sand dunes
Bedourie dunes in the afternoon

Destinations beyond Birdsville & general Outback tips

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