Travel Queensland

Discover history & tales along the Matilda Way


Travel Queensland and discover the diverse and stunning Outback landscapes in central & western Queensland. It is here where Australian icons, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Australia's national airline Qantas, were born.

Fascinating country towns invite you to discover the cultural heritage and meet the friendly locals.

Experience unique adventures while you visit a sheep or cattle station. Step back in our planet's history following Australia's Dinosaur Trail. Challenge your luck fossicking for gemstones and precious opals.

There is so much to discover while you drive along the Matilda Way. Let me guide you to the best places and help you find your personal highlights for your travels in Outback Queensland.

Bronze statue of an Outback ringerStatue of the Cunnamulla Fella

The song Cunnamulla Fella was written by Stan Coster, and sung by the legendary Slim Dusty. It pays tribute to Australia's pastoral heritage. The statue was unveiled in 2005.


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The 1812 km journey along the Matilda Highway

The Matilda Way is a tourist route that starts in Barringun on the NSW/Qld border (southern end) and runs north to Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria.
The different sections of this all-bitumen road are officially called the Mitchell Highway, Landsborough Highway and Burke Developmental Road.

In honour of the famous song "Waltzing Matilda", which was written by Andrew Barton Paterson near Winton, this main touring route through Outback Queensland received its nickname Matilda Way. It is an easy way to experience the true Outback on a sealed road. Any place west of this route is even more remote.

Wide plain with yellow Mitchell grassMitchell Grass Plain

The Matilda Way crosses a region of diverse & stunning landscapes...

  • the endlessly rolling Mitchell grass downs that produce food for cattle & sheep
  • harsh rocky ranges rich in zinc, copper, lead and silver ore around Mt Isa
  • flat plains as far as your eye can see along the Gulf of Carpentaria. Where the Outback meets the sea is Karumba, the prawn capital of Queensland
  • wildlife is abundant, as anywhere in the Australian Outback

Take your time. Throw a fishing line into a river to catch your dinner. Go bird-watching and enjoy Australian wildlife. There are several detours that are worth doing.
Don't miss the opal fields near Quilpie or Yowah. Outback Queensland is really famous for its boulder opal.
Matilda country
is a fascinating part of the Australian Outback. It's the land of bush poets and yarns, stockmen and shearers. A region full of history from a great past.

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Post office and the tower that connects the Outback with the worldPost Office in Longreach

Major towns along the Matilda Way

Here's a list of the major towns, places and probable detours as you travel from the NSW border north to the Gulf.

  • Cunnamulla - see the statue of the Cunnamulla Fella, discover wildlife and native plants along the Warrego River Walk.
    Detour to the west (64km) and discover Eulo, famous for the World Lizard Racing Championships.
    Even further west is the small opal town of Yowah, famous for its boulder opal mining.

  • Charleville - visit the bilby reserve, the school of distance education and the RFDS base and museum. There are several heritage registered buildings in this major town.

  • Blackall - home of the original black stump. 1892, Jackie Howe set a world record, he shore 321 sheep in seven hours, 40 minutes with hand shears.
  • Ilfracombe - old tractors and machinery along the road are known as the "machinery mile". while you are there, enjoy a drink in the Wellshot Hotel.

Old tractor in IlfracombeOld machinery in Ilfracombe

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  • Longreach - plan to stay for a night, or better two, because there is so much to see in this town. The Qantas founder museum and Stockman's Hall of Fame are only two of the attractions.
    The Australian Stockman's Hall Of Fame in Longreach pays tribute to the early settlers, and provides the visitors with an unique Outback experience.
    Don't miss a spectacular sunset on the Thomson river.

  • Winton is the birthplace of Qantas, the famous Australian national airline. The saying goes that Qantas was conceived in Cloncurry, born in Winton, and grew up in Longreach.

  • Lark Quarry south of Winton, and Muttaburra north of Longreach - this is the land where dinosaurs roamed in ancient times, it is worth a detour.

  • Combo waterhole - this is the place supposed to be the billabong from Waltzing Matilda. It is only a small detour from the Matilda Way, a must see place! Read more about Australia's famous folk song.

  • McKinlay - a small town and a famous pub. The Walkabout Creek Hotel was featured in the Crocodile Dundee movies.

The famous Crocodile Dundee Pub in McKinlay, QueenslandCrocodile Dundee's pub - The Walkabout Creek Hotel

More attractions when you travel Queensland along the Matilda Way

  • Cloncurry - with the opening of the Aerial Medical Service, John Flynn's dream became reality. Yes, the well-known Flying Doctor Service was born here. A visit to the John Flynn museum is very worthwhile.

  • Travelling north towards Normanton, you'll see more and more termite mounds. Once you arrive in the small town on the Norman river, you can nearly smell the sea. Normanton is just 35 km from the coast as the crow flies, however, you have to drive another 72 km to reach the final end of the Matilda Way, Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Beautiful Outback sunsetSunset Thomson river Longreach

The spirit of Waltzing Matilda, stories of the early settlers and pioneers, they can be found everywhere in this central section of Outback Queensland.

Read more about the destinations along the Matilda Way


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Questions & Tips


Birdsville to Townsville 
I am planning a trip along the Birdsville Track through to Townsville April next year. I can find plenty of information / maps from the south into Birdsville …

Birdsville, 1961- 50 years on ! 
Hi Rita. In 1961 I was on a Bureau of Meteorology survey which involved the location and checking of various artesian bores in this region. I was in …

Question about Australian Crocodiles 
Hi, My name is Enya and.....um I know this sounds stupid but.....in Queensland would you actually come face to face with a crocodile when swimming in …

Stop the Australian Camel Slaughter 
Sorry to say that the Australian government is proposing to slaughter camels because they generate green house gas. Here is a petition to try to get …

Windorah to Birdsville 
Hi Rita I have spent some time driving 4wd around the channel country and have had numerous trips from Southwest Queensland to Windorah and beyond. …

Windorah and Cooper Creek 
Best time to visit Windorah and Cooper Creek? I will be in Australia in January to mid February 2010. Is it possible/feasible to visit you part …

Back to the Past. 
The photo is of Suzie, the one-eyed horse, the guy on the back is me, one of the last £10 Poms. At least I think it's me because after 37 years I look …

I loved outback Queensland!  
I just feel that I have to share this with all those people who travel along the coast of Queensland and never turn inland. There's so much to see in the …

Below you'll find more useful articles to help you plan your journey.