sandy outback road

Windorah - Heart of Channel Country

A fascinating town in Outback Queensland

Windorah is a little Outback town in the Barcoo Shire in south eastern Queensland. In Aboriginal language "Windorah" means "big fish". Indeed, the rivers & channels in this area are great fishing spots.

The town was named and surveyed in 1880, although the Western Star Hotel and a shop had already existed for two years.

old shed
Whitula museum and information centre

The location on the banks of Cooper Creek which is well-known for its numerous channels and gullies that give name to the area: Channel Country.
Although the little township has some historic buildings, the diverse landscapes, wildlife and stunning nature are the highlights, and give you some true Outback feeling.
Don't miss the stunning sand dunes on the western edge of the town.

The Barcoo and Thomson rivers join 35 km north west of Windorah to form Cooper Creek. In time of flooding you can get stuck in this area for days, as the Cooper spreads for several kilometres.
Every couple of years the flood waters of Cooper Creek reach Lake Eyre in South Australia, however, this is said to be a rare occasion.

The Cooper is definitely an Australian icon that found its way into song lyrics and the poetry of Banjo Patterson.


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Points of interest

Windorah is surrounded by scenic and diverse countryside. To the north is typical red earth and dune country, while to the south the channels of Cooper Creek expand to the South Australian border.

  • The red sand hills just ten minutes to the west of town are beautiful, especially in the late afternoon. The colours of the dunes change during the day to a deep red at sunset.
    Take your time, watch the sun go down, feel the sound of silence, it is a true Outback experience.
  • Take the 12 km long nature drive just outside of the town that leads you to the Cooper.
    Don't forget to stop for a walk, it is worthwhile. The nature trail explains the trees and plants that are native to the region. Don't forget to pick up a brochure at the visitor information centre.
    If you're lucky, you'll see some unique wildlife. After good rains wildflowers are abundant. It never ceases to amaze me how much nature changes after some rain in the Australian Outback.
  • Visit the information centre and Whitula museum. The friendly staff invites you to explore the old slab hut and the Cooper Queen, a steel boat that brought supplies to town before the bridge over Cooper Creek was built.
  • The library has local arts and crafts on display.
  • Try your luck and catch a yellowbelly or other fish for dinner in the Cooper.

How to get to Windorah

Coming from the north and the east, all roads into Windorah are sealed, at least a single lane of bitumen. It's a 1200 km drive from Brisbane. I told you the Outback is a huge place!

From Longreach on the Mathilda Highway it is a leisure drive of 336 km through scenic country. You'll pass Stonehenge and Jundah, two little townships worth to have a stop at.
Don't miss Swanvale lookout between those towns. There's a rest area, and the views over the surrounding area are gorgous.

Jundah is the administrative centre of the Barcoo shire, and the largest of the three towns (population ~ 350) in the shire. The Thomson River is a good spot to catch a fish and relax.

Being a fan of the red Outback dirt roads, it saddens me to learn that the final stretch of road from Juhndah into Windorah is sealed now.
Sure, I understand that the locals prefer to have a reliable road that doesn't turn into deep mud after rain. But from a traveller's point of view, driving on a dirt road is part of the Outback experience.

Coming from the west, both the Diamantina Developmental Rd from Bedourie, and the Birdsville Developmental Rd from Birdsville, are still mostly gravel roads.

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For accommodation in Windorah click the "where to stay" link below.
Population: 158 (2006 census)
Location: Approx. 1,196 km northwest of Brisbane
State: Queensland
Post Code: 4481
Elevation: 126m
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)
Best time to visit:
Summers are hot, and in winter it can become frosty here. Rain is not predictable, some years are dry (with duststorms) while in wet years major flooding occurs
Windorah offers accommodation, a shop & fuel.
river and a bridge
Cooper Creek at Windorah
colourful sand hill
Stunning red sand hills
country pub
Western Star Hotel

Destinations in Outback Queensland & general travel tips


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