Continuing with our series of iconic destinations around Australia, we venture to Longreach in Central Western Queensland - 686 Km west of Rockhampton or 1,176 Km from Brisbane, with a population of around 3,000 people. These outback locations have a rich history that can only be fully appreciated with a visit to the region. The wealth of Central Western Queensland in the post war years was an era when Australia was riding on the sheep’s back with a buoyant wool industry with large pastoral properties. Longreach today is proud of its past and allows you to step back in time and experience what it was like in those times.
It’s no wonder that Longreach has become a significant tourist destination with many outback experiences on offer. Here are some of the exciting things to see and do.
Longreach is the home to Australia’s premier outback heritage institution the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame. The centre features five themed galleries displaying the history behind some of Australia’s most celebrated and bravest explorers, stock workers, pastoralist, and Aborigines. The centre showcases the history and the culture of life in rural Australia. Since its opening, over 1 million people have passed through its doors.
Longreach was one of the founding centres for Qantas and now proudly is the home of the Qantas Founders Outback Museum. The world-class museum and cultural display details the history of Qantas through interpretive displays, interactive exhibits, replica aircraft and an impressive collection of genuine artefacts. The museums’ collection spectacularly features four of the world’s most significant airliners – the Consolidated PBY Catalina Flying Boat, the Douglas DC3, the Boeing 707 and the legendary Boeing 747.
The Longreach Powerhouse Museum is the largest preserved rural generating facility in Australia. Displays in the museum explain how electricity was generated, maintained and distributed throughout the Shire, and the distribution network maintained. But there is even more in the Social History Museum with displays of early Longreach history; Longreach Swimming Baths; Nogo Cottage (depicting family life in the west from 1935 to 1955); and displays of agriculture and road maintenance machinery.
Formerly known as the School of the Air, you are sure to have heard or read about the school before but here is the opportunity to experience it first-hand, with a guided tour of one of the largest classrooms in the world. Listen to Live ‘On-air’ lessons with students and teachers and learn how education is delivered outback style. There are only 16 such schools in Australia, and Queensland hosts 7 of them. This is quite a unique experience that puts the vastness of Australia into perspective.
Cobb & Co were the pioneers of stagecoach travel and mail services throughout Australia. Take a ride on a Cobb & Co Stagecoach, travel in a restored stagecoach, first at a leisurely pace through town and then full-tilt along a stretch of the original Longreach-Windorah mail route.
‘Dead men tell no tales’, is an expression you will have heard before, well tales abound in the Cemetery at Longreach, and a guided tour will give some fascinating insights to some of the former citizens of this outback town going back to its very early history.
Visit the famous Camden Park Station, the historic homestead that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited in 1970. Take a guided tour through the historical homestead, cattle yards, and shearing shed and capture the experience of outback life and an insight into the history of grazing in the Outback.
Longreach is well served by a range of accommodation, from luxury cabins to budget motels and caravan parks.
Images: Tourism & Events Queensland