The gateway to the ultimate Queensland outback experience, Longreach is celebrated for its rich history, heritage and community.
Named after the “long reach” of the Thomson River which runs through it, this Western Queensland town is a tribute to traditional industries of cattle and sheep farming and the legends who shaped it.
From immersive experiences that provide a flavour of contemporary rural life to the breathtaking natural landscapes that snake the riverbanks, Longreach offers an endless array of iconic attractions.
Here’s our pick of the best things to see and do in and around Longreach.
Getting to Longreach is easy with regular flights from Townsville and Brisbane. Both Avis and Budget car hire services are available on arrival at Longreach Airport to give jet-setters the freedom to explore at their own pace.
Alternatively, travellers can choose to jump on the Brisbane to Longreach train. The Spirit of the Outback is the only sleeper carriage train in Queensland is the best way to see 1300 kilometres of ever-changing natural beauty. Coming from further north? The two-hour drive from Winton to Longreach makes it the perfect destination for a weekend road trip.
Enjoy a dose of Australian history in Central Queensland. Aviation geeks and keen travellers alike will appreciate the Qantas Founders Museum, formed by a group of locals who wanted to preserve the story of the airline. The world-class museum opens its doors to roughly 400,000 visitors each year who are thrilled to walk the wing of its hallmark attraction, as a retired Boeing 747 that sits on red dirt outside. Across the road is another must-see Longreach museum, the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame whose exhibitions chronicles the lives of the country’s greatest and bravest outback explorers.
Jump in a car and head to the bush for spectacular views of Longreach and surrounding plains. While there are many magnificent Longreach lookouts, Starlight’s Lookout is perhaps the most iconic of them all. With a sunset like no other, the 40-minute drive from town is well worth hitting the road if only to climb the majestic rock where the infamous Captain Starlight and his men camped with their 1,000 strong stolen cattle.
Home to generations of stockmen and shearers, Longreach proudly pays heritage to its pioneering past and happily shares what it means to live in outback today. Hold onto your hat as you gallop through town and along the original Longreach to Windorah mail route with the Outback Pioneers’ Cobb & Co Stagecoach Experience. For a peek inside a historic homestead, tour the working shearing shed and cattle yard of Camden Park Station which once welcomed Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
One of the best spots to wrap up the day is along the Thomson River. Book early to wrangle a seat on a sunset cruise aboard the only paddle wheeler west of the Great Divide. If you’d rather perch yourself on the riverbanks to cast a line, yellowbelly are plenty so you’re bound to bring in a catch. Keen to immerse yourself in the action? Longreach’s soft-as-silk water makes the ideal conditions to try your hand (or foot) at barefoot waterskiing.
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While Longreach’s roots in camp-oven cuisine are still prevalent, the town’s boasts a burgeoning foodscape. For a sumptuous breakfast that will set you up for the day, make your way to The Lazy Sheep cafe. Prefer a pastry to go? Rise early to avoid the queue at Merino Bakery. For dinner, warm your belly at one best Longreach restaurants, Harry’s Restaurant & Bar where a fine but unpretentious dining experience awaits.
Nestled in the idyllic bush is one of the newest and more affordable Longreach accommodation gems, Albert Park Motor Inn or opt to stay at Longreach Motor Inn to drift into a deep slumber. Rather ditch the car and explore by foot? Base yourself at Jumbuck Motel and enjoy the convenience of being a stroll away from the area’s top attractions.
Luxury in the outback can be hard to come by, but you’ll find a slice of it at Longreach hotel, Saltbush Retreat. Choose from rustic homestead stables, outback cabins and slab huts to rest your head, all of which have been crafted using traditional techniques. The best part of this boutique lodging? Putting your feet up in one of their claw-foot bathtubs as you look onto the rugged landscape below.
Where else is better to take in the timeless landscapes than in bush itself? Longreach Tourist Park caters for all travellers, whether your idea of an outback oasis is sleeping under a canopy of stars or resting in a comfortable air-conditioned villa.
Longreach is a natural base for discovering the best outback Queensland has to offer. Locally-based tour providers Outback Pioneers and Outback Aussie Tours will provide an unforgettable taste of the bush and the unique characters that call it home. Join a day or multi-day tour to explore further afield and walk the steps of dinosaurs, cheer on a field of racing camel or marvel at the wilderness from above.
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