Outback Queensland Trip - Advice Please

Submitted: Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 12:39
ThreadID: 97825 Views:1871 Replies:4 FollowUps:6
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Hi everyone. I am new to this site, and could really use your help :).
We are planning a trip with the following itinerary:

Brisbane - Charleville (1 night @ Evening Star Tourist Park)
Charleville - Windorah (3 nights @ Coopers Creek rfree camp)
Windorah - Carisbrooke Station, Winton (the back way - turn off at Jundah) (6 nights)
Winton - Emerald (2 nights @ Sapphire Caravan Park)
Emerald - Cania Gorge (3 nights @ Cania Gorge Tourist Park)
Cania Gorge - Brisbane

I have been using the RACQ Trip Planner to calculate distances between each destination, but am not sure how accurate their calculations are of the TIME it takes. For example, the RACQ site says it takes 8 hours to get from Charleville to Windorah, but I read on a forum somewhere that it takes 4 hours.

I was hoping that some people who have travelled these roads could help me out, especially with the time it takes to get from Charleville to Windorah, and then Windorah to Carisbrooke Station (or Winton, still the back way).

Another option of ours was to travel from Windorah to Isisford (turning off after Stonehenge), staying at Isisford for 2 nights and then going onto Winton via Longreach. Any advice on the Stonehenge to Isisford road would be great too.

Thanks in advance for your help :)
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 14:34

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 14:34
G'day Randa,

Welcome to EO. It's a great place for info, and some good reading/research.

Charleville to Windorah should take about 5 hours, but depends whether you are towing or not. It's mostly all single lane bitumen, so if you meet many road trains then your times will increase. Apparently there are a number of passing lanes on that road now, but they are often not where you need them.

Windorah to Jundah is now all bitumen, and wide enough to pass another vehicle without dropping a wheel off the blacktop. The 96km should take you an hour, but there is a Jump-up on the way that might delay you, as you do the Kodak thing. Turn-off to Winton is on west side of Thomson River, but worthwhile going in to see the tidy little town of Jundah.

Think it's about 365km from Jundah to Winton. I'll check shortly, and if I'm too far wrong, will add a follow-up. The road from the turn-off is well sign posted, and usually in good order for a gravel road. You will pass stations like Warbreccan, Westerton and Tonkoro, before you reach the Mayne River. That's about 178km, or 2-2.5 hrs travel.

From the Mayne, the road may deteriorate for the next 20-odd k's, but will then continue to improve until you get to the Lark Quarry (dinosaur trackways) turn-off about 72 km from the Mayne. This is worth seeing, really brings Jurrassic Park to life.

From the Lark Quarry turn-off, its about 7km to a Tee junction. Turn LEFT to head to Carisbrooke, which is about 50 km further on. There are signs here to direct you to Carisbrooke, as well another sign, 18kms further on, where you turn RIGHT.Carisbrooke is on the right hand side, just after you pass Meteor Ck. There is another way to go into Carisbrooke, "the back way", but I feel the one I described is a lot more scenic.

When you get to Winton, make sure you see Waltzing Matilda Centre, Searles' Outback Store, Corfield & Fitzzmaurice Store and the Australian Age of Dinosaurs(It's about 22km out of town, but worth seeing, the views are magic, and the coffee's pretty good too).

Check my Profile photos, think there's a photo of Winton-Jundah road.

Have a safe trip,

Bob.

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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AnswerID: 494234

Follow Up By: randa - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 22:03

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 22:03
Thanks so much for all of the info Bob Y! We will be towing an offroad camper trailer. Definately plan on seeing Lark Quarry and all of those places in Winton! Oh and your photos are amazing......can't wait to get out there! Thanks again.
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FollowupID: 769917

Reply By: Member - Old Girl - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 14:39

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 14:39
Brisbane - Charleville is a big day. The stop go road works will take extra time.
Charleville - Windorah is done in one day easy, depends on the traffic as a lot of the road is single lane from Quilpie with rough drop off's. We left Charleville about 9.30 and arrived at the Cooper Creek about 4pm. That included about 15mins for lunch at Quilpie. When it was safe I did tow the van at 100km/hr often.
Enjoy your trip.
AnswerID: 494235

Follow Up By: barney136 - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 19:27

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 19:27
When camping at Windorah Coopers creek make sure penty of fly spray or nets.They are usually in plague proportions there.Nice spot though.
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FollowupID: 769891

Follow Up By: randa - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 22:07

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 22:07
Thanks Old Girl and barney136. Flies are the one thing I am not looking forward to on this trip! :)
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FollowupID: 769918

Reply By: Kris and Kev - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 19:46

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 19:46
Great drive the way you are planning.
We camped at Cooper Creek end of July and the creek was flowing and heaps of birds, but no flies etc then. Heaps of very good camping spots.
Cania Gorge Tourist Park is a great place to stay. You may know already, but get a mud map from reception and do the 4wd track to the old plane wreck and the track to the old gold mine.
Have you booked Emerald? We were going to stay there in June but all of the caravan parks, hotels, motels were full. Even the free camp beside the river was packed. We stayed at Anakie instead. Kevin
AnswerID: 494251

Follow Up By: randa - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 22:15

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 22:15
Thanks Kris and Kev. I have heard that the best spots to camp beside Cooper creek are at the end of the nature drive?? We have enquired with Sapphire Caravan Park (which we have heard great reviews about), and they have two powered sites available. We will be there around the beginning of October, so in the school holidays - I was really suprised they weren't booked out. What is the free camp beside the river like? Thanks :)
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Follow Up By: Kris and Kev - Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 06:25

Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 at 06:25
randa
We have never stayed at the free camp in Emerald. It looks OK, just usually busy and I believe there is a toilet in the gardens beside the park, but with the amount of campers there I am not sure how many toilets there are. Last time we stayed in Emerald (2 years ago) we stayed in a bush camp that was off the road that goes to the dam, for $5 a night.
That lookout Graham B9 talked about is a great place and totally unexpected. I think there were only 3 campers there when we checked it out, 2 caravans and one bus.
Kevin
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FollowupID: 769932

Reply By: graham B9 - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 21:00

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 21:00
Instead of 2 nights at Isisford stay one night free camping outside Stonehendge. It was one of the best free camps I have ever stayed (done the lap twice freecamping so know the free camps).

When heading to Stonehendge from Windorah it is on top of the plateau before you drop down to the plain and Stonehendge. (12 kilometers or so south of Stonehenge). You have to look for the sign on the left and go all the way in. It does not look like much but great once you get there. There is a lookout where you can watch the sun setting over the plain. Listen to the birds, light a camp fire and generally be on the only person / family on the planet. Ground is level and there is a good turn around if you are towing a caravan. No facilities so be self contained. It is in the camps 5 and 6.
AnswerID: 494259

Follow Up By: randa - Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 22:18

Tuesday, Sep 04, 2012 at 22:18
Thanks Graham B9. That free camp sounds amazing. Will check it out :)
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FollowupID: 769921

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