Legendary Longreach - Heart of the Outback

Saturday, Sep 05, 2009 at 00:00


Gathering dark clouds looked ominous in the late afternoon, but it doesn't rain here in September does it? We were camped on the grey floodplain clay which they say you will never get off if it rains at the Longreach Apex Riverside Park Free Campground on the Thomson River.

Suddenly thunder roared, followed by a heavy shower if rain. My husband went outside to turn the gas on and came back a few centimetres taller. His muddy boots went into plastic bags placed just inside the caravan door and we didn't dare venture out for the rest of the night. It was a windy night and the cloud remained but there was little more rain. A Shire worker told me in the morning that there had been over an inch (25 mm) of rain overnight. Fortunately the wind had dried the surface of the clay enough for us to move.

First on the sightseeing list was a visit to the Stockmans Hall of Fame. This large museum features pioneers of Australia in all fields; early explorers, settlers, stockmen and women, aviators, miners, storekeepers, showmen and hawkers. All had their part to play in the history of this land. Outdoor demonstrations had been cancelled the previous day due to the heat and the day we were there they were cancelled due to rain.

Horse drawn “Cobb and Co” coaches take tourists for rides through the town and a little way out of town along the Jundah Road on a 45 minutes ride.

After a few very light showers in the morning the cloud thinned and the sun broke through. We felt confident to return to the same spot at the Thomson River campground. With some cloud remaining the golden sunset was beautiful, and then unexpectedly there was a flash of lightening and a road of thunder. Puddles formed in the grey clay again, and with no wind overnight the clay was very sticky in the morning. Following the advice of a traveller on an internet forum, I tied plastic shopping bags over my shoes to avoid having them coated in sticky mud. Everyone laughed at my matching green ‘snow shoes’ as we packed up.

The Powerhouse Museum is opened at 2 pm each afternoon. Placed next to an artesian bore and the 1921 swimming pool, the powerhouse was close to the town centre as DC power does not travel distances well. In addition to power plants used over the years, other machinery and vehicles are also on display. Overshadowed by the better known Stockmans Hall of Fame and the Qantas Museum, the Powerhouse is an underrated museum we found particularly interesting.

The Qantas Museum is also a major draw card in Longreach, however having seen the history of Qantas at Winton, we decided this was the one we could miss.

Read more detail about this trip and see all the photos in our 2009 Travelogues

Red desert dreaming

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