Hands up if you had been planning an overseas getaway that unfortunately looks like it will be postponed for now (my hands up….might see you in 2022 Mickey Mouse’s House, as my 3 year old would say).
Well don’t get too disparaged international jet setters, because the Quilpie Shire in South West Queensland has some fantastic sites to rival any international monument and we are going to prove it to you.
Hey there Grand Canyon, this is Hell Hole Gorge
Arizona may have the Grand Canyon and yes it is incredible, have seen it with my own 2 eyes, but here in the Quilpie Shire we have Hell Hole Gorge National Park and as you can see above, Hell Hole Gorge is nothing to be sneezed at.
Like the Grand Canyon, Hell Hole Gorge features steep rocky banks deeply incised into the stark earth of its surrounds, providing a literal natural wonder in the middle of nowhere. Peer into the depths of Hell Hole or Spencer’s waterholes, explore Powell Creek and the large river gum’s rising from the water or simply sit and enjoy the serenity of this peaceful oasis.
Located 70km north of Adavale, however you choose to spend your time here, we guarantee it will be a trip of a lifetime.
Kilimanjaro meet your very distant relative twice removed, Baldy Top
Now we will admit that Baldy Top is not quite as tall as Kilimanjaro but like they say….it’s not the size (of the mountain) that matters!
What Baldy Top lacks in height it sure does make up for in spectacular views. Whether you make the climb in the early morning to see the sun rise over Quilpie, during a sunny day or in the evening for an outback sunset like no other, the 360 views are out of this world.
Forget sail Croatia, let’s Canoe Lake Houdraman
Now we know that sailing along the coastline of Croatia admiring the crystal blue of the ocean as the sun glistens off the waves sounds like a dream but let me tell you, canoeing along Lake Houdraman as the sun rises and the birdlife awakes is pretty magical too.
Lake Houdraman is a natural lake just north of Quilpie on the flood plains of the Bulloo River and is an oasis to an abundance of birdlife, travellers and even sweaty, hot locals in the height of summer.
The lake provides visitors with the opportunity for water related activities like fishing, canoeing or even skiing (the latter being more of a summer activity obviously) or even simply enjoying a waterside picnic under the shade of a river red gum while watching the birds play amongst the water lilies. A great spot to visit along your outback adventure.
(Photo courtesy Roger Volz)
Egypt might have big Pyramid’s but we’ve got big Dinosaur’s
Forget the great pyramids in Egypt, the Quilpie Shire has its own fair share of impressive archaeological sites in the form of Dinosaur’s. In fact the Quilpie Shire is home to Australia’s largest Dinosaur and you can meet him, ‘Cooper’ at the Eromanga Natural History Museum.
Located 3km from Eromanga, you’ll not only learn about the Quilpie Shire’s prehistoric history but also discover the intriguing giant wombat looking fella (known as the Diprotodon to those sciencey people) from Eulo, as well as other unique megafauna that once roamed this great land.
Even more reason to plan a visit is that in March 2021 they will be opening the new stage of the Museum; we are excited! For more information visit: www.enhm.com.au
Ditch the crowds at the Sistine Chapel for a pew at St. Finbarr’s, Quilpie
Now we aren’t denying that the Sistine Chapel is an incredible building with its rich history, gorgeous architecture and artwork by Michelangelo. But St. Finbarr’s Church has some incredible artwork of sorts inside too and some fascinating history to boot.
Take a walk through the church in Quilpie and admire the Altar, Font and Lectern all adorned with locally mined Boulder Opal. The story goes that in the 1970’s the priest at the time wanted to include opal in the church to represent the industry. He approached local miner and all around Opal guru Des Burton to provide ‘a little bit of opal’ for the Church and in true Outback style….this is the ‘little bit of Opal’ that Des donated to the Church.
Sure, it doesn’t have a 500 year old painting on the ceiling but don’t worry, the uniqueness of this little church with the Opal sure can hold its own with the big boys.
You thought the Louvre had masterpieces, let us introduce you the Quilpie Shire art scene.
Start your Quilpie Shire artists retreat with a visit to Quilpie’s very own artist in residence, Lyn Barnes. Lyn’s incredible pastel artworks effortlessly capture the colours and essence of the Outback and are on display in her private gallery.
Next make your way to the Quilpie Shire Gallery at the Visitor Information Centre and see what particular exhibition is on display. The little regional gallery hosts 6 exhibitions a year from local creatives to artists from far and wide.
To be honest, by just taking a leisurely stroll around Quilpie you can enjoy the incredible street art on display. From the stockman and his herd to the 45 metre mural and mosaic, opal inlaid tables or even the gumnut chairs, there is something that everyone will find intriguing.
Rural eateries serving up international delicacies
I bet the last place you thought you’d find High Tea on the menu would have been the tiny town of Adavale (around 15 residents), 97km north of Quilpie, but the Elegant Emu is serving up delicious delicacies akin to a Parisian Café.
From the chandelier overhead, the fine china teapots and tea cups to the incredible pastries you will be shocked to find you aren’t in a café looking up at the Eiffel Tower.
Wednesday night’s mean one thing to Quilpie residents and that is; Parmy night! Let TK’s at the Club take you on a trip to Italy with their 9 mouth-watering varieties of Parma’s to choose from including the classic. Be adventurous and try a ‘Fungi’ or ‘Outback’ or maybe a bit of fire with the ‘Mexican’.
Whatever your choice you won’t be disappointed!
As you stroll through down town Quilpie on a weekend you’ll think it’s spring in Buenos Aires with the delicious smell of BBQ in the air. No it’s not Argentinian gaucho’s creating that heavenly smell but the outdoor Parrilla Grill at the Heritage Inn. For an incredible feast make sure you make a booking for Parrilla during your stay in Quilpie and even enjoy live music by owner, Paul.
Get the scoop on the Natural Sciences Loop
For years people have travelled America getting their ‘kicks on Route 66’,but there is another iconic route you have to travel and it passes right through the Quilpie Shire.
Palaeontology, history, geology, astrology and a whole heap of other ‘ology’s’ are waiting for you along the Natural Sciences Loop as it passes through the Shire’s of Quilpie, Bulloo, Paroo & Murweh.
The fully sealed loop is just under 1000km long but offers chances for some fantastic detours off the track as you make your way round.
There you have it. There is so much to see and do in our own backyards that you can cancel all those future international plans and travel Australia. And the best place to start your Aussie travels??…well that’s the Quilpie Shire of course, so start planning today and visit: www.visitquilpieshire.com
See you soon!