The first four days of our Queensland outback adventure were spent travelling from the Gold Coast to Blackall. We had an overnight stop in Roma and then two nights at Charleville.
Our first destination was Roma which is about 475 kil0metres west of Brisbane. We passed through several smaller towns on the way to Roma, including Dalby, Chinchilla and Miles. We stopped in Chinchilla for a late breakfast and a leg stretch.
Most of these towns are typical of Australian rural towns and offer basic shops. From what I have seen many of these small towns offer places of interest for tourists to visit such as rural museums. Many of these museums celebrate our Australian Outback Heritage.
We arrived in Roma about 1pm, as we did encounter several lots of roadworks along the way. We booked into the Big Rig Tourist Park and quickly set up the trailer. Then we headed across the road to the Big Rig Oil & Gas Museum. This is an informational museum which describes the history of the discovery of Oil and Natural Gas in the Roma Region.
I found the museum a little disappointing as one section of it was closed, but we did end up going back for their ‘Night Show’ which was a half hour video presentation on the Gas and Oil history and was far more informative than the museum itself.
We were up early the next morning and after a quick breakfast packed up and headed into town where we drove down the Avenue of Heroes. Over 140 bottle trees were planted to commemorate the soldiers of the Roma district who lost their lives during the First World War. Each tree has a concrete memorial at it’s base with the name of the soldier that tree commemorates.
We then headed off towards Charleville. The road is basically dead straight but certainly not flat. It was quite rough in places and definitely not a road you would like to be on at night as there were so many dead kangaroos on the side of the road. We also saw a dead pig, an emu and a goat. We also saw two of the most massive Wedge-tailed eagles that I have ever seen feeding on a dead animal. Would have loved to see them in flight.
We arrived in Charleville about lunchtime again and headed to the camping area I had picked out. The Evening Star Tourist Park is situated about eight kilometres from the centre of Charleville on a working cattle station. I was most impressed with my choice. It was quiet and out of the way with lovely clean en-suite style amenity blocks at the rear near the camping area.
The rest of the park has powered sites. They have a fantastic camp kitchen and communal area. This area includes a huge camp fire pit which the owners light every evening. It was a great way to meet and talk with other campers. They also have a resident pet kangaroo who comes to visit each camp site of an afternoon. But beware she will get into your food, tent and towels if you let her!
Charleville itself is a small quiet town that is well known for the Charleville Cosmos Centre. This is an open air observatory where you can view the sun during the day or the stars at night as well as visit the Information Centre. The night viewing was probably one of the most interesting things I have ever done. A great educational experience for both children and adults.
We also visited the Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitors Centre to learn about this vital outback service. I should also make mention of the Charleville R.S.L Club. It is a really lovely little country club (still has The Ode at 7pm) with a great menu and great food.
Monday morning saw us packing up again and heading to Blackall via Augathella and Tambo. We stopped at Lake Tambo and had lunch. Once again we just opened the kitchen out and made a sandwich. Cheap and easy. We decided to stay at a camp spot recommended in Camps Australia Wide – situated behind the Barcoo Hotel in Blackall. For $20 (in 2011) we got a powered site and because we had saved money on the camp site we had dinner at the pub. We also went to the Blackall Swimming Pool which has an Artesian Spa which is heated to about 35`. Very relaxing after a days drive.
So all in all, our first 4 days of travelling from the Gold Coast to Blackall have been fantastic, a great experience with plenty to see and do, but still with time left over for relaxing.