Last week I managed to swing another day off work and make a trip to Charleville for the day, mainly to do some well overdue shopping but also to have a little look round the relatively big (for the outback) town. Ben has seemingly become my outback taxi driver, first driving us to Birdsville and now taking me to Charleville, although both times he was heading there anyway and I just managed to catch a lift. I had great day having a wander round the shops, heading to Heinemann’s Bakery for lunch and having one of their meat pie’s which was so yummy! I took a walk down by the Warrego River then made my way to the Historic House to get a map and see what else there was tourist wise in the town. I got chatting to one of the guys working at the house called George, who of course knew everyone in Quilpie and wanted a chat about them. He also talked me through all the great things there are to do in Charleville, which I’d definitely recommend checking out.
At the Cosmos Centre there is a great information zone where you can learn all about our night sky and the universe, as well as hold fallen meteorites. The main attraction is definitely the night time observatory, where you can view stars, clusters and even planets such as Jupiter at the right time of year, whilst one of the experts talks you through various stars and constellations. It rarely gets cloudy in the south west meaning you are pretty much always guaranteed to have great views on the evening. They do book up quickly though so be sure to book in advance.
-Royal Flying Doctor Visitor Centre
The RFDS do incredible things for the people of outback Queensland, managing to reach people in the remotest areas, saving lives and transporting them to a hospital to be treated. We experienced the work this brilliant organisation do firsthand when our boss’s mum had her accident in August and was flown out of Quilpie to the Gold Coast and it makes you so grateful for them. The RFDS visitors centre in Charleville offers a self guided tour where you can discover the history of the organisation, right up to the work they do today. There are plenty of displays featuring the equipment and aviation methods used by the Flying Doctor, as well as exhibitions about the staff, patients and supporters. This is a free centre but I’d definitely recommend you leave a donation to help support this wonderful cause, no matter how small, every little helps!
Bilby’s are adorable little marsupials, seriously google them, you’ll fall in love, and you can find a lot of them living in Charleville at the Bilby Experience. The volunteers at the centre can tell you everything you need to know about Bilby’s, their mating habits, habitat, diet, just about anything you could think of. As part of your entry fee you’ll also get to watch a great movie about the hard work their carers put into trying to save these endangered creatures from extinction. You can also book onto the ‘Up Close and Personal Experience’ where you are able to do just that, whilst your guide tells you some great facts about the Bilby. The centre is open all year round and you’ll definitely need to book in advance to guarantee a chance to visit these super cute marsupials.
-Brolga, Bustards & Beauty Birds
The owner of Woolabra Station (37km north of Charleville) and your tour guide Kevin has been farming for years and is keen to share his experiences and knowledge about his property and the wonderful birds who thrive among the many acres. Hear his story and learn about his unique irrigation system, native wildlife and the relationship between farming and the environment. The tours run from April to October at 8.00am & 1.30pm, lasting around two hours.
-Audio Heritage Trail
There is plenty of history in Charleville and the audio heritage trail will teach you all about it. Visit the Visitor Information Centre and pick up your CD and map before heading off on this informative and interesting tour. At just $5 it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours.
-Convoy Tour WWII USA Sites
Charleville was a big player in WWII which many people don’t realise. The United States military took over the airport there and used it as a top secret site, with over 3500 soldiers also moving into the area to work. Take your own car and participate in the Convoy Tour, learning about the important sites and stories as you drive along. All tour guides have a wide knowledge of the area and are happy to answer any questions, a definite must for all history nuts!
-Thurlby Station Tour
Thurlby Station is a brilliant way to experience life on a station in the Australian Outback, having worked on a cattle station for three months myself I can definitely recommend this as a brilliant way to spend a day! The property is 8km’s away from Charleville and nearby is the Evening Star Caravan Park where you can spend an evening or two! The property owner can teach you all about the struggles and hardships of farming this arid land, as well as the rewards it returns as well.Tours run Wednesday & Saturday mornings at 9am with morning tea included in the price of the tour.
-Historic House Museum
Finally of course be sure to pop in and see George at the Historic House, bought by a group of local residents in the 1970’s this wonderful little museum is full of interesting items and artefacts from back in the day. You can also buy some great Charleville souvenirs there too. The Historical Society also operates from there and the staff are all well informed and happy to answer any questions.
You can find information about all the attractions above and more at the Tourism Information Centre in Charleville, or online here.
Enjoy your time in the Outback!