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Longreach - The Heart Of Queensland
longreachNo place best describes the sunburnt country that Dorothy McKella told of so poetically, than Longreach, home of the famous Stockman's Hall of Fame. As the hub of Central Queensland, it is the centre of an extensive wool and beef industry and is an ideal destination for a campervan hire holiday in Queensland's outback.

The best way to travel here is by picking up your vehicle in Rockhampton and travelling 700km inland until you reach the actual city of Longreach. The drive along the way will bless you with wide sweeping plains and long, dry roads that beckon you on and on to explore more of this fascinating part of our country. This is essentially the best and truest way to experience the best of our great southern land.

The weather here can easily be compared with many other areas of the state; it is generally warm during the day and cold at night. This is largely owing to the fact that Longreach lies directly on the Tropic of Capricorn, causing the odd weather sensations that make this area so unique. There is also a higher rainfall during the summer months with thunderstorms usually at the end of summer, so if you are planning to travel around this time of the year, be sure to pack your raincoat.

From the minute you arrive in Longreach, you will instantly be greeted with warmth and made to feel right at home. Most of the streets in Longreach are named after birds, which add to the uniqueness of the town. Once you are settled it would be worthwhile taking a walk down the main streets as this town depicts all of the essential things that make it Australian. The people, housing, shops and streets are worth a closer look to fully appreciate this historical outback town.

The Stockman's Hall of Fame would have to be the main attraction of the town and is essentially what helped put Longreach on the world map. This museum is so big that you will really need at least three hours to fully appreciate it. The exhibits and structures depict the true essence of Australia's history, with elements of Australia's historical timeline holding a strong presence within the institution. This History Time Line includes information on the first fleet, early settlement in Sydney, major explorations, pioneers and a true to life depiction of what life was like in the bush and rural Australia throughout the years. This is the ideal place to visit to get a true taste of Australian life.

While visiting the Hall of Fame you should also check out the Qantas Founders Outback Museum which is located opposite the Hall of Fame. This museum offers an interesting take on the history of Qantas in Longreach and demonstrates the town's unique aviation history. Longreach was actually one of the founding centres for Qantas in the early 1920's, so you can be sure to find a wealth of historical records and photos that capture the heart of the town. The Powerhouse Museum is another must-see and will fascinate your minds and imaginations.

Continuing on with your driving spirit, journey 64 kilometres out of town and you will come across the Starlight's Lookout. As Longreach is a relatively flat town, this is one of the area's only elevated positions and therefore offers stunning views of the city itself and the surrounding Mitchell grass plains. Simply spectacular!

There are so many things to do in Longreach apart from the historical attractions and natural beauty of the town. The local sheep stations are definitely work a visit and nothing beats the views of the milky way without the haze of the city smog. The spectacular country sunsets will stun and amaze you, while sitting around a campfire, with the smell of billy tea and damper, or a hearty breakfast being cooked over the coals, will keep you coming back again and again.

The Thomson River gave Longreach its name, due to the Long Reach of the river. Take an afternoon to find a spot to picnic and try your hand at fishing. Even if you don't catch anything, you will have fun dong it and it offers the perfect chance to relax. Alternatively, you can take a Billabong boat cruise which will be the perfect way to enjoy the sunset and enjoy the tranquility of the river at dusk.

Longreach is one of those destinations that change the way you view life. Endless attractions and beauties, as well as the eternal love the locals share for the land, will capture your heart and demonstrate the true essence of the Australian outback.

Christine Barton

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