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Charleville - The Real Outback
charleville qldQueensland is an incredibly diverse state because it enjoys a unique blend of landscapes, sights and weather conditions. One of the best ways to experience this diversity is to head west towards the red heart of Australia to the largest town in the southern central outback. The journey from Brisbane to Charleville is rich in history and abundant in natural attractions. Totalling a not too shabby 750km in length, this drive will take you through the likes of garden city of Toowoomba, and past some truly incredible scenery that will take your breath away.

Magnificent sunrises and sunsets are characteristic of this region and these are pleasantly contrasted with clear night skies that are sprayed with millions of stars. Vast open spaces span for as far as the eye can see and the natural landmarks that you will rarely come across here will no doubt delight and enchant you. Although the outback is usually associated with extremely hot weather, conditions vary here so come prepared with lots of woollens, especially if travelling in the winter. Sunscreen is a must during summer, while Spring and Autumn bring pleasant warm days where a T-shirt or singlet is more than acceptable.

If you wish to split this ride into two, you should definitely make an overnight stop in Roma. Although this is 6 hours from The drive from Brisbane, this is a city that is definitely worth the trip. Be sure to keep a lookout for kangaroos at dusk as they can jump out at any time and can cause some serious damage to your vehicle. While traveling to Roma, you will pass through some fantastic towns and cities such as Toowoomba, Dalby, Chinchilla and Roma. Take some time to discover the rich beauty of these towns and who knows, you may even choose to stay the night.

Although the sights and scenes of the outback will amaze you, it is the people here that will stay in your heart forever. The locals around here are so friendly, and always at ease, which will make you feel right at home from the minute you arrive. Enjoy a good old cup of tea with some of the at a local cafe and chat about life in the outback, or listen to their tales of the past. Take some time to visit some of the sheep and cattle stations that surround Charleville for an interesting insight into their way of life.

Upon arrival in Charleville, the first thing you should do is settle in to where you want to stay. There are several choices, including the Bailey Bar Caravan Park, in the heart of Chinchilla, which is close to the new Cosmos Centre. Cobb and Co Caravan Park on Ridgeway Street, set in bushland and within walking distance of town is another popular option.

Charleville offers a wealth of things to do, and may of these are centred around the famous Warrego River, which never fails to be a great place to explore. Keen fishermen and amateurs alike will love the yellowbelly, perch and murray cod that frequent these waters and once caught, these will go well with a crackling camp fire. 10 Mile is a common meeting place for locals, and is located just a few minutes north of town. There is a cosy camping ground here, which offers the perfect location for a picnic and relaxing snooze. The further you go from here, the better the fishing and star gazing! The Warrago Highway is truly one of the west's best kept secrets and offers plenty of great little rest and fishing stops.

For a slice of Charleville's history, be sure to check out Historical House. This museum is home to plenty of historical memorabilia and artefacts that offer a better look at Charleville in the last century. The ‘Steiger Gun’ is equally as interesting and is conventiently located on the south side of town. It is one of the ten guns used in an attempt to break a century old drought, and has a quirky story attached to it. The invention never worked, but the gun still remains a Charleville icon that tourists love.

Charleville is also where theQueensland Royal Flying Doctor Service is based. The School of Distance Education has also found a home here, greatly contributing to the local way of life. There are countless remote properties being helped in many ways by these services, and gaining an insight into how they work will be an invaluable experience.

One of the biggest draw cards to date is no doubt the Cosmos Centre. This centre offers an interactive tour of the sky at night as well as presentations and interactive displays by day. Incredible views can be seen from here, both at day and night, giving you an even greater appreciation of the beautiful outback.

Charleville needs to be experienced to be truly understood. Take some time to discover what Queensland is really all about and you are guaranteed not to be disappointed.

Christine Barton

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