6-day road trip along the Matilda Way
Create lifelong memories and a newfound appreciation for Queensland’s remarkable lands on a road trip to the Aussie outback along the Matilda Way.
Starting from Cunnamulla in the south west of Queensland and travelling all the way to the barramundi capital of Australia, Karumba in the Gulf of Carpentaria, this 1,812-kilometre (1,126-mile) road is the highway to unforgettable scenic and historic landscapes.
Hit the road and follow our guide on where to stop along the Matilda Way.
The Matilda Way
Day 1: Cunnamulla to Charleville
Kick-start your adventure in Cunnamulla with a quick trip back in time at the Cunnamulla Fella Centre (there’s a super-sized bronze statue of the famous fella out the front). Stop by the Artesian Time Tunnel to learn about the lifeblood of the region, the Great Artesian Basin.
About two hours from Cunnamulla is the town of Charleville. Before getting some shuteye, enjoy an observatory session at the Charleville Cosmos Centre to see the wonders of the outback glisten beneath a canopy of stars.
If history is more your thing, discover the top-secret Second World War US Air Force base just outside Charleville on a convoy tour.
Day 2: Charleville to Blackall
From Charleville, make your way north to Blackall, a town famous for its sheep-shearing legends. We're not exaggerating when we say it’s famous – in 1892, a shearer named Jack Howe set a world record after shearing 321 sheep in just seven hours. When you visit, you can learn about Jack and the Australian wool industry at the Blackall Woolscour, which happens to be the last remaining steam-operated wool-washing plant in Australia.
Day 3: Blackall to Longreach
Before heading off to your next destination, enjoy a morning dip in Blackall’s artesian pool — it is naturally heated to 32 degrees and packed with natural minerals, so it’s magic all year round.
Before arriving in Longreach, make a pitstop in Barcaldine. Here, you can visit the Australian Workers Heritage Centre that celebrates working Australians.
Grab a cuppa from Ridgee Didge Café where you can taste the outback’s first and only aboriginal coffee, Coolamon Coffee. While you sip, learn about the traditional owners of the land, the Inigai people.Show more
Day 4: Longreach to Winton
If you’re wondering why it’s called the ‘Matilda’ Way, today you’ll find out. Famous Australian bush poet Banjo Paterson wrote Waltzing Matilda, his iconic ballad about a swagman camped by a billabong, when staying with friends near Winton in 1895. The song was first performed in Winton’s North Gregory Hotel.
Upon arrival in Winton from Longreach, discover the real story behind the song at the Qantilda Museum. Shop for opals, visit the Australian Age of Dinosaurs exhibition to see the skeletons of three dinosaurs found in the area, and watch palaeontologists at work – you can even join in with a prep-a-dino package.Show more
Day 5: Winton to Cloncurry
It’s a new day and there’s plenty more to explore, so get up, get dressed and get out onto the road for a four-hour drive to Cloncurry.
A tiny mining town with a heart of gold, Cloncurry is brimming with natural beauty and friendly locals, and even boasts its very own ‘ghost town’; nearby mining settlement of Mary Kathleen.Show more
Day 6: Cloncurry to Karumba
Today is the last on the Matilda Way road trip.
Break up the drive with lunch at the Purple Pub in Normanton, or continue on to Karumba to watch the sun slip into the Gulf of Carpentaria while enjoying a meal of barramundi and chips at the Sunset Tavern. You can have a yarn with the locals at the pub, or go fishing in the nearby tranquil waters — either way it’s a fitting finale to an epic road trip.
If you travelled with a caravan or camper, book a spot at the Karumba Point Sunset Caravan Park for the night.