Queensland’s Outback town Cunnamulla
Although Queensland represents a dream destination for craving surfers, swimmers and beach lovers, this huge and diverse Australian State has more to offer to locals as well as to overseas travellers. In Queensland, you can experience the real Australian outback.
In Queensland’s outback south-west lies a small outback town with a population of 1,400 inhabitants in the middle of nowhere. This Outback town has an impressive pastoral heritage and cultural background. Cunnamulla means in aboriginal language Long Stretch of water, referring to the Warrego River, which stretches for over 900 km.
In Cunnamulla, I had the opportunity to get the feel of the authentic Outback living, saw the real working life at sheep and cattle stations, and also participated in the daily outback life.
I got up close with nature, saw a lot of native animals and colourful flora, in a two-day trip I could immerse myself in unique Outback landscape with its colours, its smells, its prickling air.
Where is Cunnamulla in Queensland’s Outback
Cunnumulla is in the deep South West, on the Warrego River, at the crossroads of the Adventure Way and the Matilda Highway, one road running east to west, from St. George to Thargomindah and the other one running north to south from Charleville to Bourke.
To help you visualise where Cunnamulla is on the Australia map here a chart for you. Whatever direction you come from you will be travelling on the road for a long time. Cunnamulla is one of those remote outback towns indeed in the middle of nowhere. But the long journey is worth your time; once you are in Cunnamulla, you will soon notice the warm welcome of its friendly people.
How to get to Cunnamulla from Brisbane
Cunnumulla is far away from anywhere else in Queensland and the rest of the country. The fastest way to get there is to take a domestic flight from Brisbane or Sydney. There is a small airport in town. Flights are available from Brisbane or any other connecting city. Skytrans offer twice a week flights from Brisbane with four stops in between; this means that the flight journey takes approx 2 hours.
Alternatively, you can fly directly from Brisbane to Charleville, and from there you can hire a car to drive further 200km west on the Matilda Highway to Cunnamulla. Next to flying you can also travel by rail on the Westlander Train from Brisbane or get on the Greyhound bus. Moreover, you can also use the train bus (twice a week). I got there by train on a night journey and by shuttle bus from Charleville to Cunnamulla.
There are many ways you can discover the town; this is what I visited in two days:
Visit the Cunnamulla Fella Centre where you can experience the Artesian Time Tunnel a simulation machine transporting you back in time 100million years and learn about the Great Artesian Basin Story. Moreover in the Cunnamulla Fella Centre, you can visit the museum with a large display of historical and cultural items, as well as an exciting video about the history of the evolution of Great Artesian Basin throughout the centuries. And you can also admire the Cunnamulla Fella Sculpture.
The Warrego River s probably the very first place you will feel naturally attracted to when you arrive in Cunnamulla. This river has a deep significance to Aboriginal people as well as to the past generations of pioneers. But in some ways, the Warrego touch the soul of travellers too. The river banks are peppered with Red River Gums, and abundant birdlife to make it to a gorgeous scenery for a boat cruise at sunset, a beautiful walk along its banks and more activities.
Get up close with Cunnamulla’s wildlife birdlife. The floodplains on red soil, mulga trees are found here and also the Yapunyah trees. Encounters with wildlife is a unique experience, and you will see lots of Emus, Kangaroos round, wild pigs, more of mammals, reptiles and fishes can be seen all around the place. Cunnamulla is also a paradise for bird lovers with over 50 varieties and 200 bird species there is plenty of great bird watching locations spread over its surroundings.
The Australian Outback is all about meeting the locals. And there are many ways you can do it. The best way is to meet them in a pub, at a BBQ, in the art galleries, at the famous Cunnamulla Fella festival, everywhere you have the chance of meeting the local characters for a fun story about its exciting past.
Although I spent only a couple of days, I could see much of this lovely outback township. Thanks to the friendly welcome of the locals, my stay was wonderful, and they showed me around the place.
If you are curious about and want to visit Cunnamulla, I would say you need at least 3-4 days. I wish I could go back soon and spend more time to explore its surrounding and learn more about this untouched, remote, astounding area of Queensland’s Outback.