Taste More Farm Life on this South-Western Queensland Road Trip

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If you want to show the kids some beautiful country, head out to south-western Queensland. This underrated part of Australia has some of the most stunning scenery you can find. No matter where you stay it is guaranteed to be more than five stars—more like 5,000 stars! This is big sky country!

We were headed towards Cunnamulla, around 800km inland from the coast. With kids we decided to break up the trip, overnighting in Dalby and St George, making it only a 3-4 hour drive each day. A road trip is such a great way to experience the area. We found the locals to be extremely friendly and always welcoming when we stopped into the local visitor centres. Plus, there was usually something there for the kids—a colouring competition or activity pack provided by the local council.

After 700km we were welcomed to ‘The Outback’ with a giant sign announcing its beginning, though the red dirt and massive road trains were already giant clues! We were staying at Charlotte Plains, a working sheep station covering an area of 70,000 acres, half the size of Singapore. Families come from near and far to stay, tempted by the increasingly popular artesian hot baths they have on site.

Please note: When driving this far west there are a few things to consider. Firstly, there is limited phone coverage outside major towns. This also means there is no internet coverage so let people know you may be offline and if the kids enjoy screen time, make sure you download any shows they might watch. Plan your trip well to ensure you have enough fuel and supplies between major towns.

South-Western Queensland driving route map

Charlotte Plains

Brisbane to Charlotte Plains: 760km (8 hours 30 minutes)

(We recommend making a few stops on the way through south-western Queensland to really get a feel for country life.)

Driving into Charlotte Plains gives you a bit of a feeling of being in Africa with wide open plains and a red dirt track, but instead of elephants and zebras you see kangaroos and emus. There are 2 areas to stay: for those camping or with a caravan you can stay at the bore site, right where the hot baths are but there is also cabin-style accommodation with a camp kitchen a short 10km drive up the road (but still on the property).

Let’s talk about the main feature—the hot baths. In the 1890s a bore was drilled to find water for the animals when it hit the hot mineral water. This water now fills a number of natural pools but uniquely, the owners have also added porcelain bath tubs around the edge of the natural pools so you can relax in a bath with a drink or take in the scenery.

The water temperature is a warm 42 degrees Celsius, perfect for early or late swims in summer, or to warm up during the day in winter. We discovered that anytime of the day was perfect for kids though! While you relax in the bath, the kids can enjoy paddling in kayaks or just swimming up and down the pools. In the evening the camp hosts put on a campfire with damper—what a treat!

At Happy Hour, relax and listen to some musicians take the open mic. You can keep up-to-date with their regular events throughout the year because they are all listed on their website!

For those who love bird watching, Charlotte Plains is home to more than 130 species of birds. Get up with the sun (stunning sunrises!) and catch these creatures as they start the day. Even the most novice of bird watchers will be able to see something.

A definite ‘must do’ is to take a tour of the property. Typically held Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, this 2.5 hour tour gives you a great insight into the history of this incredible place. Kids will love riding in the minibus and spotting kangaroos and wild emus along the way, as well as walking through the old shearing shed and learning all about wool. They can even sit in the old camel wagon, from when camel tours were popular on the property. The tour really ties your stay together and property owner Robyn is a wonderful tour guide.

Charlotte Plains is a massive property and gives you an amazing insight into what life is like in the outback with the unique element of enjoying the hot artesian bore water in a bathtub! A once in a lifetime experience.  

Website: Visit the Charlotte Plains website here

Facebook: Charlotte Plains Property

Kilcowera Station Stay

Once you have soaked your bones at Charlotte Plains, it’s time to head further west to Kilcowera Station.

Charlotte Plains to Kilcowera Station: 335km (approximately 4 hour drive)

Unlike Charlotte Plains, Kilcowera Station is a cattle property and is run by Stuart and Rosie and their children. Kilcowera offers camping and caravan sites, both powered and unpowered at 2 different locations. For those seeking a little more comfort, rooms are available in the shearing quarters (twin, triple or queen) with or without air conditioning.

There are heaps of activities for all the family and we recommend basing yourself by the lagoon to make the most of it all. Here you can enjoy kayaking, bird watching, swimming, fishing, yabbying and even cycling. Yes, Kilcowera is a great place to go mountain biking, which is great if you brought your bikes along to tire out the kids.

If you like a good hike, then try one of the 4 different walks that are set out on the property. Enjoy a short 30 minute walk or make a day of it with a huge 33km trek. You might even see emus and kangaroos on the way! If you have time, make a visit to Currawinya National Park, which borders Kilcowera Station, an important inland waterbird habitat.

Grab a map and check out the 4WD tours you can do on the property. The kids will enjoy getting to experience the rougher terrain (BYO 4WD!).

When night falls, get out your camera and be prepared to take some incredible photos of the sky. Even with a smart phone you can take some snaps that your friends will be jealous of! If you have a budding astronomer in your family, make sure you bring along a telescope or binoculars to make the very best of it.

Website: Visit the Kilcowera Station website here

Facebook: Check out the Kilcowera Station Facebook page here.

The Lake

From Kilcowera Station it’s time to head north to The Lake.

Kilcowera Station to The Lake: 298km (approximately 3 hours 30 minute drive)

The Lake is a wonderful spot to really take in The Outback and is situated on Lake Houdraman. Located just 5 minutes outside Quilpie, it is an excellent spot to base yourself to enjoy the great outdoors.

The Lake offers a range of accommodation options, including private rooms, a 2 bedroom cottage (great for families!), powered and unpowered caravan sites as well as camping. The bonus of camping or an unpowered site is that you can be even closer to the lake, though all sites have views of the lake.

Let the kids run wild fishing for yellow belly in the lake or trying to catch some yabbies while you sit back in the shade or just sit and watch the abundant and varied bird life. Or maybe you can enjoy family time swimming for hours—make sure you bring a hat!

The Lake is 2,500 acres and has 300 goats and a handful of cattle and sheep plus emus and kangaroos so it’s easy to keep the kids entertained animal spotting if you go for a bushwalk. When Dan the property manager is around, make sure you do a tour to really get a feeling for this place as you can’t do a tour alone.

Keen little photographers will love taking happy snaps of the animals and landscape, especially at golden hour in the afternoon when the light is magical. Why not give them a list of things to take photos of while you relax for an hour!

In the evening, families are welcome to use the camp kitchen to prepare meals and mingle. This is a great way to meet other families and for kids to make friends. At night, gather under the million star sky to try your hand at making damper or toasting marshmallows for the kids—yum!

Website: Visit the Lake website here.

Facebook: Visit The Lake Quilpie Facebook page here

Moble Homestead

Moble Homestead is a perfect stop over for families with older kids who want to indulge for a few nights and it’s only a short drive away.

(Please note that Moble Homestead does not take bookings for children under 12 years of age).

The Lake to Moble Homestead: 79km (approximately 1 hour drive)

Just a short drive away on the other side of Quilpie is the stunning Moble Homestead, where you can drive in, take a deep breath and switch off while everything is taken care of.

Brian and Kylie own and operate Moble Station and have thought of every detail to ensure you have a fabulous stay. They have developed a range of packaged experiences to allow you to make the most of your time, including outback cookery classes, ironworking school, floristry lessons and photography masterclasses.

Choose from a range of packages to suit your stay

Catered camping is available (no need to have your own gear), as well as variety of rooms or you can book at the entire cottage. Kylie is passionate about food and gardening and has a beautiful (and well stocked!) garden to make sure you enjoy the best seasonal food on offer.

During the day you can enjoy the surrounding landscapes that are fit for artists and photographers or enjoy a bushwalk to the creek. Bird lovers will be in heaven with 4 pages of birds to spot! Older kids might enjoy trying their hand at tennis or just enjoying some quiet time.

Moble Homestead really is a special place to enjoy a little bit of sophistication in the outback.

Website: Visit the Moble Homestead website here.

Facebook: Visit the Moble Homestead Facebook page here

Adavale Way Farm Stay

Our final destination is Adavale Way Farm Stay, located just 45 minutes outside Charleville.

Moble Homestead to Adavale Way Farm Stay: 328km (approximately 3 hours 30 minute drive)

This 40,000 acre beef cattle property is a fabulous way to end a trip to the outback. Camp at the farm stay and enjoy all the amenities on offer including showers, laundry and camp kitchen. There are also a limited number of powered caravan sites available. For those families who are more self-sufficient or would like something more secluded, stay up at the Look Out and really get the feel for the scale of the property.

Adavale Way Farm Stay has a hidden gem that is a must see for families—a cave walk!

Located around 3km from the farm stay is a cave walk that is suitable for kids of all ages and has steps and a handrail when needed. Kids (and adults) will love exploring this unique attraction and it is a wonderful place to let their imagination run wild! This is definitely something special and adds to everything that Adavale Way has to offer.

Adavale Way Farm Stay offers daily animal feeding, allowing kids to get up close and personal with so many animals! Chickens, ducks, sheep, goats can all be found on the property, as well as cows. If you are lucky enough to visit during mustering season you can see the weaner cows being trained.

The dam and lagoon are located near the farm stay, meaning the kids can spend as much time as they like in the water. Bring your kayak and let them run wild! Yabbying gear is also available for kids to try their hand at yabbying and is always a hit.

Website: Adavale Way Farmstay website here.

Facebook: Visit the Adavale Way farmstay Facebook page here

Adavale Way to Brisbane: 800km (approximately 9 hour drive)

From Adavale Way Farm Stay it’s time to head home and say farewell to south-western Queensland. With everything that you will have seen and done, we are sure that the car ride home will be filled with lots of stories and very tired kids.

If you’d like more information about regional Queensland road trips to taste farm life, check out our other articles:

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