A short two-and-a-half hour drive from Brisbane is where you’ll discover Dalby, a super-cute town nestled in the heart of the Darling Downs region. There’s plenty to do in this rural spot – from walking trails in the Bunya Mountains National Park, fishing at Caliguel Lagoon and a string of local pubs to throw back beers at. Just south of Dalby is where you’ll find Jimbour House, a heritage-listed homestead on one of the earliest stations established on the Darling Downs. From Friday June 25, an evolved version of the iconic Opera at Jimbour will be taking over the locale for three days of intimate opera performances married with lots and lots of wine and cheese – sounds like our kind of party.
Found at the crossroads of the Warrego Highway and the Matilda Way, Charleville is another outback gem worth making tracks to. Make sure to go to the Charleville Bilby Experience to meet some furry friends (the real kind, not the chocolate variety), experience the wonders of outback skies at the Cosmos Centre and enjoy a country pub meal at Hotel Corones. From June 29–30, Charleville will come to life with live music when pop royalty Kate Miller-Heidke and acclaimed Kalkadunga artist William Barton deliver Music for Stargazing, a concert inspired by astrological arrangements, Aboriginal navigation and traditional stories of the township.
They do say good things come in small packages and, with a population of just 654, you could say Quilpie is a particularly small town. Stay in the quaint surrounds of Moble Homestead before getting out and about to explore must-see natural attractions like the Baldy Top Lookout, which is the perfect place to perch at sunset or try your luck at finding your own piece of opal at the Quilpie Shire Council fossicking area. If you’re keen to time your trip so you can hear some live tunes, Echoes in the Dust will be taking over the town from July 1–2, and will see Brisbane-based composers Topology fill the air with beats while large-scale prehistoric puppets from Dead Puppet Society will roam the desert.
A sea of giant red sand hills, Windorah is located in the heart of the Channel Country close to Cooper’s Creek. The creek itself is a haven for fishing, while history buffs can get their fix with a visit to Whitula Gate Museum, where they can learn what life was like for a family living in the area in the 1800s. Windorah will welcome some homegrown music heroes from July 3–4, when Karl S. Williams, Emily Wurramara and Hussy Hicks come to town for Oasis Afternoons in Windorah’s Rabig Park. This one calls for a mates weekend away, we think.
Holding a spot on the outback bucket list of many travellers, Birdsville is well worthy of a visit. Sure, it’s not exactly a quick trip (about 17 hours on the road will get you there), but it’s definitely worth checking out for its sun-dappled sand dunes and spectacular outback fun. Go kayaking on the Birdsville billabong, enjoy unrivalled sunset views from the top of Big Red, visit the Simpson Desert and grab breakfast from Birdsville Bakery. Birdsville also happens to be where Big Red Bash is happening from July 6–8, with iconic voices Paul Kelly, Ian Moss, Thirsty Merc, Tim Finn, Shannon Noll and more coming together for three days of musical magic.
For more information on the Queensland Music Trails and to buy tickets, make tracks over to the website.
This article was written in partnership with our friends at QMF.