Road Trip to the Heart of the Outback

Brisbane to Winton Road Trip

Road Trip to the Heart of the Outback

Brisbane to Emerald, Longreach, and Winton

The Australian Outback is a vast and beautiful region that captures the imagination of travellers from all over the world. It is a place of rugged natural beauty, unique wildlife, and rich cultural heritage. A road trip through the heart of the Outback is an adventure of a lifetime, and this guide will take you from Brisbane to Emerald to Longreach and Winton, where you can experience the true essence of the Outback.

Route and Map

The journey from Brisbane to Winton covers over 1,500 km and takes around 20 hours of driving time. We recommend the best way to explore the Outback is by car and plan the journey over several days to appreciate the scenery and attractions.

Here is a suggested itinerary:

Day 1Brisbane to Emerald: Travel west from Brisbane to Emerald, a vibrant town known for its agricultural industry. The drive takes around 8 hours and covers a distance of 774 km.

Day 2Emerald to Longreach: Continue west to Longreach, a quintessential Outback town that is rich in history and culture. The drive takes around 3 hours and covers a distance of 190 km.

Day 3Longreach to Winton: The final leg of the journey takes you to Winton, a small town with a big personality. The drive takes around 2 hours and covers a distance of 177 km.

Main Attractions

The journey starts in Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland. The city’s vibrant culture offers numerous attractions, including the South Bank Parklands, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, and Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Book tickets here.

Want to try fossicking for gemstones? You must visit Emerald, a charming town and the gateway to the Sapphire Gemfields. Some of the most popular sites for fossicking in the Sapphire Gemfields include the Anakie and Rubyvale fields. It’s important to note that there are regulations around fossicking in Queensland, and visitors need to obtain a fossicking permit before they start searching for gemstones. Permits are available from the Department of Natural Resources, Mines, and Energy website or the local visitor information centre. The town also offers scenic walking trails, such as the Emerald Botanic Gardens, which feature diverse plant species and wildlife.

Discover Longreach, a town that is steeped in history and culture. The popular Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame is a must-visit attraction, where you can learn about the lives and traditions of the people who shaped the Outback. You can also tour the historic Qantas Founders Museum, which tells the story of Australia’s iconic airline. Another popular attraction is the sunset cruise along the Thomson River, where you can experience the peacefulness of the Outback at its best. Book tickets here.

Winton is known for its rich dinosaur heritage and has a number of attractions related to this history, such as the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum. The town is also the birthplace of Australia’s national song, Waltzing Matilda, and visitors can explore the town’s heritage at the Waltzing Matilda Centre. For a unique experience, take a camel safari and see the Outback from a new perspective. Book tickets here.

Off the Beaten Track

Blackdown Tableland National Park, located approximately 165 km north of Emerald, is a concealed treasure presenting awe-inspiring panoramas of the neighbouring countryside, scenic walking paths, and cascading waterfalls.

Located about 100 km east of Longreach, Barcaldine is a small rural town with a rich history. It is the birthplace of the Australian Labor Party and is home to the Tree of Knowledge, a famous landmark representing the history of Australia’s labour movement.

Located about 17 km north of Winton, Bladensburg National Park is a rugged and remote park ideal for camping and bushwalking. It offers diverse landscapes, from red sandstone cliffs to vast grasslands, and is home to various wildlife. Book tickets here.

Located about 110 km southwest of Winton, Lark Quarry Conservation Park is home to the world’s only known dinosaur stampede. A guided tour of the site is available for visitors who wish to delve into the intriguing history of the dinosaurs that roamed this section of the Outback.

Safety and Practical Tips

Plan your route carefully, and make sure to take into account the distance, road conditions, and weather.

Pack plenty of water, food, and other supplies, as some areas of the Outback are remote and have limited facilities.

Drive carefully, and be aware of road wildlife like kangaroos and emus.

Check the weather forecast before you leave, as the Outback can experience extreme temperatures and weather conditions.

Always carry a mobile phone and emergency supplies, such as a first aid kit and a spare tire.


A road trip from Brisbane to Emerald, Longreach, and Winton is an adventure that should be on every traveller’s bucket list. It offers the chance to experience the unique beauty of the Outback and learn about its rich history and culture. Explore and discover some hidden gems. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to explore the heart of the Outback.

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