Take the fastest highway out of Melbourne to the calm beauty of the tropics. But don’t forget to slow down when you cross the border at Goondiwindi.
Goondiwindi to Moonie
Goondiwindi to Moonie 97 KM | 1 hours 4 min
Goondiwindi lies on the banks of the Macintyre River that marks the divide between New South Wales and Queensland. It is the first port of call on the way north where the Newell Highway becomes the Leichhardt. The Goondiwindi area is famous for its cotton, wheat, beef and wool industries. The legendary racehorse Gunsynd, the Goondiwindi Grey came from here.
Start your Queensland sightseeing around picturesque Goondiwindi, at the border precinct – with its statue tribute to legend racehorse Gunsynd, Customs House, old border bridge, and river walk. The Botanic Gardens and Natural Heritage Water Park and War Memorial are all good places to pull in the van for lunch.
The first Western Downs town is Moonie, a small settlement with friendly locals and good fishing spots nearby. You can picnic at the Rural Transaction Centre, browse local arts and crafts or experience the Moonie Heritage Trail. At Moonie Crossroads you’ll see brilliant murals depicting the history of the town and a giant cod caught in local waters.
Moonie to The Gums
Moonie to The Gums 49 KM | 49 min
The tiny pioneer village of The Gums has a nine-hole bush golf course where a few resident kangaroos lay idly in the shade watching the golfers play. The Gums is a tranquil location, perfect for a ‘smoko’ stop in your travels or a great short-term campsite to pitch your tent or park the van.
A side trip 30km east of The Gums and the Leichhardt Way, Tara is the main town for the district, stroll through the main street, try a pie at the Woolshed Bakery and a drink at the Commercial Hotel noted for its Hugh Sawrey paintings. The Tara Lagoon Parklands offers a tranquil stopping place for travellers and an opportunity to get close to nature along a sealed walking track.
Photo credit Andrew Tallon.
The Gums to Miles
The Gums to Miles 83 KM | 56 min
On a side trip 27km west of The Gums lies Meandarra, popular for fishing and camping. It boasts the only museum outside of the Canberra War Memorial to have the word ANZAC in its title. The Meandarra ANZAC Memorial Museum houses a large and comprehensive collection of military memorabilia, combat vehicles and an elevated Canberra bomber. Nearby snap a selfie with the statue of ‘Me and Darra’.
27 km further west of Meandarra is the internationally recognised Myall Park Botanic Garden on the outskirts of Glenmorgan. Birthplace of the Robyn Gordon Grevillea the garden presents Queensland’s oldest collection of Australia’s semi-arid flora as well as a gallery, accommodation and camping. Monty’s Garage Vintage Car Museum houses an impressive collection of 70 restored cars and trucks, The End of The Line historic railway siding provides a peaceful rest area for travellers.
Take in the sights around Condamine. The Caliguel Lagoon lies 7km south and offers an excellent site for an overnight stay. Its great for fishing, during late summer and autumn rare purple water lilies bloom. In the heart of cattle country Condamine is home to the legendary Condamine Bell, a cow bell forged out of sheet metal to help locate grazing bullocks and the river is a popular fishing spot.
When arriving in Miles in late summer and autumn prolific blooms of pink water lilies can be seen on Chinaman’s Lagoon. Walk the peaceful Dogwood Creek Track or visit the outstanding Miles Historical Village Museum with its streetscape of authentically restored and stocked heritage buildings, world class shell collections, a lapidary display and impressive war museum.
Miles to Taroom
Miles to Taroom 128 KM | 1hour 28 min
From Miles the Leichhardt tracks north into the beautiful rural scenery around Gulugaba which nestles at the bottom of the Great Dividing Range. Stop in at Wandoan for a rest at O’Sullivan Park where the Wandoan Windmill marks the Visitor Information Centre. Learn about Ludwig Leichhardt’s journey through the district and the early foundations of Wandoan at the Juandah Historic site. Visitors are welcome to spend a night at the Waterloo Plain Environmental Park where native bird species are to be found.
Further north on the Leichhardt Way is Taroom, gateway to the Banana Shire, on the banks of the Dawson River where Leichhardt and his party camped. The entrance to the town is marked by the ‘Steel Wings’ model windmill. Leichhardt literally left his mark ‘LL 1844” on a Coolibah tree, the tree still exists as a monument in the main street although the mark has grown over. Gilbert’s lookout, overlooking the township, is a monument to John Gilbert, fellow explorer and botanist.
Go to the itineraries button on the home page to see side trips from Taroom including the Historic Flagstaff Road and Taroom to Biloela Historical Trail.
Taroom to Theodore
Taroom to Theodore 97 KM | 1hour 2 min
Fifteen kilometres north of Taroom lays the peaceful Chain of Lagoons with stands of rare Livingstonia cycad palms. Another 20km north along the Leichhardt is a gravel road leading to Lake Murphy Conservation Park which hosts amazing birdlife. Should you want to stay here camping permits are available through nprsr.qld.gov.au.
The spectacular Sandstone Belt starts 19km further north at Isla Gorge National Park. Just off the highway and a short walking track takes you to the edge of the gorge which is a haven for wildlife. Wedge tailed eagles and Peregrine Falcons soar above the cliffs on the thermals. Camping permits are available through nprsr.qld.gov.au.
The township of Theodore provides an ideal free camping and fishing area at The Junction on the banks of the Dawson River or stay at the Theodore Hotel, one of only two co-operatively owned and operated hotels in Australia. The Dawson Folk Museum records the history of the Dawson Valley with entry by appointment with the Theodore Visitor Centre.
Go to the itineraries button on the home page to see side trips from Theodore including the Defence Road Cracow Loop and Glenmoral Drive.
Theodore to Dululu
Theodore to Dululu 138 KM | 1hour 28 min
Banana, on the junction of the Leichhardt and Dawson Highways is strangely no home to plantations of the well-known yellow fruit, instead, the town and the shire owe their name to a much-revered bullock, Banana. In the 1850’s Moses Wafer’s now famous yellow bullock was known for mustering scrubbers (unbranded wild cattle). On his death the station, the town and the shire adopted his name. A monument celebrates the noble beast.
Go to the itineraries button on the home page to see side trips from Banana including the Dawson Highway through Moura to Springsure and Emerald and the Banana Loop.
From Banana the highway is flanked with cotton fields and brilliant green and yellow sunflowers. Wowan is a small peaceful rural township nestled among stately gums and a myriad of creeks and gullies rich with native flora and fauna. Established in 1912 Wowan has a rich historical and cultural history. Take a walk around the town admiring the churches, butter factory, Masonic Lodge, post office and school buildings retaining their historical features.
The tiny township of Dululu is well known as a rest stop for weary travellers. The ‘rest area’ located near the tennis courts and public toilets has a sheltered BBQ and picnic area. The cricket oval and practice nets are nearby. Behind the courts, overnight facilities, such as power and hot showers, are available for a nominal charge.
Dululu to Rockhampton
Dululu to Rockhampton 71KM | 55mins
The Leichhardt Way winds its way from Dululu to Mount Morgan set in the pretty Dee Ranges. Once the largest and richest single gold mine in the world, Mount Morgan, is one of Queensland’s historical gems and is only 38 km from Rockhampton. The hum of machinery and rattling thump of explosives at the mine are long gone and in their place are a legacy of history and a spirited community.
To discover Mount Morgan’s treasures, visit the Mount Morgan Visitor Information Centre where locals will share their knowledge of their town and where to stay in a number of accommodation options.
Australia’s Beef Capital, Rockhampton, lies on the banks of the Fitzroy River. Look out for the bull statues situated throughout the city celebrating the breeds grown in the area. Fish for barramundi more than a metre long in the river right outside the CBD. The city was built on wealth from colonial pastures and gold mines. That wealth is reflected in the colonial buildings along Quay Street – one of Queensland’s finest heritage precincts, crowned by the sandstone and copper dome of the Customs House. Rockhampton also boasts many famous hotels such as the Heritage and Great Western – famous for its rodeo ring.
Take time to visit the Zoo, Botanical Gardens and do the tree walk at Mount Archer. Learn about our early history at the Dreamtime Cultural Centre, Heritage Village and the Archer Park Rail Museum.
Rockhampton to Yeppoon
Rockhampton to Yeppoon 45 KM | 39 min
The Leichhardt Way reaches its natural conclusion in the colourful seaside town of Yeppoon on the tropical shores of the Capricorn Coast in the Livingstone Shire. It is an ideal family holiday centre with plenty of shopping, dining and accommodation options. A new water park on the foreshore provides an aquatic playground.
From the parkland and walkway that backs on to the beach you can look out to Great Keppel Island. To the south you will discover a scenic 19 km drive that spans 13 seemingly endless sandy beaches divided by grassy headlands.
South of Yeppoon is a string of peaceful seaside communities. A prominent rocky headland shelters the Keppel Bay Marina at Rosslyn Bay. It’s a picturesque spot for lunch as well as being the embarkation point for Great Keppel Island. Great Keppel is a holiday paradise of 17 beaches, calm waters and fringing reefs. There’s accommodation there so you can choose to do a day trip or stay on the island.
Fishing is a popular pastime on the Capricorn Coast ranging from serious reef fishing to recreational fishing along the beaches, estuaries and freshwater fishing spots. The Capricorn Coast continues on to the seaside town of Emu Park with its Singing Ship monument to Captain James Cook and spectacular Centenary of Anzac Memorial and boardwalk.