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 Miles
Goondiwindi to Miles 224 KM | 2 hours 20 min
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.
Travelling north through Moonie, the oil capital of Australia, the Leichhardt takes you to tiny settlements where each extraordinary attractions wait to be explored. Caliguel Lagoon, seven kilometres south of Condamine is one. At this top free camping spot – great for fishing – during late summer and autumn – rare purple water lilies bloom.
Miles to the Theodore
Miles to the Theodore 225 KM | 2 hours 24 min
During late summer and early autumn, prolific blooms of rare pink water lilies can be seen on Chinaman’s Lagoon when arriving in Miles. Walk the peaceful Dogwood Creek Walking Track, visit the outstanding Miles Historical Village Museum with its streetscape of authentically restored heritage buildings, or follow a wildflower trail during spring when native blossoms carpet the countryside. At Taroom, Leichhardt blazed his initials into a coolabah located in Yaldwyn Street in 1844. Although the bark has now grown over the blaze, many photos still exist to prove its existence. The 300 year old tree has become an iconic landmark. Visit Gilberts Lookout and stand in the footsteps of Leichhardt and Gilbert who thought the view was the ‘most pleasing natural picture’ they had seen. For the next 150 kilometres, take your pick from lakes and pristine rivers to camp and fish. Sweet Isla Gorge’s lookout is perfect for sunset.
Theodore to Rockhampton
Theodore to Rockhampton 209 KM | 2 hours 30 min
A pretty place, Theodore is shaped like a point between the Dawson River and Castle Creek, its palm lined streets give a tropical feel to the place. Hewitt Park surrounds the water tower and is a great spot for a picnic lunch or if you’d prefer a river view, Rotary Park in 5th Avenue overlooks Castle Creek. Don’t be surprised to find not a single banana growing anywhere near the township of Banana. It’s actually named after a famous yellow bullock from back in the 1800’s. Baralaba, 40 clicks from Rannes, is another great fishing gem for those that like to cast a line. The Leichhardt Highway then takes you through Dululu before meeting up with the Capricorn Highway. Next is Rockhampton, Capital of the Capricorn, and worthy as base for a night or two with so much to do.
Rockhampton to Yeppoon
Rockhampton to Yeppoon 40 KM | 40 min
Now officially right on top of the Tropic of Capricorn, in Rocky as the locals call Rockhampton, take the time to visit heritage-listed gardens, historic Quay Street, intriguing caves and the largest livestock-selling facility in Australia, Gracemere Sale Yards. Alternatively, relax and unwind on the banks of the Fitzroy River and wait for a Barramundi to ‘have a chew.’ Yeppoon, 38 kilometres east of Rockhampton, is the end of the celebrated Leichhardt Highway. On the doorstep to The Great Barrier Reef, this exquisite area boasts long sweeping beaches and unspoilt National Parks. You may never want to leave!