I just have to mention this inspiring outback Queensland town I recently visited. It may not have rained in some areas for four years, but that doesn’t seem to have daunted the spirit of the locals. Challenged? Yes. But I get the feeling it has released their creative spirits too. When you can’t make money from the land, but you love where you live and the life you have, this conundrum can force people to think outside the circle. Certainly what I witnessed was a town that has it’s head fully around tourism and has beautifully mastered how to share with others their slice of ‘big sky country’.
An obvious standout is the Qantas Founders Museum. I’ll admit I bought the gift shop out, but the displays on offer were fascinating. Even if you’re not an aviation nerd, I’m certainly not, you’ll still love wandering through this time capsule discovering how our national carrier began. You’ll get the chance to learn about the hardships of the area and the background of The Royal Flying Doctors Service. Did I mention I loved the gift shop?! This is random, I know, but I bought my son the cutest faux fur lined Biggles style hat. He wears it everywhere! Oh, great cafe too.
Speaking of great cafes, when my local friend, James, suggested he show me The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, the first thing he said was ‘they have great coffee there!’. And they do, the cafe is great, I grabbed my flat white and wandered through all the exhibits, but I really loved sitting down and watching the juicy video on the legendary pioneer Sir Sidney Kidman. Truly one of the worlds greatest pastoralists, who never dropped a touch of alcohol, tobacco or swore. Even when yelling at his naughty bullocks “jolly tinkers!” Love it. I found him strangely attractive in that rugged kind of way, is that weird to admit? Anyway, make sure you save time to see the outback show, that’s on daily. I missed it and I’m ticked.
Shall we talk shopping? I’ve got two beauties for you: Spinifex Collections and The Tack Room. Thankfully, they’re next door to one another so all your shopping needs will be fulfilled in the one location! Spinfex Collections is full of the most gorgeous Aussie inspired gifts – I bought for a child, a friend heading back to Germany, a friend coming in from Mexico and even some pretty fridge magnets for myself. I could’ve bought more, but I knew I’d do some damage in the next store, The Tack Room. This shop offers everything online too, but it’s filled with the coolest Aussie labels, some I’d never heard of, all I adored. You can buy everything from a cherished wool scarf (I did), to the prettiest dress for the races (I did that too!) I love Elle Deans’ style and passion for fashion – she’s the owner. Big thumbs up.
Pre or post here, head to The Merino Bakery for incredible focaccia’s and of course, great coffee.
One thing I’d strongly recommend is a station tour, to truly experience a working station and to revel in big sky and open plains. My pick is Camden Park Station. Outback Dan will share stories of property life with you from his home that’s a mere 22,000 acres. You’ll have sunset drinks up around the bore, visit the old Chinaman’s Well and see the working sheep and cattle yards. Yarn telling is complimentary. Don’t forget to check out the homestead, I’d like to move into this classic Queenslander, with the unique twist of a ballroom in the middle. Queen Elizabeth stopped by here on one of her outback jaunts and if it’s good enough for Liz, it’s good enough for us.
Oh, I know I keep raving on about the coffee, but do also pop into Outback Pics on Eagle Street, that’s the main street, as the cakes and coffee on offer there are to die for. Also, the photographic exhibition there is just wonderful. Such beautiful images of this extraordinary country and make sure you instagram the quote on the back wall of the building. It sums life up beautifully.
I just loved every moment I had in Longreach and really wanted to share it with you. I hope you go there one day.