It’s difficult to put into words what it is that makes Longreach so special because, honestly, it’s a lot of different little things. It’s the strong sense of community and the genuinely warm welcome you receive everywhere you go. It’s the never-ending sky, the warm sun on your skin and the indescribable magic that creeps into the air at sundown. It’s the ice cold beers at the pub, the firm handshakes and broad smiles of the locals and the strong sense of pride present at each attraction. Longreach is the heart and soul of Outback Queensland and it has a lot to offer lucky visitors. If you’re tired of visiting the same major cities and having the same cookie-cutter experiences, a trip to Longreach will have you immersed in a world of history, country culture, beauty and relaxation unlike anywhere else. To get you inspired to visit and help you plan an amazing trip of your own, here are 21 of the best things to do in Longreach.
But first, watch this…
The best way to see Longreach
We experienced all the things included in this guide as part of our tour with Outback Aussie Tours. Our tour was led by local legends Alan ‘Smithy’ Smith and Outback Dan and we loved every single moment of our tour! We experienced the very best of Longreach and all those little moments that make an adventure truly memorable, like meeting locals and feeling part of the community. If you love the look of all the things on the list, have an itch to explore Outback Queensland or are just yearning for a different weekend getaway, an Outback Aussie Tour may be perfect for you. Every meal was delicious, our accommodation oozed outback luxury and our guides were amazing. In short, we loved it and highly recommend the experience! Find Outback Aussie Tours here and tell them Matt and Phoebe say hi!
1. Enjoy a sunset cruise on the Thomson River
Board the Longreach Explorer and head off on the Thomson River for a guided sunset cruise. We spent a few hours gently floating along as our guide pointed out local wildlife and talked about the area. It’s a fantastic, unexpected way to experience Longreach. We loved sipping on cold drinks and enjoy cheese and nibbles while the sky went from golden orange to shades of dusky pink and brilliant blue.
2. Take a photo with the Longreach sign
Make sure you take a visit to the ‘Welcome to Longreach‘ sign when you arrive. It proudly reads, ‘Welcome to Longreach, gateway to the outback, home of the Stockman’s Hall of Fame.’ We stopped off to grab a few snaps in front of the old wooden sign and properly commemorate our first visit to the town.
3. Meet local storytellers
One of the best things about Longreach is the people and the unique country hospitality you experience in Outback Queensland. To really get a sense of what makes Longreach so special, strike up a conversation with a local and get to know their story. So many people we met had interesting backstories behind how they came to live in Longreach, what they’ve experienced and why they love it so much. It’s not hard – just say hello to a local store owner, the person sitting next to you at the pub or the people you run into along the way.
4. Tour a working sheep station
We got to visit Camden Park Station, a working sheep station in Longreach. As part of a guided tour of the property, we learned all about the fascinating mining past of Longreach, how people made their living and saw remnants of a bygone era. We also got see ‘Spot,’ the goat who answers to her name and thinks she’s a sheep. As part of the tour, we also visited the stunning Homestead and got to see memorabilia from official Royal visits by The Queen and other members of the Royal Family. As the tour was led by Dan Walker, whose family has owned the property for generations, we got unique insight, history and stories that gave us a deeper appreciation and respect for the land.
5. Enjoy sunset drinks at Two Tree Hill
After our tour, we drove to Two Tree Hill, part of Camden Park Station. We loved the cheeky humour as the ‘hill’ is more of a raised area but the ‘two tree’ bit is absolutely accurate! Here, we tucked into ice cold beers, sparkling wine and ciders while snacking on a delicious cheese platter. It was the perfect way to end the day and the ideal spot to watch the sunset. With such a big sky, we loved watching the colours change while breathing in all that fresh country air. Amazingly, there were no mosquitos in sight!
6. Eat a delicious dinner under the stars
End an amazing day in Longreach with a delicious homecooked meal under the stars. Outback Dan fired up the BBQ to cook up wagyu steaks while his lovely wife, Brooke, prepared some absolutely incredible salads and perfectly cooked salmon. Eat under a huge sky filled with stars and listen as Dan points out different constellations, the fire crackling in the background and shooting stars passing by overhead. Afterwards, retire to the homestead for a delicious dessert.
7. Take a helicopter ride high above the town
The best way to get a sense of a new destination is to get high above it! We took to the skies on a helicopter ride, enjoying a scenic flight that took us over Longreach, offering unbeatable views of the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, Qantas Founders Museum, wide open spaces and the incredible Thomson River. It was an amazing experience and a great way to gain a fresh understanding of the area.
8. See the future of farming
With long stretches of drought, farmers in Longreach have to diversify to ensure their survival. Many are looking to the future and one great example is the huge solar farm just outside of the heart of town, at Camden Park Station. Drive past and you’ll see around 55,000 Canadian Solar panels pointed up at the sun, harnessing clean energy with its single-axis tracking system. It’s amazing to think a town in Outback Queensland is at the forefront of clean energy and forging a new path for farmers.
9. Have brunch at the historic Railway Station
If you have any doubts about the food in Longreach, feel free to banish those immediately because there’s no shortage of tasty bites on offer! We had brunch at the Historic Railway Cafe, where you can dine on the platform. The surroundings are absolutely beautiful and it’s a truly unique experience. The food is fantastic, offering a wide range of options from smoothie and chia bowls to avocado on rye and an amazing breakfast burrito. Importantly, the coffee is fantastic and you have a range of dairy alternatives to choose from.
10. Spot local wildlife
Driving around town we were able to catch a glimpse of some great local wildlife. If you’re into birding, there are some fantastic opportunities to spot a wide variety of finches, sparrows, robins, Wood-swallows and some absolutely beautiful brolgas too, just to name a few. We caught a glimpse of different types of kangaroos and also saw two emus! So, be sure to keep your head on a swivel as you drive around as you never know what you’ll spot.
11. Explore the Stockman’s Hall of Fame
Paying tribute to the pioneers of the Australian outback, the Stockman’s Hall of Fame is an iconic piece of Longreach history. Founded by Outback Dan’s grandfather, Sir James Walker, who was knighted by the Queen, it allows visitors to truly understand the people of the outback. Explore the five themed galleries, focused on different aspects of pioneering history and be sure to catch the Outback Stockman’s Show, a fantastic tribute to the skills of the traditional Aussie stockman. Shows run from mid-April to mid-October and can be enjoyed with dinner in the evenings. Be sure to take a photo with The Ringer on your way in or out!
12. Have a campfire dinner and enjoy live music from local artists
Make sure you visit Smithy’s Outback Dinner & Show, it was definitely a trip highlight for us! After our sunset cruise, we docked at Smithy’s, where we wandered up and grabbed a seat at our dining table beneath the trees. We enjoyed a delicious two-course dinner cooked on the campfire while listening to live music on-stage, performed by talented local musicians. The food was so good and the meal was topped off with fresh billy tea and home-made damper. Just when we thought things couldn’t get any better, local larrikin, Hawksy, rode in on his pet bull, Ollie, with his dog Henry to share a story and song. It was fantastic!
13. Visit the Qantas Founders Museum
Join a guided tour of the Qantas Founders Museum where you’ll hear about the history of Qantas and get up close and personal with planes in a way you never have before! We fly a lot but have never been able to get so close to the engines and underbelly. It was an amazing experience to sit in the cockpit of the iconic Boeing 747, testing out all the (non-functioning) equipment and stick our heads in all the different sections of the plane. A highlight was doing the wing walks on the 747 and 707 – where we stroll along the wing of both planes! It was amazing! Not to mention, the tour of the incredible 707! Inside the museum, you’ll find more interactive displays, history and information available and the cafe offers a great spot to grab a bite for lunch too (their juices are yummy).
14. Support local artisans
Spend a few hours wandering Eagle Street in Longreach and show your support for local artisans! Regional boutiques like Shoe-B-Doo, Spinifex Collections, Kinnon & Co and Western Emporium, to name a few, curate beautiful clothing, homewares, artworks, jewellery, leather goods and gifts perfect for yourself or a loved one. By purchasing from stores like these, you’re supporting talented local creators and picking up a unique piece of Longreach to have forever. You’ll likely find things you’ve never seen before and will treasure for a long time to come.
15. Visit the historic Wellshot Hotel
Make sure you take the time to visit the historic Wellshot Hotel! Here, you can enjoy a cold beer and a hot meal while you check out the huge array of hats stuck up on the walls. People from far and wide leave their well-worn hats at the Wellshot to become part of its history and each one has a story so be sure to ask the bar staff to share a few with you. You can also have a go at throwing money up at the ceiling, getting it to stick using only a thumbtack and a gold coin! It’s a fun game and all the money goes to local charities. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get to hear some of the incredible bush poetry by talented local, Lindsay Warren. He has an amazing ability to tell a story in an authentic way, crafting Australian language to paint a story. Each poem has an important meaning, some will have you laughing hard while others will cause you to pause and think.
16. Get yourself an Akubra
People often talk about investment items. You know, like when you splash out for really good quality luggage because you know it’ll last you a lifetime. Well, an Akubra is the investment item of the hat world. I have wanted one my entire life and was very thankful to finally become the proud owner of my very first Akubra in Longreach. I cannot think of a better place to get one than in the heart of Outback Queensland! Akubra’s are incredibly well made and the type of thing you buy once and treasure forever. When mine finally does give out in about 50 years from now, you best believe I’ll be headed back to the Wellshot Hotel to add it to the wall.
17. Try amazing local produce
The Australian Outback is synonymous with a great steak! If you’ve got the ability to cook yourself a meal, I strongly recommend you head into the local butcher, BF Savage and Co. Here, you can have a chat with the very entertaining local butchers who, as I understand it, quite enjoy singing along to the radio at high volumes. They’ll help you choose from a wide variety of local meats, including some amazing steaks and cuts of lamb. Pick up some extra bits and pieces from town, a few cold drinks and you’ve got yourself a good ol’ fashioned, Aussie BBQ! Congratulations, you’re one of us!
18. Add your boulder holder to the bra fence!
Swing by Radio 4LG on Galah Street, near the local RSL (affectionately known as ‘The Rissole’) and add your bra to the fence! The hilarious tradition was started as a way to bring awareness to breast cancer and is a great way to leave your busty mark on Longreach. Just remember, it’s donations only so don’t try any ‘take one, leave one,’ upgrades!
19. Take a driving tour of Longreach
Make sure you take the time to do a driving tour around Longreach. It’s really easy just to meander through the streets which, you’ll notice, are named after local birds or, as Smithy jokingly puts it, ‘The birds are named after the streets!’ Our guided tour with Smithy and Outback Dan was really great, we got a sense of what makes the town tick and some fascinating insight into local history as well as a few quirky stories too. What I loved most, was how they waved to everyone they saw and pointed out the locals, it made us feel like we’re part of the community. I also loved when we pulled over briefly to say hello to a local who was recovering from a recent surgery, we got to say hello, meet his dog and give him our good wishes. He was so welcoming and kind, he actually felt bad he didn’t have enough beers in the fridge to invite all of us into his home. That should give you a sense of just how lovely the people of Longreach are.
20. Breakfast at Rosebank Homestead
As part of our tour, we were treated to an incredible breakfast at the stunning Rosebank Homestead. We were welcomed into Smithy’s family home where we had breakfast at a beautifully set table with his wife, Sue and lovely children, Lily and Hugh. The food, prepared by the talented cook, Nat, was absolutely delicious and we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful way to start the day as we swapped stories, laughed and ate. We also got to wander the grounds, hear about the homestead’s fascinating history and make friends with the family’s pet goat, Billy!
21. Soak in a bathtub under the stars
We stayed two nights at Saltbush Retreat, which offers beautifully rustic, boutique accommodation that’s high-end and affordable! Our room at ‘The Stables’ was just perfect, lovingly decorated to reflect the unique textures and tones of Outback Queensland. Comfortable, spacious, well-designed and just gorgeous, it was the perfect base for our adventures. One of the coolest features though has to be the open-air tubs where guests can get soak their worries away with a cold drink and a spot for star-gazing. We loved our stay at Saltbush Retreat and highly recommend it for anyone visiting Longreach. Of course, our stay was all arranged as part of our tour.
Where to stay
|Saltbush Retreat||Luxurious and self-contained with free airport transfers||Click here|
|The Staging Post||Boutique heritage-themed accommodation with free airport shuttle||Click here|
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