Quilpie is located right in the middle of Queensland outback, 950 km from Brisbane and 211 km east of Charleville. This small town is not on the main tourist route but those who are going to Birdsville and the Simpson Desert, can stop here and enjoy more than a few interesting attractions.
Dinosaur enthusiasts can use Quilpie as a lunch break stop on the way to the Natural History Museum in Eromanga.
If you drive to the east read about the 12 best attractions in Charleville.
#1 Baldy Top Lookout
This new Baldy Lookout came to us as a surprise. When we visited Quilpie first time many years ago, there was no lookout.
This only means that tourism also grows in outback towns and every year we can expect to see new attractions even in places we went already in the past.
Baldy Top Lookout is located only 7 km southwest of Quilpie. It is a perfect spot to watch a sunrise or sunset as you will find a 360 degrees view.
#2 St. Finbarr’s Opal Altar
Opal mining is a well-established industry in Australia and we can admire and buy beautiful opal jewellery in many artesian basin towns.
In Quilpie, we get something different – St. Finbarr’s Opal Alter.
The altar was created by a local miner Des Burton in 1976. In later years, Des promoted the opal industry in many places in Australia and worldwide having even opal outlets in Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall.
The church is open all day so anyone can admire this beauty.
#3 Fossicking for opals
As Quilpie is a well know artesian basin town for opal fossicking, unsurprisingly there is a dedicated area where you can try your luck.
The fossicking area is located on the left-hand side after the entrance to Quilpie Airport. Before you go there, make sure you stop at the Information Centre and collect your fossicking pack for a small fee.
#4 The Lake
The Lake is an outback station at the east entrance to Quilpie.
This running station was converted into a fantastic accommodation place offering power and unpowered sites, and cottages. Also, a bar is open after 5 pm and you can watch TV on the big screen.
The campground is located 200 meters from Lake Houdraman or simply The Lake. It is also possible to camp right at the lake without power.
After the rain do not park your rig too close to the lake edge as it can be boggy.
#5 Admire Street Art
Street art is part of the town experience. When you enter the town various cattle metal sculptures welcome you on the main street.
The art can also be seen in the Information Centre Courtyard, Mural Park and Brolga Street.
#6 Bulloo River Walk
Bulloo River Walk starts 800 meters east of the town’s edge. It is a great place to stroll and enjoy native birds, flora and fauna.
Along the trail, there are information boards helping you to identify different things.
It takes only 45 minutes to complete the walk.
#7 Quilpie Long Mural
This long mural was painted in 2003 by a local artist and it depicts Quilpie’s history.
#8 Powerhouse Museum
It is a free museum where you can learn about how electricity was delivered in the old dates and what engines had been used before the new technology came along.
The Powerhouse Museum has a collection of memorabilia and original diesel engines from the past.
#9 Quilpie Shire Military History Museum
If you are interested in the military history of Quilpie Shire visit the Military History Museum.
This small exhibition with a range of old photographs, memorabilia and literature is located in the Information Centre.
Information Centre is always a good stop to get some updates and information about the local area.
#10 Quilpie Shire Railway Museum
Quilpie town was established when the railway line was built from Charleville in 1917.
The first passenger train commenced in 1935 and by 1951 two passengers train ran twice a week. This lasted until 1994, and these days the line is only used occasionally for stock or freight trains.
In the Railway Museum, you can learn about the history of the rail in Quilpie and see some historical artefacts of that time.
If Railway Museum is close ask in the Information Centre for opening times
#11 Airport and Museum
You may not know this but Quilpe became popular when Amy Johnson landed here by mistake in 1930.
That year, Amy was trying to break a new world record by flying from England to Brisbane in a shorter time than Bert Hinkler (16 days).
While she did not succeed, she was still the first woman to fly solo to Australia.
When was above Quilpe, she realized she flew too far and landed in Quilpie, instead of Charleville. The reason she landed early was that Ami was looking for the end of the railway line that was recently extended to Quilpie (instead of Charleville) and she did not know about it.
Funny thing is that she still had to get to Charleville, so after refuelling, she set off to Charleville and arrived in darkness. In Charleville, she was greeted by many people.
You can read more from the Quilpe Shire article about museums.
#12 Brick Hotel
These days it is called Quilpie Hotel, but many locals still remember the original name – The Brick Hotel.
The hotel was built in 1926 by Harry Corones for his nephew. Harry was a local businessman and owner of Corones Hotel in Charleville. Harry had experienced a few fires in his own businesses so this time he built it with solid bricks.
It was the first brick hotel in the area at that time.
If you want to learn more about Harry Corones and Brick Hotel book yourself for a 2-hour tour in Charleville that is run by a local lady.
Best Quilpie Attractions – Summary
We love small outback towns! You can always find many interesting things to visit. This way you can learn about the history and better understand local life which in the past was usually very harsh.
The natural Quilpie wonders like Baldy Top Lookout or Bulloo River Walk were something we did not expect but fully enjoyed it.
If Quilpie is on your way, definitely stop here for a day or two!
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4WD Equipment Checklist
Tire Repair Kit – to fix the tire by yourself when you don’t have access to the tire shop (we use Oztrail)
UHF Radio – for communication with your mates and in emergency
Full Recovery Kit (with Dampener Blanket) – must-have if you are going on real off-road
High Lift Jack – useful if you do serious 4WD tracks
Shovel – useful if you get bogged, also good for campfire cooking
Fuel funnel with water filter – additional protection when fueling up in dodgy places