DISCOVER QUEENSLAND’S NATURAL HISTORY 

Taking a trip to Queensland’s Southern Outback is like stepping back in time. Back to when Australia was part of the southern supercontinent of Gondwana where dinosaurs roamed the land, and when opals were the product of the ancient inland sea.

Ooline Country

Discover Queensland’s natural history with a trip to the Ooline country. Situated between Mitchell and Charleville, Ooline is full of rich history, experiences and heritage. This relic rainforest dates back almost 1.6 million years ago to the Pleistocene Era. The Ooline rainforest which once covered inland Australia millions of years ago, is now threatened as a result of human activities. The remaining trees scattered across rural Queensland and sections of the Carnarvon National Park makes this relic of the Gondwanan rainforest even more unique.  

The Tregole National Park protects a small, almost pure stand of the Ooline Cadellia pentastylis. This dry rainforest tree has an attractive dry rainforest tree dating back to the Ice Ages. Ooline has been extensively cleared and is now uncommon and considered vulnerable to extinction. Tregole’s ooline forest survives in less than ideal semi-arid conditions.

For more information visit the website.

Opals

Opals are a product of the ancient inland sea; their beautiful colours and patterns were formed by water. Opals are found in many places through Queensland’s Southern Outback. They follow the shoreline of the ancient Eromanga Sea that stretches from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Great Australian Bight.

In Quilpie, you can visit the beautiful opal altar at St Finbarr’s Catholic Church. From there,  you can explore  the free Opal Fossicking area that is situated just two kilometres from Quilpie. This council provided attraction can be best described as Opal Mining – the easy way!

Alternatively, travel to the century old opal mines of Duck Creek and Sheep Station which are situated near the iconic Toompine Hotel. It was Duck Creek where the first ever registered opal lease in Australia was granted in 1871. These mines are designated fossicking areas and a Fossicking Licence is required.

Great Artesian Basin

When Australia was Gondwana and the ocean levels rose, water became trapped in a natural dip in the centre of Australia and formed an inland sea. But, when the ocean levels fell, the whole area became land again. The seas drained into the sandstone base leaving clay and silt deposits behind. As a result, these deposits hardened into impermeable stone and trapped the water underground.

Discover Queensland’s natural history with a visit to the Artesian Time Tunnel at the Cunnamulla Fella Centre. Here you’ll learn more about the Great Artesian Basin – one of the largest underground water reservoirs in the world.

It underlies approximately 22 per cent of Australia — occupying an area of over 1.7 million square kilometres beneath the arid and semi-arid parts of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory. 

The water takes almost two million years to travel from its starting point at the Great Dividing Range to where it surfaces in the deserts of central Australia.

From there, the artesian water is pumped to the surface. During this process, the water becomes hot and very pressurised. 

Thargomindah then harnesses this power to produce hydro-electric power for street lighting. To learn more about this, visit the Thargomindah Hydro Power Plant.

Visit Mitchell’s Great Artesian Spa to enjoy the restorative powers of mineralised water and mud baths. Drawn directly from the Great Artesian Basin, this spa offers a relaxing experience that is great for the body, mind and soul.

For a more therapeutic experience, soak in the warm artesian water, pat the artesian mud into your skin and let the mineral-rich product soak in. You’ll soon find out why beauticians all over the world use this technique!

So, be sure to check out the Mitchell Great Artesian Spa Complex, Yowah Artesian Baths or Mungindi Artesian Pool to experience the natural wonders of the world. To learn more about the natural phenomenon that is know as mud springs, visit this website. 

Natural Science Loop

Having trouble planning you next trip to Queensland’s Southern Outback? Want to know our ‘must see and do’ experiences?

Visit our 7-day Natural Science Loop Tour to discover the best Queensland’s Southern Outback has to offer. 

This tour takes you through Charleville, Quilpie, Eromanga, Thargomindah, Eulo, Yowah, Cunnamulla, and Wyandra. It is full of natural wonders for you to enjoy! 

Learn more about our Natural History

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