WHERE IS IT?
If you’re looking to spend some time in the Queensland outback, head 300km south of Mount Isa, 1,200km west of Rockhampton or 190km east of the Northern Territory border and you’ll hit the town of Boulia. Situated on the Burke River, Boulia – in Min Min country – is home to around 600 residents and is recognised as the capital of the Channel Country, where the great rivers flow west to Lake Eyre.
When on the road to Boulia, be sure to take a breather at Cawnpore Lookout to enjoy the spectacular view of Lilleyvale Hills. The view of the Hills is a high point during the drive between Winton to Boulia, which is already one of the most spectacular scenic drives in Queensland.
WHAT’S IT LIKE
Boulia Shire encompasses over 61,000 square kilometres of some of Australia’s most stunning scenery and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, making fishing, sightseeing and bird watching poplar activities for locals and visitors alike.
Mystery surrounds the town of Boulia, thanks to a phenomenon known as the Min Min Lights. These mysterious lights have been seen by many and are consistently described as resembling a fluorescent ball that hovers in mid-air. The first sighting occurred in the early 1890s, over the grave at the rear of the Min Min Hotel, which burned down in the early 1900s. Despite there being many theories banded around, there are no scientific explanations as to what the Min Min Lights actually are.
Interestingly, Boulia is also one of just three places where you can see first-hand, the last recognised Corroboree tree of the Pitta-Pitta tribe. This unique Waddi tree is strong enough to mark glass, making it one of the world’s hardest woods.
WHAT TO DO WHILE YOU’RE THERE
You may be in the outback, but don’t let that fool you into thinking you might run OUT of things to do! On the contrary, Boulia is filled with unique experiences and activities. The Min Min Encounter, for example, is a unique 45-minute theatrical experience that uses animatronics to explore one of Australia’s greatest supernatural mysteries, the Min Min Lights. At the Stonehouse Museum, you can check out an impressive display of Aboriginal artefacts, marine fossils, and pioneering artefacts from the Pitta-Pitta tribe, which date back as far as 100 million years ago! Around that same era – despite it being so far inland – Boulia sat on a bed of what was an ancient inland sea, which is why fossicking is another popular activity for visitors.
A visit to the Stone House Museum will see you explore the remains of large fossil marine reptiles, sharks, and fish that once inhabited this region; with its cool stone exterior, it’s also an excellent place to escape the harsh heat! And you could round out your day with a picnic or a spot of fishing for yellow belly fish or yabbies. For this you should head to the Police Barracks and Watering Hole, which you’ll find on the Boulia to Welwyn Road.
There are numerous annual events, which reliably draw a crowd to Boulia. At Easter, the annual Boulia Rodeo, Camp-draft and Races are held. This action-packed weekend includes a camp-draft, horse gymkhana, bull riding, time trials and races. Camping is included in your entry fee. Then in July, people come from far and wide to experience the Melbourne Cup of camel racing, the annual Boulia Camel Cup. Here you’ll experience two exciting days of races, live entertainment and fireworks. Camping is included in your entry fee. And finally, in September, Back to Boulia is held at the Boulia Showgrounds. Here, families can get involved in bronco branding, races and the Boulia Talent Quest.
WHERE TO STAY
In life, sometimes it’s all about quality instead of quantity, and this applies to the accommodation options in Boulia! When in town you can opt to lay your head at the Australian Hotel Motel Boulia, the Boulia Caravan Park (ph: 07 4746 3320), or the Boulia Desert Sands Motel (ph: 07 4746 3000). Wherever you choose, you can rest assured you’ll receive a dose of good, old-fashioned outback hospitality!