When you get to Boulia, you can ‘see the light’ for yourself and learn about this unexplained phen-omenon at the Min Min Encounter and Inform-ation Centre complex. A 45-minute animatronics show takes you through six scenes, each with special effects and a story of a Min Min light sighting. One of the scenes is a depiction of the bar at the Min Min Hotel. At the centre, you can also gather information on the area from the visitor information desk or buy some souvenirs of your visit.
Next on your ‘must see’ list for Boulia is the Stonehouse Museum. The complex was named after one of the buildings, a 125-year-old Heritage-listed cottage built in the 1800s. As its name suggests, it was built from stone and is now a much-loved rarity. Also on the property is Tom Howard’s Cottage, an early 1900s construction which houses a combination of indigenous, hospital and early education displays. The cottages are part of a bigger complex which has some amazing dinosaur displays. Two sheds form the marine reptile fossil museum … and you won’t have seen anything like them even if you’ve been to dinosaur displays in other towns! The museum is mostly open from 8.00am to midday and 2.00pm to 5.00pm on weekdays and from 10.00am to 2.00pm on weekends during the tourist season. At other times, it operates on reduced hours, so check at the visitor information centre.
Boulia’s calendar of events includes the Easter Races every year. The horse races are on Saturday and the action continues throughout the weekend with a rodeo and campdrafting. The campdraft has a big following and attracts competitors from all over. The annual Boulia Outback Drags will be held in August at the airport. For something completely different, there’s the CWA Spring, Pink Ribbon Night Golf or the RFDS Diamonds and Dust.
Boulia’s most famous event of the year is the Boulia Camel Races in July. This is truly the biggest and best weekend of the year for locals and visitors alike. Self-sufficient visitors love it, because a weekend ticket enables them to camp for free (bush camping) at the racegrounds. And the action has to be seen to be believed!
The camel races feature a 13-race card with $30,000 prizemoney plus trophies and ribbons.
It’s not an all-local line-up, either. Camel racing people come from as far afield as South Australia and Victoria to try for the purse. Sometimes there are as many as 40 camels racing on the weekend. No wonder Boulia locals claim it as the best camel races in Australia. With a band on Saturday night and lots of market stalls along with food and drink vendors, the whole atmosphere is fantastic. There’s even a fireworks display. The Bedourie Camel Races are the week before and the Winton event is the week after, so if you have a passion for seeing these creatures racing, you can follow the fun on an outback camel circuit.
While in Boulia, also see the corroboree tree, the last recognised corroboree tree of the Pitta Pitta tribe and one of Australia’s arboreal rarities. It is a Waddi tree, found in only a couple of areas. While in the district, fish or birdwatch at the Burke River. A little further afield is Urandangi, where you can fish at the Georgina River, have a drink and lunch at the pub and wander around the pioneer cemetery.
Min Min Encounter and Information Centre (Boulia)
Phone (within Australia) 07 4746 3386