Home of the Drover
Camooweal, only 12km from the Northern Territory border, is an outback country town with a surprising amount of services considering its size. It once had bullock trains travelling down the main street, and memories of those times are still alive in historic photographs displayed at the shire hall.
The Drovers Camp Museum
Camooweal is considered the home of the drover. When you visit the town’s droving museum, the Drovers Camp, the past is all but brought to life before your eyes. In fact, this town was once the drovers’ capital of Queensland. Today, the Drovers Camp shares the story of droving in a way that can keep visitors enthralled for hours. The main tours start in May and give people an unusual opportunity to hear stories straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Old drovers who lived and loved the life bring total authenticity to the tales of how droving operations actually worked, from the days of early pioneers like Kidman to more modern times.
Each tour starts outside, where a map is set up and the old droving routes are explained. Inside the shed, the gear required for droving is laid out and the guides flesh out the picture of this travelling life. The third highlight of the tour is a setting of a packhorse/drovers’ camp to indicate the day-to-day happenings. The final stop on the tour is an air-conditioned gallery with plentiful portraiture and droving history display boards plus a shop where people can buy souvenirs.
The Drovers Camp is open every day in the season and there are usually three tours a day. (You can also visit at other times. The manager’s doors are pretty much always open.)
Drovers Camp Festival
The Drover’s Camp Festival is held on the fourth weekend of August each year. Join in the fun by entering the Charity Mail Race, Street Parade, Performance Poetry, Photography and Whip Cracking competitions. Enjoy watching our camp oven cooking demonstrations and bronco branding throughout the weekend.
Georgina River Bird-Watching
Popular with visitors is the Georgina River, and fully self-contained campers can camp on the banks for free for about 8km along the river. When there’s plenty of water, the birdlife is incredible, with pelicans, ducks, brolgas and swans among the abundant birdlife. There are actually about 50 species, so you might need to get out your bird book. There are two lovely waterholes, Lake Francis and Lake Canellan, where the birds congregate.
Camooweal Caves National Park
The Barkly Tablelands were discovered by William Landsborough in 1861 (there is a commemorative cairn in town), but its history goes back much further … before the birth of man, in fact. Back in the Cambrian era about 500 million years ago, rare sinkhole caves were formed in the district. They can still be seen today at the Camooweal Caves National Park about 20km south of Camooweal. The park is home to many birds, and there is a little billabong beside the camping area. There are toilets but no power. If you intend to camp there overnight, take your own water (you need to be totally self sufficient). Make local enquiries before going out.
The Camooweal Roadhouse is the last stop for fuel for 267km heading over the border to the NT. The licensed restaurant is open seven days a week.
Accommodation includes en suite motelstyle rooms and budget rooms, with the pet friendly caravan park featuring grassed sites as well as powered sites. The Roadhouse also has free wi-fi.
Riversleigh Fossil Centre - Outback at Isa
Phone (within Australia) 07 4749 1555