It’s not surprising that there is an oasis-like atmosphere among the lovely streetscapes of Cunnamulla. The mighty Warrego River clearly was inspirational in the naming of the town that bears an Aboriginal name meaning ‘long stretch of water’. Created by Cobb and Co. in 1879, when the first coach drove through from Bourke, the township of Cunnamulla is the only surviving south-west town along the original route.
Discover the unique town character and the story behind many of the historical buildings and businesses, including hotels, saddlery, Tonkin House, churches and The Warrego Watchman, by taking a walk along the Heritage Trail. You can walk the trail at your own pace or join a guided tour.
To experience what life is like in the outback, you can visit one of the local working stations. See sheep shearing (if the season is right), cattle mustering, or even help out with the daily tasks.
The Warrego River
The Warrego River, on the edge of the town, is the perfect spot for a picnic, or some swimming and kayaking. Kayaks are available for hire, and while paddling the tranquil waters, try your eye at spotting the cheeky Cooper Creek turtle. Cunnamulla has some of the most stunning sand hills in Australia. With the vibrant reds against the brilliant blue sky, budding photographers will be in heaven, while others can have the thrill of sand-boarding, carving up the sand on the way down.
With a diverse assortment of native flora and fauna both within the town and surrounding region, Cunnamulla is a rewarding destination for nature enthusiasts. The Cunnamulla Bushlands, located on the eastern entrance to the town, showcases some of the area’s superb ecosystems as you take a leisurely stroll along the 1.6km trail, which meanders along a flowing waterway and ending at the wetlands. It’s a golden opportunity to see flora indicative of the region’s different ecosystems all in the one place. An evening visit will give you the best chance of viewing local wildlife, with kangaroos coming to the waterhole for a drink, and an emu or two strolling by.
Bowra Wildlife Sanctuary
Birdwatching enthusiasts will marvel at the number of bird species to be found at Bowra Wildlife Sanctuary, just 15km out of town. The sanctuary is internationally renowned as one of Australia’s most rewarding bird watching destinations. With central Western Queensland once covered in woodlands, the area was purchased for conservation by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, with the sanctuary now a stronghold for many threatened and declining bird species. The 14,000ha reserve is home to more than 200 bird species, including the iconic Hall’s babbler, the chestnut-breasted quail, Bourke’s parrot and the black falcon. During August and September you may see a stunning array of wildflowers.
Cunnamulla Fella Centre
Collect a town map and bird list from the Cunnamulla Fella Centre, which is the town’s visitor information centre. Don’t forget to have your picture taken with the magnificent Cunnamulla Fella statue while you are in town. The larger than life statue is a tribute to the Aussie larrikin stockman. Before departing to explore, make sure you spend the time going through the centre, exploring the rich history of the area in the museum and view the artistic brilliance of the current collection in the art gallery.
Artesian Time Tunnel
The Artesian Time Tunnel, also in the Centre, incorporates an old mine lift and takes travellers back in time 100 million years, deep into the middle of ancient sandstone rocks that form part of the Artesian Basin.
Artesian water is the lifeblood of outback towns and its importance is demonstrated in the time tunnel experience as well as a 30-minute theatre presentation. Here you will discover the home of ancient animals and Australia’s largest dinosaurs that roamed the Eromanga Inland Sea. You will also experience an old opal mine and the early days in the opal fields.
Allan Tannock Weir
With all the points of interest marked on the town map provided by the visitor information centre, you’re ready to venture further afield. You may decide to take a relaxing drive to Allan Tannock Weir to see the abundant array of wildlife and birdlife and take part in water activities ranging from going on a Warrego boat cruise to kayaking along the river.
Cunnamulla Fella Festival
Don’t miss out on the action of the Cunnamulla Fella Festival, which starts on 30th August. With cowboys, shearers and stockmen all converging at Cunnamulla, the festival makes for one of the most diverse events in the state. There is a jam-packed program, with country music, live entertainment, sheep shearing demonstrations, wood chopping, barrel racing plus lots more. Strap in for a night of thrills and spills as the Bulls and Broncs take centre stage at
the Rodeo, then party into the night with live music. When you wish to take a break from all the action, kick back on the lawn with the Cunnamulla Fella and enjoy the food and refreshment stalls and an afternoon of music.
Cunnamulla is at the crossroads of the Matilda Highway and the Adventure Way. It is also part of the Natural Sciences Loop, as is the nearby opal town of Yowah. There is always something to do in Yowah and the locals are only too happy to show you around and make you feel welcome. Drive to the bluff to take in the 180-degree views and enjoy the scenic sunsets, relax in the open air artesian spa and then meet with a local at the fireside dinner or book an opal mining tour and fossick for the unique Yowah nut opal. Call in to the local art galleries and opal shops that line the streets. You’ll find it’s a fascinating little town!
Eulo, dubbed ‘the Montville of the outback’, is a small community with a large pride which is evident when you visit. Local produce and products abound. Visit the Eulo Artesian Mud Baths, discover the Paroo Patch lines of hand-crafted products, browse through the Eulo Telegraph House Gallery, and have a drink at the Eulo Queen Hotel where you can hear stories of the infamous Eulo Queen. The new Eulo General Store stocks something for every traveller including local honey and fuel.
Unique to the area are the Artesian Mud Springs, located 13km west of Eulo on the Adventure Way. These magnificent formations are the natural discharge from the Great Artesian Basin and act as release valves to the water pressure.
Drive 100km north of Cunnamulla and visit the laidback township of Wyandra. This small town evolved as a railway settlement halfway between Cunnamulla and Charleville. Follow the heritage trail and become enthralled with the historical architecture buildings that remain from the boom period. Visit the Powerhouse Museum which displays many facets of Wyandra’s rich history. Play a game of volleyball or go for a swim at what the locals call ‘the beach’ before heading to the Gladstone for a cold beer and then onto the Post Office Café to enjoy a burger or watch a movie in the unique outdoor cinema.
Cunnamulla Fella Centre
Phone (within Australia) 07 4655 8470
Wandilla Bush Camping
Only 16km south of Eulo, situated on the Paroo River, Wandilla invites guests to bush camp any time of the year and enjoy the relaxed lifestyle. Make yourself useful and offer a helping hand to experience the daily work routine of locals in red mulga country or ask for a map and discover for yourself what the property has to offer.
Currawinya National Park is only a short drive away and is well worth a day trip. Wandilla is also host to the annual Music in the Mulga Country Music Festival, a four-day event held in May. Bring your camping chair and enjoy this great outback event.
Owned by the Nagel family for almost 100 years, Charlotte Plains is only 50km from Cunnamulla and yet it seems a million miles from town life. The property is famed among camping enthusiasts for its camping haven near a free-flowing artesian bore delivering 40°C spring water only 8km away from the main accommodation. People love the natural surroundings and the wide open spaces of the red plains. Nature’s spa bath is a great extra and at night a campfire adds colour and warmth.
Back at the (still used) shearers’ quarters, powered sites are available for caravanners (pets are welcome) while the shearers’ quarters provide twin single rooms with comfortable beds, fresh linen and a big deck where guests can sit in comfort. There is a large, extremely well-equipped camp kitchen as well as campfire areas.
Robyn Russell loves to share her glorious part of the world with visitors. She gives reasonably priced and very comprehensive tours and is very flexible with arrangements. You can sit back and let someone else drive or you can tag along. Outside tours usually include the shearing shed, station cemetery and any activities that might be happening. School groups are welcome
for a camping excursion and educational tours.
A very special way to see the property’s past is to take a tour of the old Queenslander homestead, known as the Home of Memorabilia. Every room is a celebration of nostalgia… pack saddles, travelling trunks, rocking horses, porcelain dolls, box brownies, fossil, even 1930s magazines and evening gowns of the past. … and, of course, the family stories to go with them.
Cunnamulla Cabins and Caravan Park
Cunnamulla Cabins and Caravan Park offers a variety of accommodation choices in town. In Mabel Street there are four fully self-contained cabins with air conditioning, large deck, undercover carport and pleasant gardens. In Emma Street there are two motel style cabins with queen beds, en suites, air conditioning, microwave and tea and coffee making facilities, along with three new self-contained cabins with a kitchenette, large decks, and 50 inch tv’s. To cater for travelers wanting no-frills accommodation Cunnamulla Cabins also offers budget rooms, plus bush camping for $10 a night. There are also ten large drive thru powered sites, each with their own en suite. A camp kitchen, laundromat, and a large outdoor fireplace are available to all guests. The outdoor cinema will be operating in 2019 and all guests are welcome to enjoy free of charge. The coffee shop will be open during the season for breakfast and late afternoons only.