Once a droving stopover on the east-west stock route, Eulo is still a popular stopping spot for visitors. There are more than 20 businesses ranging from stock-work contractors to arts and crafts in this little town . … not bad for a population of about 40 people!
Eulo General Store
One of the town’s most popular businesses has always been the Eulo General Store, which since the 1880s has had the reputation of being able to supply nearly anything. The old store—a town icon—was lost to fire a few years ago, but current proprietors Rob and Rhi Newsham purchased the ashes and rebuilt a new store which they have recently resumed operating with the help of manager Janine Gill, and are building their own traditions.
Some things you expect from a country general store, and some you don’t. Unleaded and diesel are available, along with groceries including fresh fruit and vegetables, refrigerated goods and frozen food. Then there are some beautiful opal specimens and jewellery from the Newsham’s own mine, gardening supplies, handmade furniture items and fishing gear, car batteries, ice, pet food and local honey and hand cream made from bees wax. The store is also an Australia Post agent. There’s even a private collection of megafauna fossils found locally and now on display. (One of the few things not for sale!) All-day breakfast is available, along with burgers, sandwiches, espresso coffee and milkshakes.
Famous Flood Truck
You can also check out the famous Eulo flood truck, which has found its way back at the store. Not to pick up groceries and people this time, but for locals to reminisce. The flood truck is an old Dodge that has been raised in order to be able to drive through flood waters, carrying people and goods through to the other side. Under the careful guidance Brian Luetchford, the truck could take on the 1.2 metres of Paroo floodwater safely. Using the swirls made by water rushing by the tops of the guideposts and the bumps of the stone pitching on the road edges
below, Brian made countless journeys from one side of the Paroo to the other. Whether it was food, patients for the Royal Flying Doctor Service Clinic, mail, whole shearing teams or just those desperate to get to the pub, the truck performed an invaluable service to the people of the southwest – and it never once stopped in the middle! It was a great experience to ride on the flood truck, climbing up the ladder to the back, dodging the holes in the floor, and if you
were quick, you might get a spot to sit on the old bus seat and take in the view of the mighty Paroo in flood! The truck was originally donated by local grazier Tim Ecroyd, with the Bulloo Shire carrying out the modifications necessary for crossing the river at Eulo when in flood. It has been about five years since the flood truck was decommissioned and replaced by a new truck, but the old truck’s service to the community won’t be forgotten.
WWII Air Raid Shelter
Feel free also to have a wander around the air raid shelter on the southern side of the store. It was built in WWII by then store proprietor, Hilton Newsham (great grandfather of the current store owner) to protect Eulo residents in the event of an attack by the Japanese. It was a government project and Eulo was chosen as a site for the safety shelter as it was on the direct flight path from Darwin to Melbourne and was a communication link used to wire information between the two locations. The design of the shelter is known as an Anderson Air Raid Shelter. Consisting of heavy-gauge corrugated steel curved over a trench, it was originally covered in sandbags and had grass growing around it to appear as a dog kennel. Inside, 50 people could take refuge standing up.
There is also the old meat house in front of the air raid shelter which was moved to its current location to make way for the new store after fire destroyed the old store in 2011. The floor of the meat house is made of old slabs of slate that were part of the pool table in the original Eulo Queen Hotel many years ago. The corners of the slabs are rounded out as this is where the pockets were in the pool
The engine shed at the rear of the store (an original shed which survived the fire) now houses locally made timber furniture from local artisan Simon Elwell. The furniture is mostly made from recycled timber such as bee boxes, timber boules, and the odd bit of ripple iron. All pieces are for sale and Simon’s quirky style will be nothing like you have seen before!
There really is plenty to see and do at the Eulo General Store. Grab a cuppa and relax on one of the mammoth handmade benches at the front of the store and watch the world go by, Eulo style.
Eulo Telegraph House Gallery
Just a couple of doors up is the Eulo Telegraph House Gallery, which is open seven days in the busy season and is home to the Eulo Queen Opal Centre. The gallery features a collection of local art including traditional Aboriginal paintings and the amazing art of Melanie Hava, whose Aboriginal-Austrian background provides inspiration from two very different and contrasting cultures. While her works portray the stories of her Indigenous heritage, it is not unusual to find gold leaf or the occasional crystal woven into these stories. Melanie’s works are for sale at the Eulo Queen Opal Centre.
Eulo Queen Opal Centre
Back in the days when hotel owner Isobel Robinson was known as the Eulo Queen, opals were the lifeblood of the town. More than a century later, they are again an integral industry in the town. The Eulo Queen Opal Centre has finished stones, jewellery and uncut opals. In the yard, rough opals, nuts and boulder opal specimens are displayed. Opal is sourced from Yowah, Koroit and Quilpie. Also browse among the gift lines, Himalayan salt lamps, Paroo honey, crafts and the exceptional locally made Paroo Products including revitalising cream, lip balm, ointment and furniture polish. Busy Paroo bees produce the flavoursome honey from local native Yapunyah tree blossom and innovative locals do the rest. Store proprietor Gary Berghofer says the all-natural creams are absolutely amazing for skin problems.
Heritage Walking Trail
While in town, stroll along the heritage walking trail which takes in the cemetery, the old horse race track, old buildings, native trees and the Chinaman’s Garden.
A great photo opportunity is the megafauna statue of a diprotodon which is now part of the street landscape … a reminder of a giant wombat-like creature that once walked the Earth!
Nearby is the old jailhouse, moved from the police station to a new home near the Lizard Lounge and old lizard track. The cells were donated by the police to the Eulo Development Association. After much huffing and puffing, they were moved – the steel inserts made them a lot heavier than they looked! A modern touch has been added so that solar lighting activates when you enter.
And what’s the story with the old lizard on the windmill tower? Well, he’s pretty old and doddery these days but he harks back to the time when Eulo used to host lizard races!
Birdwatchers love the Eulo district and come looking for Bourke’s parrot and the rare Hall’s babbler among the abundant birdlife. A few clicks from Eulo, the Paddabilla Bore is world renowned for birdwatching. A nature drive known as the Billabong Nature Drive features an abundant bird habitat too.
The Artesian Mud Springs
The Artesian Mud Springs at Eulo are a unique site to behold. .The mud springs are a release valve for the pressure from the Artesian Basin, with the springs going through cycles of active and dormant periods. These cycles can last up to hundreds of years. Mounds of mud, 40 millions of years old, build up during the active phases, and then sink back down when dormant. Access to the springs is by foot only. Display signs provide information on the springs, as well on the flora and fauna in the area.
Eulo Artesian Mud Baths
Some people call it getting down and dirty because, well, it involves mud. Others say it’s all good clean fun. But all agree that it’s one of the most relaxing experiences of their trip.
Mudbathing in Eulo could be the quirkiest thing you do on your outback Queensland holiday. It’s just about as far from a swanky day spa as you could get—in every way—but the Eulo Artesian Mud Baths have the most important ingredient for an authentic experience: the mud.
Here, you’re right at the source. Eulo is one of the few places where artesian water, mixed with clay from shales deep below the Earth’s surface, rises all the way to ground level. This phenomenon is known as mud springs, and the clay found at these springs is rich in minerals like silica, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and zinc.
And while the health value of mudbathing is widely accepted, if you also believe in the rejuvenating power of laughter you’ll get double the benefit when you try mudbathing at Eulo. Because, truly, the great Australian sense of humour is alive and well in the complex that delightful owners, Ian and Nan Pike, have created for their customers. Mud bath filling is an almost ritualistic process and Ian’s passion shines through as he explains the unique qualities of artesian mud and the miracle of the heated water from deep underground.
The baths are set in open-air ‘rooms’. There are three colourful singles, a stretch bath that is popular with couples and with parents who have small children (the kids have a great time—we won’t mention mudfights!). Another offering especially popular when two couples are travelling together is the Sunset Room. Here four single baths are set out so each occupant has a great view of the sunset. You can spend the relaxing part of the day enjoying a glass of wine, nibblies and a chat while you soak and watch as nature brings the day to a close in its colourful fashion. Some people like to have the lights out for some total relaxation. Talking about lights, if you’re in the Sunset Room you’ll enjoy the psychedelic shower afterwards!
Day or evening mud baths can be booked. (Feel free to ask Ian or Nan for a no-obligation inspection of the mud baths beforehand if you’d like.) There’s nothing quite like the utter relaxation of leaning back in your mud-infused bath, snacking on nibblies and sipping a little wine or a hot drink. Soak in warm artesian water impregnated with clay, then follow up with a milky grey mudpack to let your skin soak in the goodness from this mineral-rich mud. While the mud is working its magic, you can relax and enjoy the scenery. Then jump into a bush shower to wash off the mud and to complete the rejuvenation, apply some homemade date moisturizer. The whole experience takes about an hour and a half. Bookings are not essential but it is wise to ring ahead to book your bath. Ian and Nan don’t like to hurry guests … and some are hard to get out of the bath!
If time is at a premium and you’re a flying visitor, no need to worry about hiring a car. The Eulo Artesian Mud Baths are in easy walking distance (about 200m) of the airport.
If you love your mudbathing experience so much you’d like to repeat it at home, you can buy a mud pack to go. But let me warn you— there’s no guarantee that it will be as much fun as the ridgy-didge experience you’ll have in Eulo.
Cunnamulla Fella Centre
Phone (within Australia) 07 4655 8470