Located on the Overlanders Way, Julia Creek is a small town with a big heart to match its big sunsets. The first place to get to know the area a little better is a complex known as At the Creek.
‘At the Creek’ Visitor Information Centre
Situated on the main street, At the Creek won the double crown of the Outback Queensland Tourist Association’s and Queensland Information Centre Association’s Visitor Information Centre of 2015. Housed in historic fettlers’ cottages, this accredited visitor information centre is the perfect place to discover the region’s exciting and colourful history. The latest attraction showcases live dunnarts and takes you on a high-tech journey through the geological features of the McKinlay Shire. The daily dunnart feeding shows are always entertaining.
On the eastern side of town is a popular free camping area along the water’s edge of Julia Creek. Suitable for self-sufficient RVs (built-in shower and toilet) for a period of 96 hours, this is an ideal spot to indulge in some cheese and wine while enjoying the rich, golden hues of one of Julia Creek’s famous sunsets. Or you can jump on one of the free cruiser bikes and head up town to sample some of the local produce!
If you’re towing a van, the Julia Creek Caravan Park is a great spot to power up and unwind with a three-night special of just $55. From April to September, the park hosts a Bush Dinner every Monday night. The dinners are widely known among the travelling fraternity who enjoy the cooked country meal and the chance to chat with locals and fellow tourists around the campfire. The award-winning Bush Dinners provide a fundamental bush experience seldom found anywhere else. All are welcome, including free campers.
Nature and Historical Highlights
Walk the 36 signposted historical sites around Julia Creek to discover and explore some of the town’s history. Maps and brochures are available from the information centre. The centre can also provide a list of the birds found in the area, which will make a leisurely stroll around the nature trail in the afternoon a most rewarding experience. People usually see some wildlife as well as birds on the circuit, which takes about 45 minutes to walk.
The Duncan McIntyre Museum, located on the northern side of Burke Street, is home to countless relics synonymous with the region’s past. On display is a decommissioned railway carriage, Willy Jeep Truck used by the Julia Creek Fire Brigade, a steam engine, tractor and an array of fossils formed from the Eromanga Sea 110 million years ago. Inside, displays salute the district’s prevalent wool heritage, history of the Julia Creek Hospital, radio and telecommunications. Entry is free.
Then there’s the Opera House! Tucked in behind the Civic Centre in Julia Street, the Opera House is home to a photo gallery of the past century in and around Julia Creek. The Opera House, so named because it was opened on the same day as the Sydney Opera House, is open from Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4.30pm.
The 30-metre wineglass-shaped water tower, the town’s biggest landmark, was opened in 1971 and has a 100,000 gallon capacity. Not only does it serve to enhance the water pressure in the town, but also allows the artesian water to cool. A blue light illuminates the water tower at night, making it as pretty as a picture.
You don’t have to wait until night time to take photos, though. The amazing Anzac Centenary Memorial Sculpture is another photogenic subject. The Spirit of the Light Horse was created by artist Sue Tilley. Standing at the Julia Creek RSL, Samson, the major sculpture is a man-and-horse masterpiece made from a range of vintage metal objects collected in the local region. A metal silhouette depicting the Light Horse Brigade forms the backdrop.
For something different, the remains of a Directional Finding Installation are located near the cattle saleyards on the western side of town. This installation was one of a series which spread from southern Queensland through the north and across the Northern Territory. Their purpose was to assist pilots who may have travelled off course. The pilots were able to use the directional beams from these installations to get back on course.
Just 50km east of Julia Creek sits a quaint little town with lots of character; Nelia. Nelia is home to the world’s largest brolga sculptures, the historic Nelia Post Office (no longer operational) and a range of accommodation options and outback experiences at the Corella Creek Country Farm Stay.
Check out nearby Punchbowl Waterhole or Proa Red Claw Farm. Discover how a sheep station diversified into a thriving red claw farm via a free self-drive tour. Bookings are essential and can be made at the Julia Creek Visitor Information Centre.
At the Creek Visitor Information Centre
Phone (within Australia) 07 4746 7690