Delve into subjects of the earth, under the earth and even light years away from the earth. Traverse a timeline from antiquity right up to the present day. This is the Natural Sciences Loop.
Amazing . . . NATURALLY!
You could describe it using the kind of words that scientists use—palaeontology, astronomy, geology, hydrology, meteorology, ornithology, topography. But in plain English, there’s a lot of fun, fascination and variety along the way. Entries to the loop are via St George on the Carnarvon Highway (State Route 49), Roma on the Warrego Highway (National Highway A2) and Cunnamulla on the Mitchell Highway (National Route 71) from the south. If you’re coming from Brisbane you can enter one way and return the other. The route takes in Cunnamulla, Eulo, Thargomindah, Eromanga, Quilpie and Charleville It feels like a journey off the beaten track yet the entire main network is bitumen (with offshoots, some of which are on gravel roads).
A Smorgasbord of Natural Scenery
Experience brown landscapes, forests, inland rivers, lakes and wetlands. Meet dinosaurs and find opals from the same prehistoric era. Artesian water is also millions of years old and its importance to these areas is evident as you travel the Loop. The more recent past visits tales of explorers and pioneer settlers. And learn about the heavens as well as the endangered creatures below.
Spectacular Flora and Fauna
If you’re interested in native flora and fauna, visit the Cunnamulla Bushlands, a 6 hectare site with six distinct ecosystems. Between Cunnamulla and Thargomindah, only after heavy local rain, enjoy the string of salt and freshwater wetlands at Lake Bindegolly National Park which is home to 195 species of birds, 80 kinds of other animals and 300 species of plants. Look, touch and smell your way around the Outback Native Timber Walk right in the heart of Charleville.
For spectacular panoramas, visit Baldy Top and Table Top lookouts, just 7.5km from Quilpie. A fairly easy 10 minute scramble takes you to the summit of Baldy Top to reveal landscapes that stretch as far as your imagination. A visit to the Cosmos Centre in Charleville unveils a different kind of panorama worlds away – the night sky.
Learn about Artesian water, the life-blood of the outback, in the Artesian Time Tunnel in Cunnamulla or take an Artesian mud bath in Eulo. Appreciate the power of Artesian bores with a visit to the Thargomindah Hydro Power Plant.
A shortage of water was to be the downfall of Burke and Wills on return from their epic journey from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria. You can visit the ‘Dig Tree’ 380km west of Thargomindah on the Bulloo Developmental Road where, in 1861, the base camp party buried provisions for Burke and Wills with instructions to dig. About 30m downstream an image of Burke’s face was carved into a tree in 1898 and serves as another memorial.
Millions of years before the arrival of humans, dinosaurs walked our continent. Visit the Eromanga Natural History Museum to see the fossilised bones of titanosaurs, Cooper and George, the largest dinosaur bones found in Australia to date. Modern-day animals deserve our time and interest too. Enjoy a Bilby Experience in Charleville and help save this desert-dwelling bandicoot whose numbers have become dangerously low.
And that’s not all! Fossick for opals around Quilpie and Yowah or throw a line into one of the many rivers and waterholes. There’s something for everyone. It’s amazing . . . naturally!
Cunnamulla Fella Centre - Phone (within Australia) 07 4655 8470
Charleville Visitor Information Centre - Phone (within Australia) 07 4654 7771
Thargomindah Visitor Information Centre - Phone (within Australia) 07 4621 8095
Quilpie Visitor Information Centre - Phone (within Australia) 07 4656 0540