The Windorah region has some breathtaking, unique landscape – and you don’t have to go far from town to see it! Vivid red-orange sandhills are about 10 minutes’ drive west of Windorah on the road to Birdsville.
Another great natural attraction of Windorah is Cooper Creek, part of the inland lifeblood of Australia and immortalised in poetry by the great Andrew ‘Banjo’ Paterson – “gone a-droving ‘down the Cooper’ where the western drovers go”. It was named in 1845 by Charles Sturt to honour the first Chief Justice of South Australia, Charles Cooper. Today, Cooper Creek is still famous as the watercourse where two rivers, the Thomson and the Barcoo, join to form a creek. Windorah is just 35km south of that spot.
There are also ruins, mostly old pub sites, situated within about 90km of town. The JC ruins (they used to be part of the township of Canterbury) are situated about 80km west of Windorah on the Birdsville-Bedourie road. If you’re a history buff, you may enjoy wandering around the ruins and the JC cemetery, situated just off the road.
In a good season, the spring wildflowers are a lovely sight. Take the 12km-long nature drive that starts on the edge of town and winds its way to Cooper Creek. You will be able to identify 38 species of trees (their common names are signposted). A pamphlet that gives the botanical names of the plants plus a list of birds in the area is available at the Windorah Visitor Information Centre in Maryborough Street.
The centre is part of a complex that takes in the library and has internet access. The complex is also on the history walk, so wander around the property to see the 1906 slab hut at the Whitula Gate Museum and the old Cooper Queen, a steel hull boat once used to row supplies across the water to the town. Other points of interest around town include a water bore, churches, memorial rocks and a private residence that was once the local courthouse.
Just out of town on the Quilpie Road is Windorah’s solar farm – five sun-reflecting mirror dishes which provide daytime electricity to the town.
Accommodation and Entertainment
While you’re in town, try out the nine-hole golf course with its sand greens. And if you’re keen on the outdoors, camping is allowed at the creek. Drop in a line while you’re there. Kids love the giant snakes and ladders mosaic in the park. Pick up your giant dice at the information centre so you can have a family game! While the kids are having fun ‘being’ the pieces in the game, the parents usually appreciate the fact that it’s a beautiful work of art.
Cooper Cabins offer self-contained cabins in town. You don’t have to be a guest of Cooper Cabins to patronise their bar and dining room, open seven days a week.
If you’re towing a van or have brought your tent, pick a site at the council caravan park, which has public amenities, coin-operated laundry and fly-proof dining area.
Accommodation, meals and a friendly place to have a drink is the Western Star Hotel Motel.
Going to the Birdsville Races? Be in town for the Windorah International Yabby Races the Wednesday before … it’s great fun! Other events are the Bronco Branding, Gymkhana and Stockmen’s Challenge in July and the Campdraft and Rodeo in August.
Barcoo Shire Council
Phone (within Australia) 07 4658 6900