Country Towns and Country Strips
This trip focuses on off-the-beaten-path destinations, Outback stations and small towns with distinctive characters.
Highlights include an underground opal mine that has been converted into a hotel, a remote restaurant renowned for its menu featuring local produce and feral meats, swimming with tuna and beautiful flights and sights in the Flinders Range. By the end of this trip you will feel like a local, not a tourist.
Highlights – 18 days, 25 hrs, 2200 nm
Days 1 & 2: Toowoomba
Your adventure begins as we head off to Toowoomba and Darling Downs Aero Club [DDAC]. At the Tour Director’s Welcome Orientation you will meet your Lead Pilot and your airplane!
Today, pilots will participate in briefings and check rides. Passengers are welcome to join the pilot briefings, or enjoy the town of Toowoomba. There are many spots worth visiting. Just ask your Tour Director for recommendations.
Days 3 & 4: Comeroo Station
Our flying begins with a flight into the eastern Outback to Comeroo Station. A popular farm stay, it is a working sheep and cattle station where you will experience station life and Outback hospitality. It will also be our first dirt strip as we will land at the station.
Unique to Comeroo station, it is situated beside a permanent 6-km water hole which provides great fishing and photographic opportunities. We will also be sure to enjoy the stars while relaxing in the open-air hot tub fed by the hot Artesian bore.
Day 5: White Cliffs
White Cliffs was one of Australia’s early opal mining centres, which has seen better times and has a harsh history because of the difficulty in living in such an area. Here we will stay in an old opal mine that has been converted into an underground hotel. During our stop there we will have time to explore town, which has a few shops and a basic pub, and to learn about opal mining, which still goes on, but at a much lower activity level than years gone by.
Days 6 & 7: Broken Hill
This is the home of BHP Billiton, one of the largest mining companies in the world. It is a well-maintained and country town with a healthy downtown, thanks to the success of BHP. There is also an RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Service) base and Visitors Centre which is well worth a visit. Nearby Silverton, home of the Mad Max museum, is an interesting town to visit, has a great pub and a unique flavour. It’s a favourite on-location film site for apocalyptic-themed movies.
Days 8 & 9: Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island has been called Australia’s Galapagos island because of the wide range of wildlife! Our private, guided, all-day tour will include the local Sea Lion colony, Remarkable Rock and our guide will host a private BBQ lunch in the bush. A real treat!
Days 10 & 11: Port Lincoln
Island hopping will take us to the thriving and historic town of Port Lincoln, the “Seafood Capital of Australia”. It has Australia’s largest commercial fishing fleet and has become a major source of tuna for Asian markets. Fish farming is a large industry here with, in addition to the tuna farms, many Kingfish, mussel, abalone and oyster farms.
While in town we will visit a Tuna farm where you will be able to swim with King Tuna. It’s quite a “rush” to have one of these incredible creatures flash by you as they go after nearby prey.
And, needless to say, we highly recommend the local seafood for dinner!
Day 12: Parachilna
Our flight time today is very short, so we can have a relaxed breakfast before departing for Parachilna, a small country town that thrived during the railway era. Its iconic Prairie Hotel still provides quality accommodation and its restaurant has become a destination stop because of its innovative dishes which focus on local and South Australian produce and “feral foods”.
Days 13 & 14: Arkaroola
Our next stop, after a full day of flying is Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, located in the beautifully rugged Flinders Ranges. During our day there we will have a 4WD tour of the area to see some of the native birds and animals, including the Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby. A highlight of the day will be the Ridgetop Tour for a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view of the area.
Day 15: Innamincka
A classic Outback town centered around a pub, gas/petrol station and an airstrip within walking distance, Innamincka sits beside Cooper Creek, on which we will take a paddle. In spite of being this far inland don’t be surprised to see pelicans and sea gulls as we pass by beautiful river gums bordering the river.
We will also visit the nearby Dig Tree, famous as the location where Burke and Wills died on their return to Melbourne after crossing the Outback to reach the Gulf of Carpentaria. It is a reminder of the harshness of the region and the foolhardiness of the expedition leaders.
Days 16 & 17: Charlotte Plains
En route to next overnight, we will stop in at the Noccundra Hotel for lunch. A single-storey stone structure, it is one of the oldest standing buildings in SW Queensland. Although the town of Noccundra did not thrive, the hotel survived as a link between the supply and the remote stations.
During our time at the station, we will have a half-day history tour and then free time to soak in the warm water of the artesian bore and go wildlife spotting, looking for camels, emus, kangaroos and the many bird species that populate the region.
Day 18: Depart Brisbane
After a final landing at Toowoomba, we transfer to Brisbane CBD and return to “civilization” where the pace will seem hectic compared to where we have been.
Our hotel offers beautiful views of the city and the Brisbane River. In the evening we will dine at a seafood restaurant overlooking the river.
In the morning, we say our good byes after breakfast and farewell to our travel companions and new best friends.
Thank you for spending your vacation time with us and we look forward to seeing you back again!