Aspiring off-the-beaten-track travellers can’t claim the title until they visit Birdsville, an iconic Australian settlement on the fringe of the Simpson Desert, and Queensland’s most remote ‘town’. During the first weekend in September, the annual Birdsville Cup horse races draw up to 7000 fans from all over the country to drink, dance and gamble for three dusty days.
Simpson Desert National Park
The waterless Simpson Desert occupies a massive 200,000 sq km of central Australia and stretches across the Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia (SA) borders. The Queensland section, in the state’s far southwestern corner, is protected as the 10,000-sq-km Munga-Thirri National Park, and is a remote, arid landscape of high, red sand dunes, spinifex and cane grass.
Bedourie is the administrative centre for the huge Diamantina Shire Council, and a friendly outback outpost. Coming from Boulia, it’s 200km south on a recently sealed road. A big attraction is the free public swimming pool and artesian spa. The charming adobe-brick Bedourie Hotel was built in the 1880s and is a social hub for the region.