On the face of it, the outback doesn’t seem like a place for a kid. There are no theme parks, intermittent mobile phone and internet connection, long dusty drives and colourful characters with equally colourful language. Having taken kids here, however, those things you may think would make family travel difficult are also those things that appeal. A trip to Outback Queensland offers the chance to connect with Australia’s pioneering past (and each other) and to do that a little hardship is part of the adventure.
From the rugged tunnels of Undara in the north, where molten lava once flowed, to the ancient mud flats of Lark Quarry where dinosaurs once roamed, this is an ancient land and human existence pales in comparison. A little more recently it was home to the oldest indigenous culture in the world and more recently still, the land of pioneers who endured enormous hardship to settle a hostile land. A sense of discovery permeates the very landscape – whether you’re fossicking for gems, searching for dinosaur prints or gazing at stars.
Outback Queensland is a region still inhabited by pioneers. From Akubra wearing, rugged-faced miners to children who seldom see their teacher a thousand kilometres away; from doctors with pilot’s licences to helicopter wielding stockmen.
A trip to the western parts of Queensland gives kids a sense of freedom they can’t experience in the city and it’s almost a coming of age pilgrimage which every kid should endure, and adventurous children will embrace. The never-ending horizon and bold blue skies of Outback Queensland are part of the spiritual heart of Australia and, as long as you don’t expect the kids to be pampered they will return with a new appreciation for this vast brown land.
Photo courtesy Tourism Queensland