If you haven’t been to Birdsville, you haven’t seen the real Australia – this is a town that beams with character, and it definitely has its fair share of interesting history.
Read on to discover the best things to see and do in Birdsville, or find and book accommodation in Birdsville today.
Let’s going to start by saying that to really understand what this place is about, you need to experience it for yourself. There’s an atmosphere around here that soothes the soul, you could say. It’s a combination of crisp clean air during the winter and amazing desert sunsets all year round that create an all-round good vibe. But, as you can imagine, the warmer months here are scorching hot, and the flies can be a pain in the-you-know-what! The birdlife here is pretty amazing to see too, I guess that’s why they call it Birdsville!
Birdsville was originally called the Diamantina Crossing, and wasn’t named Birdsville until 1887. Up until 1901 Birdsville was actually positioned on the South Australian and Queensland borders in order to collect tolls from drovers moving cattle interstate.
These days, it’s a thriving little community that’s just over 100 people strong, with the tourism and livestock industries keeping the whole town alive and well. In fact, for such a small population the infrastructure around here is actually quite impressive. A geothermal power station provides the town’s electricity, with natural gas and diesel generators brought online during peak periods. Convenience wise, there’s a caravan park, cafe, general store, bakery and a medical clinic available. Plus there are two service stations with mechanical repairs available as well. The Wirrarri Visitor Centre even doubles as the town’s art gallery when need be.
Things to do in Birdsville
For a remote town in the middle of the outback, you might be surprised at the things you can get up to out here! First port of call should be the famous Birdsville Bakery, where you can have a taste of their award-winning curried camel pie. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, the freshly baked buns, slices or pies should do the trick.
Make sure to also check out the Big Red Sand Dune, located 40km west of Birdsville in the Simpson Desert. This incredible dune is almost 40 metres high, and makes up one of the 1140 dunes in the Simpson Desert. Birdsville is also a paradise for bird-watchers, so if you’re out exploring on the outskirts of town, pack your binoculars! The Diamantina River is a particular hotspot, and on a good day you can spot pelicans, brolgas, emus, cockatoos and water hens.
Birdsville also happens to be home to one of the best watering holes in the country: The Birdsville Hotel. This joint is just bursting with that old school country charm, and it’s the sort of place you can just let your hair down and let the good times roll.
A destination in itself, the pub offers cold beers, generous pub meals, a place to stay for the night, and a truly Birdsville experience. Open 364 days a year, the pub gets particularly raucous when there’s an event on in town, but no matter when you pop in, you’re guaranteed to enjoy a yarn with one of the friendly locals.
The other adventure that lurks nearby is the famous Birdsville Track. The Birdsville Track was a 517km stock route that travels from Birdsville to a South Australian town by the name of Marree. It’s extremely barren; I guess you expect that seeing as it passes through three deserts?
The track’s been made famous by Australian folklore since its humble beginnings in the 1860s, with many stories like the Outback legend of Tom Kruse who was the Birdsville Track mailman from 1936 to 1957. There was even a movie made about Tom called The Back of Beyond, which highlights the challenges he was faced with crossing one of Australia’s most rugged and remote stretches completely solo consistently for over 20 years.
Getting to Birdsville
Birdsville is located in the far west corner of Queensland, close to the South Australian Border.
There’s no denying it – Birdsville is a long way from anywhere. From Brisbane via the Warrego Hwy, the 2 day trip is 1600km long; or from Sydney via the Mitchell Hwy, allow 2.5 days as the journey is 1900km long.
If you’re already inland, Birdsville is only 700km from Longreach on a dirt road (4WD highly recommended), or just 520km from regional hub Marree.
When to visit Birdsville
While the outback is an incredible place to visit year-round, it goes without saying the summer months are scorching hot (not to mention the flies are out of control!). With that in mind, the ideal time to visit Birdsville is between April and October, when the weather conditions are considerably milder. Our tip? The Birdsville Races are held on the first Saturday in September, and the town really puts on a show!
Where to stay in Birdsville
Discover more accommodation options in and around Birdsville.