The Road Ahead : August September 2008
travel & leisure a town like… STORY & PHOTOS DANIELLE LANCASTER B oulia, a tiny settlement almost 300 km south of Mount Isa, boasts double titles: being crowned the capital of both Min Min country and the Channel Country. Built on the banks of the Burke River, a never ending temptation for freshwater anglers, you may be surprised to learn there is much more to do here than wet your line. First up, visit the impressive Min Min Encounter Complex for the 45 minute show. Mannequins based on real life characters such as Gunna and Bluey tell their own yarns about seeing these mysterious lights that appear in the outback night sky. The complex also houses the tourist information centre, Encounter’s Cafe and a gift shop. Travel down the street and around the corner to the Stone House, built by James Edwards Jones in 1888. Listed with the National Trust, it was one of the fi rst homes built in western Queensland. Its superior condition and distinctive design keep out the harsh summer heat and rate it as one of the best intact examples of this kind of early architecture. While the artefacts from the Jones family, early pioneers and Aboriginal history of the area are interesting, in the tin shed out the back you can step back in time 110 million years. Inside the shed is an extensive collection of vertebrae and invertebrate fossils found around Boulia, including a baby Ichthyosaur skull and large reptile and marine fossils such as sharks, fi sh and turtles. Time your visit to the opening hours and you are in for a real experience when you meet museum curator ‘Dinosaur’ Dick Suter. Dick told us how he’d discovered one or two of the precious fossils himself and the turtle fossils on display were considered some of the most complete in the world. “These fossils show blood vessels, nerve channels and muscles. One even had the remains of shellfi sh still in its gut – a great discovery from the Early Cretaceous period when this whole region was under the Eromanga Sea,” Dick said. For more athletic entertainment, consider taking a swing at the Boulia Golf Course. This ‘sand green’ golf course has hosted the Queensland’s Women’s and Men’s Sand Green Championships twice. There are no dress rules, visitors play free and don’t worry if you left the sticks at home, as there’s plenty you can borrow, again for free. Accommodation options range from the caravan park beside the river, to a motel and a hotel. The list of attractions goes on: there’s the Corroboree Tree, the Police Barracks ruins, Cawnpore Lookout, the Waddi Trees, the Hamilton and Min Min hotel sites and the Red Stump. However, when your day is over, don’t forget to sit back and look up, for the night sky stretching from horizon to horizon and dazzling with multi-coloured fl ickering stars is undoubtedly one of the outback’s greatest treasures. MAIN PHOTO: Mesa. BELOW LEFT: Golf course, Stone House and sunset. Boulia PLAN ONLINE Plan your driving holiday online with the RACQ trip planner, at racq.com. The site lists accommodation, things to see and do and tourist drives in the area. Book your accommodation online or by calling RACQ on 1800 629 501.
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June July 2008