Greetings from Gayleen
– June 2023
We have arrived back from a great business trip throughout regional Queensland which included travelling down the coast and then out to western, central, the northwest regions and back through far north Queensland. We visited over 30 local government areas and travelled nearly 10,000 kms.
The feedback from each region was positive and welcoming of our interest and visits to the communities, several of which are quite remote. We have been making this trip annually for many years. My favourite quote was from Bedourie in the Diamantina Shire. The receptionist said, when I walked in, “Oh! It’s you again”. Priceless, and we had a big laugh! Diamantina is one of the most remote and smallest in population of all the shires and is one of the largest in area at almost 95,000sq km. Population 266. It includes the town of Birdsville, home of the famous Birdsville Races and Big Red Bash festival of recent years, which is now hugely popular.
It was great to see both the Toompine and Quamby pubs re-open this year. Toompine is on the road from Cunnamulla to Quilpie on the Dowling Track. It was a former Cobb & Co stop. Toompine is known as the pub without a town. It had been closed until taken over by a local family who have beautifully restored it. Quamby is in-between Cloncurry and Normanton. We last went to the Quamby pub in 2012 as in 2013 it was closed. Story goes that the publican famously handed the keys to a backpacker working there and walked out, saying ‘I’m done’. It had been abandoned since, until in 2021 some travellers from the Gold Coast saw it and thought what a shame, they subsequently bought it. Both pubs are in the middle of the outback and stand alone in the bush. Both have been beautifully renovated and offer camping and great facilities for travellers. Certainly, worth a stop.
While we are talking great outback pubs, the Middleton hotel located halfway between Boulia and Winton, which is a 400 km drive, on the Kennedy Development Road is also worth a visit. Originally created as a Cobb & Co stop it still functions as the stop for the long drive between towns, population of Middleton is 4. You can also camp at the pub free of charge. Now get out your maps or google to get an idea of just where these places are.
Tourism numbers in the outback are down this year. Lots of anecdotal reasons including cost of fuel and living increases, return of overseas travel, concern of flood damage to roads. Some regions including the Gulf of Carpentaria are seeing the lowest number of travellers in over a decade. This makes for a great opportunity to get out and explore beautiful regional Queensland with none of the hustle and bustle of other booked out travel hot spots. The roads are all in good condition and the hospitality is fantastic, as always. Our sunset in Karumba was the most spectacular we could ever remember seeing, all while enjoying local gulf barramundi and prawns. However, we did see the most beautiful sunsets every night throughout our travels, and the stars, just magic. After a lot of rain and some flooding earlier this year the country throughout the state, has plenty of feed in the paddocks, the rivers and waterways are flowing, and the birdlife is spectacular. It’s a great year to explore Queensland.
My article this month is more like a bit of a travel blog, but I hope it encourages you to get out and about and support our amazing regional and remoter communities. I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed. We often reflect on how lucky we are to have this beautiful and diverse state at our fingertips and in our back yard, which most of the population in Australia has never seen. In the regions there are still many career opportunities across a variety of professions and skill sets available. Please contact our team if you would like to discuss a career move or a region that you would be interested in working in and/or moving to.