Discovering the fringes of South East Outback Queensland can lead to some wonderful photographic opportunities. To fully understand the diversity of the Sandstone Wonders region, it’s best to pick out a few vantage points. There is nothing quite like a good lookout that proves a truly breathtaking view and the Sandstone Wonders offer many of these. From soaring sandstone cliffs to deeply carved ancient valleys, we guarantee a whole new perspective when making your way through our Top 7 Lookouts in the region.
1. Moura No.2 Memorial Lookout
A short drive from Moura provides travellers and locals with an incredible view of the Dawson mine, a large open-cut metallurgical, and export thermal mine (a fancy name for a coal mine). The mine is located at the Southern End of the Bowen basin and exports a whopping average of about 4 million tonnes of coal each year. From the lookout, you can watch the operation of the coal mine, the monster trucks, excavators, draglines, face shovels, loaders and so much more work non-stop to produce and export coal.
Whilst the view and enormity of the mine is absolutely mind-blowing, the history tells a more heartbreaking tale.
Over the lifespan of the Dawson mine, a total of 36 lives have been lost from three separate incidents. The first occurrence in 1975 saw 13 miners die, the second in 1986 saw 13 miners lose their lives, and the last tragedy, occurring in 1994, claimed the lives of 11 miners. Over the course of this mine’s lifespan, some of these tragic events lead to abandoning the recovery attempts for the bodies and the mine being sealed at the surface.
2. Malakoff Lookout – Theodore
Get set for a dry weather adventure when setting off to take in the scenery from Malakoff Lookout. The best way to get there is with our handcrafted Malakoff Lookout Loop Scenic Drive Trail. This 23.35 km loop is an easy 1 – 2 hour drive that is suitable for all vehicles in dry weather. Pack a picnic, charge your camera, don some sunscreen and sun smart clothes, and head off on your adventure. We recommend starting from the picturesque town of Theodore and following the drive route along the rural track looking out for any wildlife you might see along the way.
The Malakoff Lookout is a little off the beaten track but well worth the visit. The lookout has a lovely picnic table and overlooks the picturesque Dawson Valley.
3. gilberts lookout
This pleasant lookout is located less than a kilometre from the town of Taroom. Enjoy a picnic lunch in an undercover area overlooking the Dawson River, the town of Taroom and the surrounding countryside. Gilbert’s lookout was built in honour of the late John Gilbert (1812-1845 – just 33 years old!). Gilbert’s profession was an Ornithologist (the study of birds) and contributed extensively to the work of John Gould who has written the infamous ‘bird bible’ of Australia, ‘The Birds Of Australia’.
As a member of Ludwig Leichhardt’s first overland expedition in 1844 to Port Essington, Gilbert was reportedly speared to death on the 29th June 1945. The Australian Museum details Gould’s final diary entry:
Gilbert’s Diary 28th June 1845
This is Gilbert’s last entry before he was killed:
“[the aborigines] appear to have been engaged in cooking their food and pieces of bark or boughs showing that it has been a regular camping ground, but what the ring is for would be very interesting to know, perhaps in some way connected with their superstitions.”
4. callide mine and lake callide lookout
To make the most of the vantage points along Macauley Way we recommend our handcrafted drive trail ‘Biloela Beauties’. This beaut drive trail begins in Biloela and is an easy 58 km long. The drive trail is a great mix of history, industry & natural scenery.
There are a number of vantage points along the Biloela Beauties drive trail, which takes in Lake Callide and the Callide Mine, showcasing the region’s industries and resources. These include the all-important harvested water that supplies agriculture and mining, that together drive the region’s wealth and growth.
Another handcrafted drive trail we recommend is the Scenic Way self-drive loop. This 75 km loop soaks up great views of the Callide Dam, the Callide Coalfields and Power Station, and the spectacular Lake Callide.
Lake Callide is an angler’s paradise and is fast gaining a reputation as one of the highest quality inland fishing areas in Queensland. Think metre-long Barramundi, Sleepy Cod, Yellow Belly & Red Claw to name a few. Perhaps you should consider throwing the rod in the car for the scenic loop…..
5. Kroombit tops national Park lookout
Think gorges, creeks, waterfalls, bush walks, a crashed WW2 bomber, rainforest, rugged 4WD tracks and sandstone escarpments. Travelling this wild national park is a must and the view from The Lookout Walk (Griffith Creek) is not one to disappoint. The lookout offers spectacular views across the Boyne Valley from the eastern escarpment. Perched high above the dark green rainforest, watch the birds below flit between the canopy of the trees and hear their chatter rise up to where you have perched high above, taking it all in.
The easy 100m lookout walk is suitable for wheelchairs with a natural hard dirt surface. If you wish to take in more of the spectacular views, why not walk the Escarpment Track? This 5 hour one-way walk is 13 km in length and follows the eastern escarpment overlooking the Boyne Valley and weaves through open blackbutt forest. The track ends at the Barracks where vehicle-based camping is permitted.
6. isla Gorge National Park Lookout
Between the townships of Taroom in the south and Theodore in the north, lies Isla Gorge National Park. Located just off the Leichhardt Highway it is easily accessed by 2wd and offers a stunning viewing area overlooking Gorge Creek. The view is an uninterrupted photographer’s paradise!
Taking in the views across the valley, your eyes are naturally drawn to a large cluster of jagged rocks named Devil’s Nest. Watch as the sandstone monoliths change colour with the angles of the sun. Explore the complex maze of gorges and sandstone rock by following the amazing ‘Isla Delusion’ drive trail to soak up all the Isla Gorge Goodness.
7. HISTORIC flagGED ROAD
At the north-west end of Isla Gorge National park, you’ll find Flagstaff Hill parking area. From here you can discover the remnants of Flagstone Road, built with great slabs of rock, in the 1860s. There are two ‘off the beaten track’ handcrafted drive trails that lead you to the Northern Historic Flagged Road, leaving from either Theodore or Taroom. These drive trails provide you with an opportunity to walk the historic hand-laid Flagstone Road and revel in the view from the lookout across the valley and ranges.
Whether you are caravanning with your life partner or holidaying with your young family there are countless experiences to be had in the Sandstone wonders region. From farm stays to off the beaten track 4 wheel driving, from historical hotels to free camping, the Sandstone Wonders region has something for everyone.
If you are planning to camp in a designated campground or National Park ensure you book and obtain the necessary permit.
Book online at www.qld.gov.au/camping or phone 13QGOV (13 74 68). Charges may apply.
For more on camping in the Sandstone Wonders read here.
And please help to care for our precious places and leave them clean as you go. Remember: take only photographs, leave only footprints.