Each year the Mt Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo draws in tens of thousands from across Australia to enjoy the southern hemispheres biggest rodeo. It’s a great excuse to visit north west Queensland, a region bursting with fascinating characters, prehistoric history and natural wonders that will take visitors’ breath away.
Mt Isa is the main centre in North West Queensland and the best place to start is at the fantastic visitor info centre called, Outback at Isa. It has museums, a café and best of all, the ‘Hard Times Mine’ which takes visitors underground to experience what it was like to be a working miner.
The Rodeo itself is an action packed weekend that includes bull riding, saddle bronc, team roping and plenty more. A popular attraction is the Fred Brophy boxing tent. He’s an outback legend and the last travelling boxing tent showman in the world.
Outside of Mt Isa, there are many natural wonders to explore. The first is Riversleigh Fossil Field. It’s the richest mammal fossil site on Earth, with fossils ranging from 15,000 to twenty million years old. It’s also home to fossilized fish, snails, lizards and plenty more.
Not too far away is a great place to stay when exploring Lawn Hill Gorge. Adels Grove has a great selection of accommodation that includes room for tents, campervans and caravans. Or guests can enjoy furnished river tents and ensuite rooms. There’s a restaurant on site, Wi-Fi internet, and a bar.
Adels Grove is a short drive from Lawn Hill Gorge. The formation of the gorge took millions of years and aboriginal occupation at Lawn Hill goes back at least 17,000.
Some say it may go back further to beyond 30,000 years which would make Lawn Hill the site for the longest continual occupation in Australia. And according to the Waanyi people, the gorge and its permanent spring water were created by none other than Boodjamulla, or the rainbow serpent.
A trip to north west Queensland is easy to organize. QantasLink has regular flights from Brisbane and Townsville.
And RACQ has great members’ benefits for those wanting to enjoy the rodeo. Members can get discounted tickets on admission and various packages.
For all the information on everything in Outback Queensland, head to the Tourism Queensland website http://teq.queensland.com
Mt Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo
19 Marian Street, Mt Isa
7 4743 2706
Outback Queensland Tourism