As the crow flies, Cunnamulla sits 800 kilometres west of Brisbane, straddling the crossroads of the Matilda Highway and Adventure Way.
With its wide streets and classic corner pub, it’s your typical country town – but there are some surprises.
Cunnamulla offers the chance to hang 10 without a beach or ocean wave in sight. Sand-dunes lie on the edge of town and its where Peieta Mills of “Out the Back Australia” Tours can set you up with all the gear for an Outback surfing safari.
Peieta also owns Club Boutique Hotel – 4-star, heritage accommodation with an elegant dining room and full bar. Or you can choose to dine under the stars when Peieta offers her 3-course, fire-side roast dinner experience.
Out the Back Australia
The town’s biggest claim to fame is its annual festival. The Cunnamulla Fella Festival celebrates the bush skills of men and women on the land.
Those skills are put to the test during the Cunnamulla Fella Challenge, a highlight of the weekend’s celebrations. Teams of two compete in seven fun events – including wool bale rolling; whip cracking; and cross-saw cutting. There’s also rodeo action and live shows in the arena.
The 2018 Cunnamulla Fella Festival is on again from the 24th to the 26th of August. If you’re in town for the festival, why not take some time to explore this remote region?
The Cunnamulla Fella Festival
About an hour’s drive from Cunnamulla is the little town of Eulo, known by some as the “Montville of the Outback”.
That’s because the community is home to clever creatives like Tom and Helen of Paroo Patch. The pair sell hand-made fashion and fine, authentic leather goods. Pop in and you might even see Tom at work in his leather studio.
Down the road, you’ll find the Eulo Queen Opal shop. Formerly a telegraph station and post office, the store now stocks opal jewellery; artworks and timber furniture; locally produced honey and honey-infused skin-care products.
If Eulo honey doesn’t give you a glowing complexion, then make a bee-line for the Eulo Mud Baths.
The Outback’s answer to the “fountain of youth”, Eulo’s Mud Baths offer visitors a chance to soak in ancient artesian clay, sourced from local springs.
Sink into a claw-foot bath, filled with silty water, inside rustic open-air bath-houses. There’s even a two-person stretch bath where you can enjoy the experience with your partner, a glass of wine and a cheese platter. Add an outback sunset for a truly memorable experience.
With so much to do and see in Eulo, it’s worth staying at least one night. Bunk down at the Eulo Queen Hotel – which offers rooms; self-contained cabins; and a caravan park/campsite. The pub itself is a lively place with a colourful history. It was named for Isabel Grey – a rich and glamorous opal trader who owned the pub back in the 1880’s.
Eulo Artesian Mud Baths
Eulo Queen Hotel
Cross the mighty Paroo River and head further south-west towards the town of Yowah. The landscape changes from mulga country to vast plains of rust-red earth and low scrub.
Since the 1800’s, scores of fortune-seekers have descended on this dusty outpost – in search of a rare kind of opal found nowhere else in the world. It’s called the Yowah nut. These iron-stone spheres contain centres of colourful opal crystal.
Join an excursion through the fossicking fields with Yowah’s unofficial tour guide, Col Lawrey. In the comfort of an air-conditioned mini-bus, Col will take you to Kaleidoscope mine – his personal mine and one of the oldest underground mines in town. Tours finish with Devonshire Tea back at Col’s home – and a viewing of some of his prized Yowah opals.
You can also take a dip in Yowah’s hot artesian spas – at the bargain price of $2.50 per session, or $5 for a day pass.
And if you’re up for a quirky game of golf, why not head to Yowah Golf Course – where the fairways are red earth and the greens are sand.
Yowah Tourist Centre