Things To Do

Wally Barnes on Big Red

  • Big Red Sand Dune

Situated approximately 40 kilometers west of Birdsville in the Simpson Desert, it’s roughly 40 metres high and is the first of 1140 dunes when crossing the desert from Birdsville. 

  • Birdsville Hotel

Built in 1884, the Birdsville Hotel is located in the centre of the town. It’s an Australian icon and everyone who comes to town can’t resist sitting at the front bar with a cold drink, soaking in the atmosphere and gazing at the walls full of local memorabilia. You can choose to stay in the beautiful, air-conditioned rooms or just drop by for a meal. 

  • Birdsville Bakery

Visit Dusty and Teresa at the Birdsville Bakery and tantalise your taste buds with Dusty’s award winning Curried Camel or Kangaroo Claret pie. Try their wide range of freshly baked buns, slices and muffins, or just grab a coffee. You can eat in or take away. They’re open for breakfast and lunch, seven days a week, and open for dinner on selected evenings. 

  • Wirrarri Visitor Information Centre

This modern building in the centre of Birdsville houses an extensive gallery that showcases local art and photography, as well as a cinema that offers regular screenings of The Back Of Beyond, about Tom Kruse, the legendary Birdsville Track Mailman. Friendly staff can provide information on weather, road conditions, satellite phone hire and advice on travelling through the Simpson Desert and surrounding areas. The centre offers internet access, library facilities, maps and general tourist information. 

  • Power Station

The Birdsville geothermal power station is one of the few low-temperature power stations in existence world wide! The plant derives its energy from the water flowing out of the town’s Artesian Bore at 98ºC (surface temperature). The steam from this water is collected and used to power the generator that provides electricity for the town. Visit the power station for more information.

  • Old Birdsville Hospital

Built in 1950, the Old Birdsville Hospital was used as a working hospital until 2005. Visit the free display that’s open every day and discover how Frontier Services and the Royal Flying Doctor Service provide medical treatment in remote areas like Birdsville.

  • Racecourse

Home of the famous Birdsville Races, the track is located three kilometers from the town. Wander around and imagine over 7000 people flocking to this event on the first weekend in September each year.

  • Bird Watching

Birdsville is a haven for bird-watchers with pelicans, water hens, cockatoos, gallahs, brolgas, emus and more living along the pristine Diamantina River and in the surrounding bush.

  • Billabong

The billabong is a beautiful place to view the outback sunset and is located on the edge of the town. Enjoy walking, kayaking, swimming or fishing from the newly-erected pontoon, only a short walk from the caravan park. A short drive away is Pelican Point, a small peninsula with a great view of the billabong and its birdlife. 

  • Diamantina River

Relax on the banks of Birdsville’s beautiful Diamantina River and enjoy a picnic amidst the gorgeous views and beautiful native flowers. Located only two kilometers from town, it’s also a great camping area. Grab a yabbie net or fishing line from the Birdsville Roadhouse and catch dinner while you’re there.

  • Royal Hotel ruins

The Royal Hotel was built in 1883 and has been used as a hotel, a hospital and a school throughout its lifetime. Its ruins are located opposite us here at the Birdsville Roadhouse. They’re a reminder of Birdsville as a pre-federation metropolis when the town featured three hotels, a blacksmith, market gardens, customs facilities and even a cordial factory!

  • Waddi Trees (Acacia Peuce)

Roughly 12 kilometers north of Birdsville, you’ll come across the Waddi Trees on the Birdsville-Bedourie road. They’re an extremely rare, slow-growing desert tree, found in only three locations in Australia. The timber is so hard that it’s said to be extremely difficult to cut and the trees are now protected.

  • Burke and Wills tree

On the 20th of August 1860, Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills set out from Melbourne to chart a course to the Gulf of Carpentaria, which was the first south-north crossing of Australia. The team of 13 men and 20 camels carried over 20 tonnes of provisions. Though successful in their quest, both Burke and Wills perished on their return journey. Seeds from a Waddi Tree found in the diary of Wills verify their passage through the Birdsville region. The Burke and Wills Tree is located approximately three kilometers from Birdsville and is said to mark one of their final campsites before they reached the Innamincka area, where the famous Dig Tree stands.

  • Artesian Bore

Birdsville’s water supply comes from an Artesian bore sunk in 1961 (into the great Artesian Basin) to a depth of 1292 meters. Water comes to the surface under immense pressure, with a surface temperature of 98º Celsius. There are thousands of artesian bores sunk throughout outback Australia that residents rely upon for water.

  • Betoota

Betoota, once a Cobb & Co. change station, is 172 kilometers east of Birdsville and is Australia’s smallest town. The last permanent resident, Sigmund (Ziggy) Remienko, died in 2004, after owning and operating the Betoota Hotel since 1957. Now, the town’s only facilities are a race track and dry weather airstrip. However, thanks to the efforts of residents at nearby cattle stations, the Betoota Race Club fund-raises year-round for the annual Betoota Races. Brown’s Creek is a tranquil camping ground nearby and the Betoota Hotel, built in the late 1880s, is still standing.

  • Deon’s Lookout

Have your camera ready when you arrive at Deon’s Lookout, which is 20km from Betoota, on the Birdsville Developmental Road. Erected in the memory of one of Birdsville’s sons, the panoramic views are tranquil. With a picnic area and public toilets, it’s a great place to break your journey. 

  • Poeppel’s Corner

Poeppel’s Corner is the junction of Queensland, the Northern Territory and South Australia. It’s located in the Simpson Desert, roughly 140 kilometers from Birdsville. If you’re travelling through the desert on your Birdsville trip, be sure to stop and take some photos when you’re in the three states and three different time zones at once. Or, it’s an easy overnight trip from Birdsville.

  • Carcory Homestead Ruins

The Carcory Homestead was built in the 1870s from local limestone and is situated on the road between Birdsville and Bedourie. Sir Sydney Kidman abandoned it in the early 1900s after unsuccessfully battling severe drought. It’s listed by the National Trust and is now part of Roseberth Station. 

  • Thutirla Pula – Aboriginal Story Place

Walk along a winding trail through creeks and rocky crevices while learning about the story of two young boys who walked to Birdsville in the dreamtime. Gain an understanding of local culture and art and enjoy the scenic area and bird life. This beautiful and tranquil area is located opposite the Birdsville Clinic.

  • Scenic Flights

    Central Eagle Aviation runs scenic flights and air charter all over central Australia. To see the best that the channel country has to offer fly over Big Red, the Simpson Desert, Goyders Lagoon and the Birdsville and Strzelecki Tracks. 

    • Fresh growth beneath Big Red after rain. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • We are in the centre of town, opposite the caravan park.
    • Wild flowers in the Simpson Desert. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • A typical Simpson Desert track. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Birdsville is home to a huge variety of bird life. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Cockatoos. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Eagles above Birdsville. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Native flowers, affectionately known by locals as 'belly buttons'. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • The 'shoe tree'. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Waddi Trees, endemic to Birdsville. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Dust trail on the Bedourie Road. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Watch out for Birdsville Bakery's humerous signs. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Many tourists fly to Birdsville or take a chartered scenic flight during their stay. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Birdsville Hotel. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Adelaide Street. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Enjoy the sunset over the desert at Big Red. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Toyota Landcruiser Club convoy, May 2011. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Town cooling towers and the steaming hot water from the Artesian Bore. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • 'The Living Room'. Obscure roadside junk - we don't endorse the dumping of rubbish here! Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Desert sand dunes from the air. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Wild emus not far from town. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Birdsville's sunsets are always amazing. The Birdsville Roadhouse is in the foreground. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Wally loves Big Red. Photo: Bronwynne Barnes
    • The iconic Birdsville Hotel. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • The abundant bird life. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Birdsville's permanent billabong. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Road trains transport stock and supplies. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • Still water beneath Big Red. Photo: Kelly Theobald
    • A sunset ride at Big Red. Photo: Kelly Theobald