Julia Creek is proudly situated on the Overlander’s Way, the main travelling route from Townsville that runs all the way to Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory. Located at approximately 650km west of Townsville and 250km east of Mt Isa, Julia Creek lies in the heart of the Outback. The Downs Country around Julia Creek has traditionally been utilised for sheep and cattle grazing.
Also within the McKinlay Shire lies South 32’s Cannington Mine which produces silver, lead and zinc. The Cannington Mine was the official supplier for silver used at the Sydney Olympic Games.
The McKinlay Shire sits on the Great Artesian Basin which sustains the primary industries as well as the towns water supply. You will notice the distinctive wine glass shaped water tower in Julia Creek, this acts as a cooling mechanism for the artesian water and at 30 metres tall, also assists with supplying the town with greater water pressure.
At the Creek – Information Visitor Centre
Make ‘At the Creek’, your first stop when visiting Julia Creek.
Located on the main street, ‘At the Creek’ is Outback Queensland’s Visitor Centre of 2017 and offers a great selection of travel information brochures, maps and a range of souvenirs that can only be found in Julia Creek. Our friendly local staff are dedicated to helping you experience and enjoy all that Julia Creek, the McKinlay Shire and Outback Queensland has to offer.
What is there to do in Julia Creek?
Julia Creek Dunnart
‘Beneath the Creek’, another attraction at the centre, provides a hands-on interactive journey through many facets of life in the McKinlay Shire, and is also home to two very active and cheeky Dunnarts. Beneath the Creek allows you to hear about these remarkable tiny creatures and to view them in a habitat similar to that in the wild. Make sure you come along for the daily ‘Donald’ and ‘Duncan’ Dunnart feeding shows, at 10:00am and 3:00pm, Monday to Friday. There is a small fee of $5 for 2, but every cent of this entry fee is used for their special dietary requirements, maintenance of their enclosure and health checks. You can tell your friends how you have helped support the re-establishment program by making your contribution.
Where else in the world do you get to meet a cute but crazy little dunnart?
Just looking around town, one feature you definitely won’t miss is the 30m wine glass shaped water tower, which can be seen from up to 20km away. At night, the blue lights give the tower a completely different look and makes for some spectacular photography! Built in 1971, the tower has the capacity to hold 100,000 gallons of water and stands above one of Julia Creek’s bores. Not only does it serve to provide good water pressure in the town, but also allows the water to cool. Artesian water is often too hot to use when it comes out of the ground, and most houses in Julia Creek have tanks to allow for cooling.
Duncan McIntyre Museum
If you love history, you’ll enjoy the Duncan McIntyre Museum, home to countless relics from a bygone era. You’ll see a Willy Jeep Truck, steam engine, tractor plus an array of fossils formed in the Eromanga Sea. See items from the District’s wool heritage, history of the hospital, radio and telecommunications and much more. There are a host of fantastic historical images for viewing to give you an insight of what life was like in Julia Creek in the early days. Entry is free.
The Julia Creek Opera House
The Opera House you ask? Yes, this is our Opera House……so named because it was officially opened on the same day as the Sydney Opera House.
The Julia Creek Opera House is home to an interesting collection of local and regional photographs of the past life of the people of the region. It’s located in Julia Street, just a short stroll from the Visitor Information Centre.
There are a few versions of our historical town that you can do, whether you are after a short walk around the main area of town or the half day version. You can obtain a map from the visitors centre and walk the 38 signposted sites, reading their interesting and colourful history along the way and drive to the sites on the outskirts of town.
Spirit of the Light HorseSculpture – Julia Creek RSL
Standing proud at the Julia Creek RSL, Samson, the major sculpture was created by artist, Sue Tilley, from a range of vintage metal objects collected locally. Samson, together with the surrounding Light Horse Brigade silhouettes, form a prominent tribute to the spirit of the ANZACs. This is located on the corner of Mathews and Goldring Streets (heavy vehicle bypass).
HF / DF Station Powerhouse ruins
For something different, visit the remains of a concrete building which housed a generating plant supplying power to a RAAF High Frequency / Direction Finding Station, called the ‘Round House’, installed in 1942 on the ridge nearby. These stations proved great importance as navigational aids during WWII and assisted in the detection of Japanese aircraft across Northern Australia. There were only ever two Round Houses constructed of concrete, the other being at Tolga on the Atherton Tablelands. The round house was blown up at the end of the war but the remains of the plant building still stands near the cattle yards at the Western end of town.
In the late afternoon or early morning, a stroll along the nature trail near the caravan park, all the way to the RV Park usually rewards you with the sight and sound of wonderful birdlife, native trees and grasses. If you’re quiet enough, you may also view some of the local kangaroos, brolgas and even some emus. You should see quite a few ta-ta lizards as well. Please do not feed the animals as we do not wish to have them dependent on humans for survival.
These bright coloured cruiser bikes are FREE to hire and can be used to travel into town on the fully sealed walking/riding track. If you have a family or are travelling as a group, these bikes are great fun to ride around, stopping to have a picnic lunch somewhere. The bikes are available from the Julia Creek Caravan Park all year round, and also at the RV Park from April to October.
Artesian Bath Houses
Long drive, long day? Had enough of hubby or Just want to chill out together and soak away the day? Then why not book into one of the Artesian Baths. These newly constructed private bath houses are an unexpected surprise in the Outback, and something you’ll really enjoy. The baths are nice and roomy, two in each bath house, seating, pebble floor mats, authentic outback clothes hooks and great view. Throw in some bath salts or bubble bath, sip on some chilled wine, snack on nibbles and enjoy the company of partner or friend or just on your own and enjoy the view. Please note that access to these bath houses are for paying guests at the Julia Creek Caravan Park only. Bookings are essential.
Want an Aqua Experience??
Whether you want to do laps for staying fit while travelling, just want a relaxing swim, be a big kid and have a go on the water slides or you have real children that want to have some fun, come on down to the Julia Creek Swimming Pool and Water Park. Entry is free if you are a paid guest at the Julia Creek Caravan Park, otherwise prices are $2 per adult and $1 per child.
1st May to 31st August – Mon to Fri: 2pm to 6pm, Sat & Sun: 1pm to 5pm
1st September to 29th April – Mon to Fri: 6am to 7am & 3pm to 6pm, Sat & Sun: 9am to 12noon & 3pm to 6pm
School Holidays & Public Holidays: operate at the weekend hours with 6am to 7am also available.
Looking for something different – Bush Dinner
Starting late April to September come along and enjoy the award winning Bush Dinner nights at the Julia Creek Caravan Park (all welcome including free campers) each Monday night. Enjoy some local produce cooked for you by a local non-profit community group, hear a local yarn told by a true blue outback Aussie, enjoy the warmth of our camp fire and maybe even win a prize. $15pp please bring your own cutlery, drinks and chair for a great fun night.
Curious about Cattle Mustering?
If you’ve never taken part in a cattle muster, you now have the opportunity to come and take part in a virtual reality cattle muster at the Julia Creek Visitor Information Centre. For a small fee, you can don a Samsung VR headset, headphones and relax in our special ‘comfy cattle hide chairs’ and immerse yourself into being on the back of a dirt bike, inside a chopper, sitting on the rails of a cattle yard, watching cattle being loaded and more, all in air conditioned comfort!
Love shopping? Here at Julia Creek we have a range of shops from gifts and souvenirs, groceries, furniture, saddlery, hardware, vehicle parts, tools and much more. Walk both sides of the street browsing in the shops starting at one end, work your way down the other end of town, cross over and do the same. You will be delighted at some of the goodies you will find here that you never expected!
A Taste of Julia Creek
If you are looking for a snack, feeling a bit peckish or are flat out starving, you can find exactly what you are looking for in Julia Creek. From snacks and fast food to steaks, Bush Dinners and more. There are Cafes tucked away in supermarkets, a couple of hotels and soon to be a bakery / Cafe. Take your pick, you won’t go hungry.
What is there to do in McKinlay?
Love Crocodile Dundee?? This is for you.
Come on out to McKinlay and check out the Walkabout Creek Hotel, see the original pub set, safari truck and other items from the movie yourself. From April to October, the Walkabout Creek Hotel do a great range of meals, but all year round, they have accommodation, caravan park, a huge range of coldies, spirits and other refreshments available. Please note though, you cannot just turn up and take photos without spending something to help out the economy of McKinlay. So why not book in and stay a night or 2, restock your supplies and check out the scenery!
Australia loves BIG things; Big Merino, Big Koala, Big Pineapple, Big Banana etc. McKinlay loves having the smallest public library in Queensland!!
McKinlay has the smallest Library and Visitor Information Centre in Queensland. It might be a tiny building but it carries a great selection of books and visitor information. Make sure you call in while in McKinlay. Currently open from April to October.
Love unusual things?
This display can be found just on the edge of McKinlay. It was put together by the current owners of the Walkabout Creek Hotel to commemorate John McKinlay & Burke and Wills the explorers. It is unusual to find a display of this nature in ‘the middle of nowhere’ as some say, but make sure you get out and have a look and picture yourself travelling in the Outback on horseback, using only what is displayed. Things were extremely tough in days gone by. Enjoy the display, take photos but please leave it untouched so others can enjoy.
Crafty Old School House
The Crafty Old School House group meet at the old McKinlay School House on the 3rd Thursday of every month. Activities include tennis, health information and UFO afternoons (Un Finished Objects). This is a day for social gathering and to finish off/get help with any craft items that you may be working on. Crafts include patch working, horn and silver smithing, scrapbooking and card making. The group organises a craft workshop weekend once a year. The group is always looking for new craft ideas to try! Everyone is welcome to come along.
The Coolibah Tree
Created during a welding workshop at the ‘Crafty Old School House’ in 2013, The McKinlay Coolibah Tree, celebrates the history of the area, and recognises that even though the population of a small outback town seems small, there is a much wider community who belong to it. The project was a welcome distraction from the pressure and stress that the locals face due to drought.
The sculpture is made from vintage metal objects collected from local station dumps. The trunk represents the McKinlay village, and the major branches are the 4 main roads that intersect in the village. These are oriented in the actual direction of the roads. The roads to the properties are indicated with antique metal artifacts. The leaves are cut from old roofing iron and there is a leaf for each person currently living on each property.
Participants in the project ranged in age from 10 to 73, with local kids making ceramic birds to add to the tree. The project was funded by the McKinlay Shire Council and the Queensland State Government through the Regional Arts Development Fund. Sponsored by ‘Sandfire Resources NL’
Look closely and try to find these vintage objects:
- A shearer’s comb.
- A horse shoe.
- A railway spike.
- An Axe head.
- A stirrup.
- Hand shears.
- The Southern Cross.
- Horse bit.
The McKinlay Museum
McKinlay houses a museum that was established on the 28th April 2012, to commemorate the 150 years since John McIntyre passed this way. The museum has some private collections so if you would like to have a look through, pop into the McKinlay Library & Visitor Centre and grab the key.
What is there to do in Kynuna?
The Blue Heeler Hotel Motel
The Blue Heeler Hotel Motel is an extremely popular stopover destination for many people travelling along the Matilda Way. You can book in stay a night or two, which allows you to enjoy the features of the hotel such as the pool room, checking the thousands of photos, collection of hats and much more. Grab a bite to eat and a coldie and relax on the deck letting all your cares float away. They have a number of clean and comfy rooms available.
Combo Water Hole
Combo Waterhole Conservation Park is 132km north-west of Winton and 16km south-east of Kynuna. Turn south off the Landsborough Highway, 13km from Kynuna and follow the short drive to the park. The road is unsealed and you can access the park via conventional vehicle, however four-wheel drive is recommended. Vehicles are not permitted beyond the car park and camping is not permitted. Follow the self-guided walking track to Combo Waterhole on foot, discovering the story of Waltzing Matilda.
There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities in Combo Waterhole Conservation Park.
The Kynuna Roadhouse & Caravan Park
The Kynuna Roadhouse is a main stopping point for refuelling and having a refreshment stop. They have a range of meals and drinks available, and a caravan park with powered and unpowered sites for a stopover. It has coin operated washing machine and dryer, toilets and showers available. Here you’ll also get the chance to even meet some of the truckers driving those huge road trains.
What is there to do in Nelia?
Corella Creek Country Farm Stay & Cafe
Nelia is home to the popular Corella Creek Country Farm Stay and Café. Stay a couple of nights in one of the comfy rooms, queen or bunks for families or budget conscious traveller. Georgie your host, cooks some wickedly delicious meals, from snacks such as the traditional scones and jam, to Eggs Benedict, home made breads, full meals and more. They also stock a range of cold drinks and great ‘real’ coffee. Enjoy a well earned soak in the huge baths filled with artesian water – which is renowned for the therapeutic benefits like soothing aches and pains. Sit around the campfire and hear some funny yarns and enjoy good company.
Nelia Creek Brolgas Sculpture
Come out and see the biggest Brolgas in the world! This sculpture of parents and baby Brolgas was completed in 2012 by Sue Tilly, the same artist who constructed Samson the steel light horse in Julia Creek. These Brolgas are truly remarkable and an awesome photo opportunity, especially at the rising of the sun, or the going down of the same. You will see the sheer size of this sculpture in relation to people. Come on out and see for yourself, gets some photos taken of yourself with the Brolgas so you can brag to your friends that you saw the biggest Brolgas in the world!!
The Gallery @ Nelia – Art Gallery and Cafe
Driving between towns can build up your appetite so make sure you stop at the Corella Creek Café at Nelia. They have a range of snacks, meals, cold drinks as well as awesome cappuccinos, a range of teas from standard to green tea. You can pull up a seat under one of the shady trees or go across to the covered shelter, relax and enjoy the scenery. The full range of meals runs between April to October, and light snacks all year round. If you’re a guest at the Corella Creek Farmstay, you have the option to include home cooked meals.
McKinlay Shire Map
Julia Creek Town Map