A magnificent mining town, Mount Isa stands out like no other. The original home of the Kalkaboon Aboriginal Tribe, its population rests at 22,00 with a strong production of copper, zinc, lead and silver.
In fact, the production of copper is enormous making Mount Isa one of two of the largest copper mines in Australia. The history of Mount Isa dates back to 1923 where John Campbell Miles established it while on a mining expedition.
Filled with rich history, widespread nature, and unworldly adventures, Mount Isa is a great destination for travellers from all backgrounds.
And for those who are looking to stay in a place that boasts a warm Mount Isa welcome, head toward the Isa Hotel to be impressed. As one of the most commendable establishments in Mount Isa, the Isa Hotel is spacious and luxurious, which is precisely what you need to complete your exciting adventure. Simply book yourself in for the nights to come as you plan your road trips to and from Mount Isa.
Beyond the town itself, a road trip to many of the wonderful towns around Mount Isa could make your experience a lot more adventurous.
Given that the terrain around Mount Isa are quite rugged, it is strongly advised that you use a reliable vehicle such as a 4WD to get the most out of an authentic outback exploration. There are so many fascinating discoveries to be had off the beaten path and sometimes, there just isn’t any other way to explore it than with a 4WD.
Without further ado, here is a list of the wonderful towns around Mount Isa that are perfect for a road trip.
The Riversleigh Fossil Sites
Located a decent 360 kilometres from Mount Isa, the journey is worth every kilometre apart. Containing fossils that date back more than 25 million years ago, the rarity of these fossils will make an archeologists dream come true.
Offering a unique experience, most fossils here have been naturally preserved in limestone retaining a three dimensional shape. With the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation ranking Riversleigh as one of the top 10 fossil sites worldwide, a visit here is an absolute must.
The fossil site is at the southernmost corner of the Boodjamulla National Park, which also happens to be next on the list.
Boodjamulla National Park
A fair 390 kilometre drive from Mount Isa, the Boodjamulla National Park is around 207 clicks from the Barkly Highway. Given the rocky roads, you’ll need a trusty 4WD to help you access this majestic gem in the outback.
Home to spectacular wildlife and magnificent sights, the long journey is well worth the trip. Walking trails are abundant and range from easy to difficult. Explore the eye inspiring tufa formations, bask in the wild crocodiles, adore the vast species of bird, breathe in the fresh vegetation, absorb the massive panoramic views of sandstone ranges, and gaze away at the falls while you relax by the creeks.
With a strong connection to the Waanyi Aboriginal Tribe, all visitors of the Boodjamulla National Park are asked to be respectful and to not take photos in sacred areas such as the Wild Dog Dreaming site.
If there’s one thing you have to see to believe, it’s the Lawn Hill Gorge’s emerald coloured water. Referred to as the Oasis of the Outback, the gorge is connected to Lawn Hill creek which is fed by freshwater springs.
A 640 kilometre drive from Mount Isa, Longreach town is located in central west of Queensland along the Thomson river.
Renowned for playing host to spectacular sunset cruises, the Thomson river promises scenic views that will make Instagram envious.
A fun fact to learn about the town includes how Queen Elizabeth II witnessed the opening of the Longreach Hall of Fame and how the town is host to the first Qantas hangar.
Renowned for being called Overlander’s Way Town, Richmond is gone to dinosaur fossils and a world famous dinosaur museum, the Kronosaurus Korner.
Beyond the giant footprints, Richmond is also known for its man-made lake, Lake Fred Tritton, as a refreshing relief away from the typical outback setting. At the lake, you can swim, boat, fish, and take part in water sports. Nestled in bushes, there are plenty of barbecue spots and kids playground areas to have a great family time.
A short 16 kilometres from Mount Isa, Lake Moondarra is an iconic lake that you should take time to visit. Being the supplier of drinking water, Lake Moondarra is massive being 11,370 hectares large.
Activities include boating, walking trails and wildlife watching. Birdwatchers are known to frequent the area thanks to the wide variety of birds including pelicans, ducks and galahs.
With barbecue pits, shaded picnic spots, plenty of space for the kids to run, time spent here at Lake Moondarra is guaranteed to be a fun one.
Dubbed as the Friendly Heart of the Great North West, the quaint town of Cloncurry is rich with history and a good story to tell. Of all popular tourist attractions, the Mary Kathleen Memorial Park and Museum is one not to be missed, exhibiting a deep local history, a uranium mine and a one of a kind rail ambulance.
Along the way from Mount Isa, you will come across Fountain Spring Falls which is a spectacular sight. A reliable 4WD is recommended to get here due to the rough terrain making it inaccessible to many vehicles.
One of the most breathtaking views and scenery, the drive to Fountain Spring Falls is memorable. A quartzite Fountain Range rests on one side while the volcanic Mount Phillip lies in the other.
The Fountain Spring Falls is a deep and cool watering hole with plenty of wildlife to adore. A fantastic starting point to an off-roading journey, this is definitely the place to be for adventuring side roads.
With so many places to discover and adventure to, this list of wonderful towns to visit from Mount Isa will get your journey started.