Things To Do
*QUILPIE VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE, MUSEUM & GALLERY
Ensure your first stop in Quilpie is at the Museum and Visitor Information Centre located in Brolga Street. The centre’s building is shaped like a train to celebrate Quilpie’s position as the beginning and the end of the railway line. As Quilpie is known as the “Home of Boulder Opal”, the building is painted in various softer hues of the opal. In recognition of the importance of water in the Outback, a windmill graces the outer garden. A collection of Hebel Sculptures depicting different aspects of the Outback, enhance the front garden.
The centre showcases everything you need to know about the Shire and the friendly staff reflect the warm hospitality that you will find everywhere else in the area. The indoor interactive museum proudly displays the rugged history of the early pioneers. Opal mining, native flora and fauna are just a few of the interesting topics covered in the museum. The Shire Gallery hosts a different exhibition each month including travelling displays and works accomplished by gifted local artists.
*ST FINBARR’S OPAL ALTAR, LECTERN & FONT
Whilst in Quilpie, ensure you visit the iconic St Finbarr’s Church. In 1976 the Priest at the time Father John Ryan, believed that as Quilpie was an opal area, there should be some opal in the local Catholic Church, St Finbarr’s.
Father Ryan approached Des Burton, a local opal miner, for a quote on the cost of installing a border of opal around “Our Lady of Perpetual Succour”. Des Burton said “Leave it with me and I will see what I can do. It’s a bit bloody hard to quote on something like that. Why don’t I just give you that bit on the wall”? That ‘bit on the wall’ was almost an entire wall. Des cut ‘the wall’ into pieces, making up the beautiful opal front on the Altar, Lectern and Baptismal Font.
Des Burton was a pharmacist with a chemist shop in Quilpie who discovered the charm and mystical lure of opal Des’s fascination and love of opal turned him from a week-end prospector into a professional miner. Des and his wife Valma registered their first opal mining lease on 6th September 1967.
By the 1980’s after some good opal finds, Des had opened a number of retailing outlets including Quilpie Opals in Brisbane and later on shops at Surfers Paradise, Cairns and Perth. Des Burton passed away in February 1989. Des Burton is considered to be the most influential person in the history of opal mining in the Quilpie district and is also credited with showing the world the vibrant colour and captivating beauty of boulder opal.
Bill Durack was part of the Toowoomba Architectural firm who designed Saint Finbarr’s Church. Bill was the brother of Mary Durack, author of “Kings in Grass Castles”. Mary and Bill donated the beautifully coloured windows on the western side of Saint Finbarr’s Church in memory of their forbearers. St. Finbarr’s church is open for visitors seven days a week.
Pack a picnic and your camera and visit Lake Houdraman which is situated approximately 6 km north of Quilpie on the Adavale Road. The natural Lake is a beautiful expanse of water set amongst shady gum trees. Seasonally thousands of glorious water lilies line the banks in the shallow water. This lush oasis is home to a vast array of birds and native animals, making it an ideal location to birdwatch and photograph some of Quilpie Shire’s unique wildlife. Only a ten minute drive from Quilpie, Lake Houdraman is an ideal spot for a scenic picnic, a refreshing swim, or to watch a magnificent sunset. Visiting this beautiful, natural lake teeming with native birds makes it difficult to believe this is outback Queensland.
Please keep in mind that Lake Houdraman is on Wanko Station which is a working sheep & cattle property and is private property. It is through the wonderful generosity of the owners that you are permitted to visit this tranquil oasis. Please treat this beautiful area with respect and do not drive elsewhere on the property.
*QUILPIE OPAL FOSSICKING AREA
Strike it rich!!! Whilst in Quilpie spend some time looking for a uniquely beautiful boulder opal gem at the Free Opal Fossicking Area situated one and a half kilometres from town. Boulder opal is unique to Queensland and Quilpie Shire is renowned for its famous opal mines and discoveries. Quilpie Shire has the claim of having the first ever registered opal lease in Australia, granted in 1871! The colours of the Quilpie Shire Logo were inspired by the beautiful shades found in Boulder Opal.
Opal - ‘Why chase rainbows when you can wear one.’
*BULLOO RIVER WALK
A stroll along the Bulloo River Walk is a tranquil way to appreciate the native flora and fauna of the Bulloo River Catchment. Signs, bearing information about the plant species, are located along the walk. The Bulloo River is an ideal spot to relax under a shady tree and birdwatch whilst enjoying the natural sounds of the bush. Keen birdwatchers are encouraged to identify as many bird species as they can, and jot down their findings in the Quilpie Shire Bird Diary at the Information Centre. The Bulloo River is an ideal place to cast a fishing line and catch a Yellowbelly (Golden Perch) or throw in a yabby pot and snare some delicious Yabbies (fresh water Crayfish). You could have yourself one of the freshest feeds the outback has to offer.
*BALDY TOP & TABLE TOP LOOKOUT
Located approximately 7.4 km from Quilpie on the Toompine Road rests 2 red rocky formations. The first hill which has very scarce vegetation on its summit is aptly named Baldy Top. Exploring this magnificent boulder formation, formed naturally over millions of years is to adventure into caves and crevices, untouched by civilisation. The second hill is called Table Top due to its flat summit which enables brilliant 360 degree panoramic viewing. Part of the Grey Range, Baldy Top and Table Top are two of the most elevated points in South West Queensland. A climb to the summit of either of these formations is a relatively easy ten minute scramble. Although they may appear quite small in their surroundings, once atop these hills, one is amazed by the endless landscapes that stretch as far as your imagination. As ancient as time itself, Baldy Top and Table Top offers visitors stunning sunsets whilst experiencing the serenity and solitude of the Outback.
You have not seen the Australian Outback until you have seen it from BALDY TOP or TABLE TOP!
* QUILPIE MEMORIAL SWIMMING POOL
Cool off at the recently renovated Quilpie Memorial Swimming Pool. The complex has a 25 metre pool complete with shade cover and also a heated multi-purpose pool. A Disability Hoist is available for use. Children will love the Leisure Play Pool equipped with interactive play features including a slide and fountains. Free Entry!
Adjoining the Visitor Information Centre is a new park complete with wrought iron tables and chairs. The unique hand crafted tables which were created by a local artist incorporating rims of old wagon wheels. The table tops are beautiful boulder opal mosaics inlaid with glass tile images. Gracing the park perimeter is a 45 metre mural painted by a local artist which depicts sections of the Shires proud history.
Bi-Centennial Park in Brolga Street is a newly refurbished Park that is fully enclosed by a cute white picket fence. The Park has colourful innovative shaded playground equipment which is sure to keep young children fully entertained. For the older children, teenagers and the young at heart there is the newly installed skate park. Also at the Park is a range of outdoor exercise equipment for those who want to keep fit. Other facilities at the Park include a new Toilet & Shower block, a coin operated BBQ and a tables and chairs.
RSL PARK also in Brolga Street, is a tribute to those who served our country in the Armed Forces. A fence at the Park has a mural depicting various scenes in honour of our soldiers. Equipped with a coin operated BBQ and tables and chairs, RSL Park is an ideal spot for a quiet BBQ or Picnic.