Longreach is a town in Outback Queensland.
Longreach is a visitor friendly town in Central Outback Queensland. This small town of 3,000 is named after the 'long reach' of the Thomson River upon which it sits. Unlike many other rivers in Outback Queensland this part of the Thomson River tends to retain water year round and doesn't often go dry. The town has a strong connection with Qantas and its airport was one of the first bases of the then 'Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service' which later became the national carrier Qantas. The nearest large settlement is 687 kilometres away in Rockhampton.
Longreach is a popular outback destination for many travelers, particularly those doing road trips around Australia. The town has focused on the visitor experience and despite its isolation has a number of attractions and experiences to engage visitors.
Given the Outback setting the climate is particularly harsh in summer with the daily temperature often in excess of 40°C / 100°F. Visitor season runs in the cooler months from April to October, with Easter often marking the beginning of each season. During off-season the number of experiences available for visitors is reduced with tour offerings and dinner experiences in particular less available.
Along with many other areas of Queensland, Longreach is in the midst of a long standing drought resulting in difficult times for the town and surrounding areas. Tourism is a key contributor to the towns economy while the drought continues.
The Longreach Tourist Information Centre is located in the original Qantas Ticket office in Qantas Park on Eagle Street.
- 1 Longreach Airport (LRE IATA).
- QantasLink flies once a day from Brisbane, with a journey time of 3 hours. The flight timings differ throughout the week. Visitors looking to experience Longreach over a long weekend will find the Friday morning departure from Brisbane and Sunday afternoon departure from Longreach offers more time at the destination compared to flight timings on other days.
- Rex flies twice a week from Townsville, with a journey time of 2.5 hours.
There is no public transportation in Longreach. A car while not being essential to enjoy a trip to the town, may make the experience more pleasant.
A taxi service is available within the town. Tour operators will pick-up and drop off from your accommodation. Some accommodation providers offer bicycle hire and pick-up from the Airport.
Eagle St stretches southwest from the train station and all the shops are along here, along with several hotels and motels. Other motels stretch 2km east along the highway to the airport, Qantas museum and Stockman's Hall of Fame - walkable if you can handle the heat.
Petrol costs 20c/litre more than on the east coast.
- 1 Qantas Founders' Museum, Longreach Airport (on the highway, east of town). Not actually affiliated with Qantas but celebrates their early years in the town that they started from. A range of history and static exhibits. Offers expensive but interesting tours of an ex-Qantas 707 and 747-200 including wing walks and access to the under cariage. A worthy pilgrimage site for air enthusiasts. $21+.
- 2 Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre, Landsborough Highway (opposite the airport, on the highway east of town), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Has shows during dry seasons. $31.
In addition to the Outback Museums, a sunset cruise of the Thomson River is one of the must do activities while in the area. Dinner elements are included in the cruises during peak season (April to October). The sunset cruise offers the opportunity to observe the wide variety of bird life and take in the glorious colors of the outback sunset.
Outback Aussie Tours - Drover's Sunset Cruise. Thompson River Cruise. Summer - November to March. Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Cruise and light refreshments served. Winter - April to October. 6 days a week, doesn't run Tuesday. Cruise, light refreshment and two course dinner. Transfers from accommodation. Summer - $75, Winter $99.
Outback Pioneers Starlight's Cruise Experience. April-October season only. Monday-Saturday evening. Light refreshments and stockman's campfire dinner and entertainment. Transfers from accommodation. $99.
Other tours include:
Outback Pioneers Cobb & Co Stagecoach Experience. Visitor season only. Includes stagecoach ride on old mail route and Harry Redford Old Time Tent Show. $99
Outback Pioneers Nogo Station Experience. Visitor season only. Includes sheep shearing, station safari and morning tea. $99
- Kinnon & Co's The Station Store (The Station Store), 26 Eagle Street, Longreach 4730, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5.00pm, Saturday 9am – 12.00pm. The Station Store is the heritage heart of Longreach. It’s an amazing outback emporium you won’t want to miss.
The impressive historic building, which dates back to 1880s, is stocked full of outback products, gifts and souvenirs. Leave time for your Old Time Photo portrait and pop next door for home-baked outback treats at The Welcome Home Café and Tearoom. These adjoining buildings have all the atmosphere of a by-gone era and you’ll find good-old-fashioned service too. The Outback Pioneers Cobb & Co Stagecoach experience leaves from behind the Station Store and the booking office is in the Welcome Home building.
The main street (Eagle St) has a few cafes, takeaways and bakeries, most of which are not open in the evenings. The pubs on Eagle St also offer meals.
Dinner options in visitor season include dinner packages available via the Thompson River Cruise Operators, at the Stockman's Hall of Fame Show and Dinner packages and on occasions dinner packages are available at the Qantas Founders Museum.
- 1 Eagle St Pizza, 135 Eagle St, ☏ . 4PM-9PM except Wed. Decent pizza, friendly owner. $15-$20.
- Happy Valley Chinese, 135 Eagle St (Next to Eagle St Pizza), ☏ .
Several pubs offer drink and accommodation, including the Lyceum.
- 1 Albert Park Motor Inn (On the highway at the east edge of town, opposite the airport). Pleasant motel, convenient to the airport, Qantas museum and Stockman's Hall of Fame. $120.
- 2 Abajaz Motor Inn.
- 3 Jumbuck Motel (near the Albert Park).
- 4 Longreach Motel, Eagle St. Right in the middle of town!
- 5 Apex Riverside Park (Bush Camping), Off Landsborough Highway near Thompson River, ☏ . Popular self-sufficient camp site during the on-season. No Power, Potable Water or Showers. Toilets on site. Very busy over Easter Weekend. Fee Payable at Longreach Visitor Information Centre. $3 / night.
- 6 Longreach Tourist Park, 12 Thrush Road, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Villas, Cabins, Caravan and Camp Sites and Backpacker style accommodation options
- 7 Longreach Motor Inn, 84 Galah Street, ☏ .
- 8 Saltbush Retreat, 63 Ilfracombe Road. Self Contained Cabins. Pool, Enquire for Airport Pickup available. Walking distance to Qantas Founders' Museum and Stockmans Hall of Fame. $125+.
Telstra and Optus have mobile reception in town but not Vodafone.
Winton is the next town on the highway (and quite a pleasant little town with a few attractions), about 2 hours' drive northwest.