Mount Isa QLD

About Mt Isa

Mount Isa is the largest township in western Queensland. It is a mining town with an air of self-confidence and vibrancy. Mining is the town’s raison d’etre and though it dominates the skyline and the local economy, Mount Isa does not feel like a just another outback mining town. It is a centre with quality accommodation, good restaurants, and enough activities to keep even the most enthusiastic visitor busy for a week.

Mount Isa proudly claims to be the largest city in the world. The argument is that the city extends for 43,188 square kilometres, and that the road from Mount Isa to Camooweal, a distance of 189 km, is the longest city road in the world. The attractions in the area are genuinely unusual: it is still possible to go on an underground mining tour; to visit an Underground Hospital created during World War II; to see what Mining/Company Town accommodation was like in the 1930s; and to visit the remarkable Lawn Hill National Park (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

Mt Isa Caravan Park

We pulled into the Argylla Caravan Park, which is just outside of town (maplink) for a couple of nights. A pretty basic looking park with not many people staying but it was comfortable.

Around Mt Isa

Took a look around Mt Isa and ended up at the town lookout with views over this mega mining town. The water tank on top of the hill has some fantastic artwork, painted by David Houghton in 2019. The views are pretty standard with the mine taking up a large amount of the vista to the west. The lookout has heaps of whistling kites flying around on the thermals which is pretty spectacular as they dive down onto unsuspecting things like chips left by messy tourists and the pigeons trying to eat those chips.

Mt Isa Boulders

While in Mount Isa we paid the local tourist information centre a visit to check out what sites or tours may be of interest. While chatting to the lady I asked about this stunning outback painting on the wall of big red boulders (a bit like the Devil’s Marbles in NT). She told us about the Sybella Granite Mine, where the boulders are located and gave us directions (route map)…

Directions – Take the Boulia – Mt Isa Hwy out past the mine; when you get to the power-station sign travel another 11km until you see the 100km/hr sign. The entrance gate to the boulders should be on your right. Go through the gates and start exploring (don’t forget to close the gates!)

Off we went exploring away and the whole area is pretty spectacular.

Riversleigh Fossil Discovery Tour

One of the “must do’s” while in Mount Isa is to take the Riversleigh Fossil Discovery Tour located in the Tourist Information Center (AKA Outback Isa).

The centre was only 5 weeks old and really well set-up for us to gain an understanding about fossils found in the Riversleigh World Heritage area, some 277 kms from where we were (maplink).

Our guide, Allan, was an absolute wealth of knowledge; having fossicked and worked on fossil reclamation for over 50 years. Allan’s total passion for the topic made this an absolutely fantastic experience.

We looked through periscopes to view the tiniest fossil remnants which had been reclaimed from their rocky prison using chemicals and a lot of patience.

Lake Moondarra

We joined our neighbours, Rene & Sylvia and Ron & Di, from the Argylla Caravan Park and travelled out to experience the sunset at Lake Moondarra, about 17kms out of town (maplink).

This is a beautiful location with a large number of wild peacocks strolling around the lawns of the barby area. We took a look around the dam wall and it’s surrounds. The peacocks were very tame, even trying to pinch our chips.

We settled in for a few quiet drinks as the sun set over the lake. It was one of those monumental sunsets, enjoyed with new found friends. We stayed for an hour after the sun had set as the twilight was stunning.

Summing up…

  • Accommodation Argylla Caravan Park was probably the worst park we’d stayed in so far
    • Cost per night$38.70 (@ 21-Aug-2020)
    • FacilitiesNot the best
    • CP LocationOut of town by about 3 kms. Would definitely look for an alternative next time (maplink)
    • Our rating/score5/10
  • Was it a nice town to visit?Not too bad
    • Activities & places of interest We were surprised that the was not all that much to do here except mine related tours etc
    • Tourist info centre?19 Marian St, The Gap (website)
    • Would we return?Probably not – been there & done that
    • Overall Score6/10
  • SummaryWe went to Mt Isa as we thought we would probably not get the chance again. It was pretty disappointing. We did enjoy the boulders and Lake Moondarra plus making some new friends.

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