Birdsville’s location in the Corner Country where Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory meet is undoubtedly remote. To the south lie the infinite gibber plains of Sturt’s Stony Desert. Travel west, and it’s the red rolling dunes of the colossal Simpson Desert. To the north, you’ll find the alluvial floodplains of the rich Channel Country. And east? Well, it’s a 1600km journey from Brisbane. But it’s a journey that’s well worth it.
This ultra-small town of just over 100 people is home to two mammoth events; the Birdsville Races and Big Red Bash, when the population swells to around 8,000. In quieter moments, the iconic Birdsville Hotel provides a welcoming cool drink and some friendly banter with the ever-welcoming locals. You can take a dip in the Birdsville Billabong, watch an epic sunset over the Big Red sand dune, and follow the trail of ill-fated Burke and Wills. This is one wild west town you don’t want to miss.
You should plan to visit Birdsville during the cooler months from May to September. It is possible to visit during summer; however, it’s not for the faint-hearted. Birdsville is one of the hottest places in Outback Australia, often reaching temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius. In winter, you’ll find perfect blue sky days and temperatures of around 20-25C. Nights can fall to below 0C so remember to pack plenty of warm clothes.
The famous Birdsville Races are held each September. This is serious racing with a 13-race program, offering over $260,000 in prize money and all of the glamour of a racing carnival. Racing enthusiasts, international horses and those just looking to experience the fanfare flock to this unique meet in a desert landscape.
The Big Red Bash is held each July. This is the most remote music festival in the world and attracts crowds of up to 10,000, with headliners including Jimmy Barnes and Midnight Oil. Those choosing to make the trek to Birdsville for either event find accommodation in a temporary tent city.
Throughout the rest of the year, Birdsville has three accommodation choices; the Birdsville Lodge, Tourist Park, or the famous hotel. They’re all within cooee of each other and have options to suit all budgets whether you’re looking for a campsite, cabin, self-catering, or motel.
Most people travel to Birdsville via road; however, flights are available from Brisbane. And part of the adventure of Birdsville is in getting there. Those keen on driving will need to be thoroughly prepared. Travelling by car in remote Outback Queensland requires careful planning beyond checking road conditions, watching for wildlife, and taking enough food and water for the journey. You’ll need a UHF Radio (and know how to use it) as mobile coverage is limited. You should travel by 4WD or AWD and carry an extra spare tyre. If this is all sounding too hard, then catch a tour heading to Birdsville. Our Longreach, Winton and Birdsville Bonanza tour not only takes in all of the best sights, but we do all the preparation and have your safety covered.
Despite being in the middle of the outback, you might be surprised to hear that there is a natural billabong situated on the outskirts of Birdsville. Locals and visitors can often be found there fishing, paddling, and kayaking.
The closest town to Birdsville is Bedourie, which is about 200 km southeast. Bedourie is a small town in the Diamantina Shire, and it is situated on a sand dune on the edge of the Simpson Desert. It's a popular stopover for travellers heading to Birdsville and is known for its hot springs, historic sites, and Aboriginal cultural tours.
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