Outback Travel News, 7 December 2012

On this week’s news update, we take you to Kilcowera Station in south-western Queensland, a fossil crocodile exhibition, share an important announcement about Simpson Desert travel, and tell you everything you ever wanted to know about swags.


In this week’s news update:
00:31 – We take you to Kilcowera Station in south-west Queensland
02:58 – Lost Crocs of Central Australia Exhibition
03:46 – Simpson Desert Summer Closure
04:18 – Everything you ever wanted to know about swags

Feature Destination: Kilcowera Station

Kilcowera Station, a 120,000ha cattle property, located in the outback of south-west Queensland. Kilcowera has become a popular destination for birdwatchers, botanists, nature-lovers and families because it offers both pristine natural bush and a taste of life on a real working cattle station.

There’s a diverse range of things to see and do on Kilcowera: birdwatching and photography, lots of wildlife, pristine waterholes to swim in, camping under the stars and off road driving adventures.

You’ve got two choices for accommodation at Kilcowera: staying in the refurbished shearer’s quarters or camping. The shearer’s quarters cater for upto 17 people, and offer a range of double, queen and family rooms.

There’s camping with powered and non-powered sites at the shearer’s quarters as well, or you can experience the very best in bush camping at several sites, including the beautiful Cardenyabba Lagoon. Dogs are welcome at the shearer’s quarters, too.

Where is Kilcowera?

The station is located 1200km south-west of Brisbane. It takes most people 2 days drive from Brisbane, via Towoomba, Dalby, St George and Thargomindah.

Kilcowera is about 90 km or one hours drive from Thargomindah on the Dowling Track. No 4WD is needed to reach Kilcowera, however some of the off road tracks do require a high clearance vehicle.

It’s a great base for exploring this area in outback Queensland, with easy access to places like Currawinya National Park, Hungerford, Thargomindah, Bindegolly National Park and the Yowah opal fields.

Kilcowera is officially open to from March through to October, and by appointment at other times.

Give Toni a call – she’d love to hear from you!

More information:



Lost Crocs of Central Australia Exhibition

A new exhibition that the kids will love starts today, December7, at the Museum of Central in Alice Springs. The ‘Lost Crocs of Central Australia’ features fossils and interpretive displays of the massive prehistoric reptiles which lived in what we now know as the centre of the outback – the area around Alice Springs.

This is first time that most of the fossils in the exhibition  have gone on public display, so if you’re visiting Alice Springs, I recommend stopping by to see rare event.

The exhibition opens this evening at 5.30pm, 7 December 2012 and runs through into July next year.

The Museum of Central Australia is located within the Araluen Cultural Precinct on Larapinta Drive, Alice Springs and is open:

  • Mon – Fri 10:00 – 4:00
  • Sat & Sun 11:00 – 4:00.

Announcement: Simpson Desert Summer Closure

This week, the annual closure to the Simpson Desert in both Queensland and South Australia has begun.

The closure occurs every year from the 1 December through to the 15 March. Parks authorities in both states undertake this closure due to the extreme temperatures which occur in the desert over summer. In years gone by, people have perished in the desert during this time of year.

For more information visit the Parks SA website:


Swags: Everything You EVER Wanted to Know

Most people associate swags with Australia, camping and the outback.

The swag is one of those iconic pieces of Australian gear, and was a word originally used to describe the bedrolls carried by shearers, miners and drovers in the nineteenth century. These original swags were often just rolled up blankets, sheets and even hessian, and were carried on the back or on a horse (if you were lucky enough to own a horse!) as people travelled around.

Today’s swags are much more robust and heavier – in fact, there’s no way you’d be carrying most swags on your back!

Most swags are made from heavy-duty, water resistant canvas, have a foam mattress inside of them, and roll up for transport.

Why are swags loved by so many outback travellers?

Quite simply: they’re comfortable to sleep in.

The sturdy foam mattress means you’re sleeping on something similar to a bed. They’re more comfortable to sleep in than most kinds of camp stretchers or thin camping mats, and they’re really easy to set up. You just undo the straps, and there’s your bed for the night.

The other reason that people rave about them is that a swag is perfect for sleeping outside, under the stars. Sleeping under the stars in a swag is the ultimate outback experience – right up there with watching the sunset on Uluru.

And of course, if you’re worried about creepy-crawlies, or just don’t like the idea of sleeping on the ground, then you can put your swag inside a tent or do what we do: use a pop up mosquito dome.

Some of the disadvantages of swags:

They are big and bulky. They take up a lot of room in your car, which is why many people strap them on to roof racks. They’re also a bit of a pain if you’re flying interstate, and need to haul them around on public transport.

Then there’s the fact that some people don’t like the idea of sleeping on the ground, or just can’t get down and up off the ground as easily as they used to. A swag is not the best option if you’re less mobile, and you may need to look at a camper trailer or alternative accommodation.

Swags come in a range of sizes: from those which you can fit on the back of a motorbike, right up to king size double swags. Most of the time, we use either our single swags or our double swag when we’re camping.

Swags can be bought at most camping or outdoor shops, and prices generally start around $200.

If you’re in Alice Springs, we recommend Centre Canvas, who manufacture swags on the premises, and are considerably cheaper then most other commercial outlets.

This is an honest-to-goodness recommendation. We really do get our swags from here.

Centre Canvas: 9 Smith Street Alice Springs. ph  (08) 8952 2453

Sleeping outside under the stars in a swag is an experience that we think everyone visiting the outback should do at least once.


  • Bridget May says:


    you have incorrect opening times for the museum of central Australia.
    Mon – Fri 10:00 – 4:00
    Sat & Sun 11:00 – 4:00

    other than that, thanks for posting it us!

  • Margaret McKay says:

    Wish we were young and able like we used to be, we would certainly give it a go. Maybe one of these days, very much doubt that.

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