The thousand-plus-kilometre haul from the coast to Queensland’s remote southwestern corner dumps you tired and dusty on the South Australian border, with some exciting routes down the Birdsville and Strzelecki tracks or through the hostile red barrier of the Simpson Desert beyond. There are two ultimate targets: the outpost of Birdsville, with its annual horseraces, and the Dig Tree at Nappa Merrie on Cooper Creek, monument to the Burke and Wills tragedy. After crossing the fertile disc of the Darling Downs, the country withers and dries, marooning communities in isolation and hardship. Detour north through Queensland’s Central Highlands however, and you’ll find forested gorges and the Aboriginal sites at Carnarvon National Park – worth the journey alone.

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