North-western Queensland’s Ancient Outback Circuit offers a journey in the footsteps of dinosaurs, through dramatically changing landscapes and resilient outback communities.

Story By Ian Cockerill

The landscape has been drawing people to north-western Queensland for generations, all looking to find something – minerals, bore water, rich black soil, dinosaur bones – in the layers of earth beneath their feet.

It’s those same natural treasures, overlaid with the flesh-and-blood stories of local communities, that adventurous two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive travellers are invited to explore on the Ancient Outback Circuit, a 1200-kilometre loop traversing the Great Artesian Basin. Entwined histories and sealed roads link the principal towns along the way – Mount Isa, Cloncurry, Julia Creek, Richmond, Hughenden, Winton and McKinlay – to paint a canvas of rich discoveries, lasting innovation, deep connections … and bog-snorkelling (more on that later). The trip deserves at least a week; much more if any of the events in the region’s cooler, dry season are on the schedule.

This story excerpt is from Issue #106

Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2016