The ultimate Buckle List for Road to Rodeo Longreach has just dropped, so grab your boots and hat, it’s time to country!
Boots, belts, buckles, a sense of adventure and a love of country are at the start of the Road to Rodeo Longreach MUST DO list (we call this the Buckle List, obvs).
Building on the dual legends of rodeo and Outback Queensland, the Longreach Showgrounds and Rodeo Arena will host Road to Rodeo on Saturday April 30 and Sunday May 1 this year. Featuring a full rodeo competition, the Rodeo Rock concert on Saturday evening with a knock-out music line-up, food & wine, low ‘n’ slow BBQ, Brown Brother’s Proseccos Paddock (wine tasting), markets and sideshow alley, competitor meet & greets, cooking demonstrations, bush poetry and more, this outback festival is perfectly at home in Longreach, a proud rodeo-loving region.
The home of stockmen, shearers, sunsets and big blue skies, Longreach is the heart of the Queensland Outback, so regardless of if you are a rodeo rookie or veteran, if you are visiting for the inaugural Road to Rodeo weekend, here’s your official Bucket Buckle List.
The 2022 Road to Rodeo Longreach BUCKLE LIST
First, Be Rodeo Ready!
To really soak up the atmosphere of rodeo you need to immerse yourself – you’ll need jeans and boots, a wide-brimmed hat and a belt with a buckle (buckles are the universal rodeo callsign!). Be prepared to get dusty, and hoarse from cheering and saying g’day.
Know your Country!
Experiencing rodeo means country music! To prepare, you’ll need to listen to the current kings of Australian country music, The Wolfe Brothers as well as Bella Mackenzie, Luke Geiger & Bareback and James Johnston because they are all performing LIVE!!! Learn a little boot scootin, and you’ll have a ball!
Visit the Stockman’s Hall of Fame
Once in Longreach an absolute must-visit is The Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre. Delve into over 40,000 years of Aboriginal history (Longreach is on Iningai, Malintji and Kuunkari country), learn how stockmen became legends, hear stories of cattle barons and flying doctors, of rodeo men and women, and watch the live show. Try your hand at whip cracking and check out the entranceway, nicknamed “the Opera House of the outback”.
Where Qantas calls home – visit the Qantas Founders Museum
The flying Kangaroo calls Longreach home, and this museum is another must-do. There’s interactive aircraft exhibits, a flight simulator and decommissioned aircraft where you can walk along the wing, visit the cockpit and stand inside the engines. Pretty cool! https://qfom.com.au/
Sunset on the Thomson River
Sunsets over the mighty Thomson River are special. FYI, the town is named after the “long reach” of the river, and it sits bang on the Tropic of Capricorn! Back to sunsets …. the award-winning Drover’s Sunset Cruise and Smithy’s Outback Dinner & Show lets you soak up every bit of sunset, while hearing about the river, its wildlife and indigenous connections. As the colours fade into starlight, dock at Smithy’s Outback Dinner & Show, for table-service dining featuring camp-oven modern cuisine, and live entertainment by the most Aussie of performers. Or join Outback Pioneers for their Starlight’s Cruise Experience, a four-hour cruise down the river on a historic paddle-wheeler, stockman’s campfire dinner and entertainment.
Sunset on a working station
The fifth generation 80,000-acre sheep and cattle property Camden Park Station offers amazing moments. Visits through Outback Aussie Tours include a famous outback sunset, sips & nibbles, the Tropic of Capricorn, the original shearing shed and the oldest private ballroom in the Outback to name a few highlights. Oh, the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have all ticked this off their bucket buckle list as well!!
Visit the world’s biggest classroom
Longreach is home to the world’s biggest classroom – the Longreach School of Distance Education which connects students and teachers from across the outback. It’s school, but not as you know it.
Ride a Cobb & Co Stagecoach
Get your heart well and truly racing going full-tilt in a restored Cobb & Co stagecoach, on the original mail route from Longreach to Windorah. It’s the only stagecoach gallop in Australia – a 45-minute full speed dash through the bush pulled by five horses, on a bumpy but unforgettable ride with Outback Pioneers.
Brekkie from Merino Bakery
With a population of 3,000 but home to over a million sheep, it makes sense that the most famous bakery in Longreach has a roast lamb with caramelised onion pie as the special! Sauce isn’t needed! Enjoy!
Dinner at Harrys, Lunch at The Welcome Home
Upstairs on Galah Street (yes, really) there’s a bar and restaurant named after local legend Harry Redford, also known as the bushranger, Captain Starlight. You’ll be welcomed by linen clothed tables and menus starring fresh seasonal produce, and a wine list to match. For lunch hit up The Welcome Home at 126 Eagle Street, owned by the McKinnon family who’ve turned their farming business into a tourism one in response to the drought. There’s also The Branch, a café in the old bank, and Kynda Café and Boutique, both on Eagle Street and run by young Longreachers. For more on where to eat, see experiencelongreach.com.au/eating-out/cafes/
Bon appetite! https://www.harrysrestaurantlongreach.com.au/
Retail Therapy at The Station Store
Welcome to an amazing outback emporium. The Station Store run by the Kinnons, is based on the traditional outback store that sold everything pioneering families needed. Today’s version has outback clothing, hats, boots, leatherware, local crafts, toys, books, hardwares, haberdashery and more.
Speaking of the Bushranger Captain Starlight (one of Australia’s most famous cattle thieves), a visit to his lookout 55km north-west of Longreach is worth it. This majestic rock formation can be hiked in 20 minutes to a brilliant view – watch sunset from here and you’ll know why they call it Big Sky Country.
Given Longreach is the spiritual home of Qantas, it makes sense to fly into Longreach on QantasLink, or you can board the Spirit of the Outback, Queensland Rail’s bi-weekly service into town. For roadtrippers, get your playlists ready for a journey that promises plenty of photo ops with red dirt and tufts of spinifex. Longreach is 1200km from Brisbane, and 700km from Rockhampton, Townsville and Mount Isa.
ROAD TO RODEO LONGREACH – An Isa Rodeo Event Experience
Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May, 2022
Longreach Showgrounds and Rodeo Arena
Tickets, accommodation packages and travel itineraries: all at isarodeo.com.au
The event is supported by the Queensland Government, via Tourism and Events Queensland