Rail sale a big boost for outback tourism
The Queensland Government’s ‘2FOR1’ ticket special on the Spirit of the Outback has driven a 48 percent increase in patronage with record numbers of tourists and visitors travelling to Western Queensland up from the previous year.
Minister for Transport Stirling Hinchliffe said the Queensland Government launched the rail special in November last year to boost regional tourism and the local economy in the off-peak tourism season.
“More than 3,700 people took advantage of the deal to explore outback Queensland from November to March, an increase from approximately 2,500 the year before,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“With the ongoing drought across Western Queensland, people in the outback are doing it tough and it is vital we do all we can to help boost the economy.
“Every one of these visitors created a benefit for local businesses providing tourism experiences, accommodation, entertainment or refreshment as they explore the outback.”
Mr Hinchliffe said the outback offered the quintessential Aussie experience, giving an insight into the history of our sunburnt country and how our nation and spirit were formed.
“Given the success of the sale Queensland Rail are looking to make it a regular event and plan to work with local suppliers and councils to promote the sale again later this year,” he said.
“This sale directly supports the Queensland Premier’s launch of the new Outback Queensland marketing campaign mid last year, Live Australia’s Story, aimed at driving tourism within regional Queensland.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to keeping Queenslanders connected and continually supporting local tourism by bringing both domestic and international visitors to the regions.
“Providing savings of up to 50 percent, people who are interested in seeing the unique Aussie outback in the comfort of an air-conditioned train carriage should keep the Spirit of the Outback in mind for their next summer adventure.”
Mr Hinchliffe said The Spirit of the Outback had a an authentic Aussie outback themed lounge carriage known as the ‘Shearers Rest’ in addition to the Tuckerbox restaurant carriage.
“The Spirit of the Outback travels between Brisbane and Longreach twice weekly, stopping in the heritage towns of Blackwater, Emerald and Barcaldine before arriving in the heart of the Queensland Outback – Longreach,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“There are terrific opportunities along the way, like taking in Blackwater’s rich mining heritage or visiting the beautiful Blackdown Tablelands, seeing the Tree of Knowledge and Australian Workers’ Heritage Museum at Barcaldine, or trying your hand at fossicking in the gemfields.
“Once in Longreach, there are plenty of ways to continue the Aussie outback adventure, such as a sunset river cruise, exploring the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame or reliving aviation history at the Qantas Founders Museum.
“Longreach is also only a coach trip away from Winton, where you can walk in the ancient footsteps of dinosaurs at Lark Quarry, or fossick for opals at Opalton.”