Take a step back in time in the Maranoa region

maranoa region

In August this year, the Maranoa region in Outback Queensland will host one of the most extraordinary recreations of our colonial past: the last journey of a Cobb & Co mail coach.


And you can be part of the action.


Cobb & Co Store Museum Coach. Image: Tourism and Events Qld.



A historic experience

When you watch or read a great historical film or book that accurately captures another time and place, it can feel as though you are quite literally stepping back through time. Visuals and descriptions of how the world once was seem real – the people in that world brought to life before your eyes so that you can understand a piece of history that brought us to where we are today.

When it comes to the history of Cobb & Co in Australia, and in particular its colourful past in Outback Queensland, you don’t need a film or a book: you can actually be part of the historical action and see events from the past unfold before your eyes.

In August this year, in the Maranoa, you can relive and retrace the final journey of a Cobb & Co Coach on the 100th anniversary of its last service, delivering mail by horse-drawn coach to the towns of Surat and Yuleba and the properties in between.

The coach, pulled by a team of five horses, will collect the mail from Surat Post Office, with passengers and outriders joining the procession from Surat’s Cobb & Co Changing Station and travelling 76 kilometres on the Cobb & Co Way over two days. The coach will stop at changing stations along the route and camp overnight under the stars, finishing with the delivery of the mail to Yuleba Post Office. To add further colour and a true sense of the country as it was back then in 1924, bushrangers and other folk will be part of the experience.

To celebrate the centenary, the festival will begin with the Cobb & Co Long Table Dinner, and then roll on with festival events including bullock wagons, a horse art exhibition, markets, coach rides, and an open-air concert!


The Big Rig takes you on a journey through oil and gas mining history in Queensland. Image: Tourism & Events Qld.


More to explore in Roma

Whether you’re drawn to the rich history of bustling Roma, the natural beauty of Injune, or the cultural heritage of Surat, there’s no shortage of authentic outback experiences to be had in the Maranoa Region.

Start your journey in Roma, the heart of the Maranoa, where you’ll find a captivating mix of history, culture and adventure. Head to the Big Rig Oil and Gas Interpretive Display, which tells the fascinating story of Australia’s oil and gas pioneers. Don’t miss the Night Show Sunset Experience, offering a glimpse into the hardships and triumphs of exploration.

For a taste of Roma’s natural beauty, explore the Roma Bush Gardens and embark on the two-kilometre Hospital Hill Heritage Walk, where you’ll learn more about the town’s rich history. Then take a stroll along the Avenue of Heroes and marvel at the iconic bottle trees that were planted as a tribute to fallen soldiers from World War I.

Roma has a proud history of beef production going back well over 150 years, and today it is home to Australia’s largest saleyards. On Tuesdays, join the unusual and fascinating tour of the Roma Saleyards in action – it’s a sight to behold!

Roma is also home to fabulous events throughout the year, including the annual Picnic Races in March, Easter in the Country festival and the Roma Cup in November.


The Maranoa River at sunset. Image: Tourism and Events Qld.

Small town magic

Outback Queensland might be the last place you’d expect to find Australia’s ‘Green Canyon’, but the Maranoa region is full of surprises. Venture north of Roma to the nature lover’s paradise of Injune: a town that offers the perfect springboard to explore Carnarvon Gorge and beyond. At 30 kilometres in length and 600 metres deep, the breathtaking gorge attracts upwards of 70,000 visitors a year. The towering white sandstone cliffs are home to ancient cycads and fan palms, 173 species of bird and a host of native fauna, and feature more than 2,000 examples of Aboriginal rock art.

You can also immerse yourself in the ancient landscapes of Mount Moffatt, or embark on a journey to see the untouched beauty of Nuga Nuga National Park. If you have a 4WD, make sure to explore the Lonesome and Beilba sections of Expedition National Park for more spectacular views.

South of Roma lies Surat: a picturesque river town steeped in history and culture. History buffs will enjoy visiting the Cobb & Co Changing Station, the original site of the Cobb & Co Store and a ‘drop-off’ point for coach travellers and goods, which has a museum with a replica 14-seater Cobb & Co stage coach. The complex also houses the Surat on Balonne Gallery and the Window to the Balonne Aquarium – a 25,000-litre freshwater aquarium displaying a range of native fish species. While in town check out the Aboriginal Interpretative Shelter, which displays histories of Aboriginal families who lived in the area in the mid 1900s.

Surat is also a top destination for avid anglers looking to wet a line in the Balonne River, and you can witness the beauty of Beranga Creek’s waterlilies from December to May. Don’t miss the Surat Diggers’ Races in September, a celebration of horsemanship and tradition.

Journey east of Roma to Wallumbilla and Yuleba on the Warrego Way for even more amazing Australian history. Visit the Calico Cottage Heritage Centre in Wallumbilla, which offers interesting interpretative displays, historic memorabilia and photographs of the town’s early days. Stop in at Judds Lagoon near Yuleba, a tranquil oasis perfect for fishing and birdwatching , or venture to Old Yuleba to uncover the town’s storied past.

West of Roma lies Mitchell – named for famous Scottish explorer Major Mitchell – which is home to the renowned Great Artesian Spa. Relax and rejuvenate in the healing mineral waters before exploring the Mitchell on Maranoa Art Gallery, which showcases the region’s vibrant arts scene.

The Booringa Heritage Museum is packed full of information about the local area’s chequered past, historical items and old photographs. You can visit Major Mitchell’s Campsite, established in 1846 on his fourth expedition to map an overland route from Sydney to Darwin, and see Kenniff Court House, where local bushrangers the Kenniff Brothers were committed to stand trial in 1902.

Visit romarevealed.com.au.


Visit the Maranoa region

Rex flies to Roma. Book your flights here and check out the route map below.

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