Known as 'the oasis of the outback', Mount Isa is a remote metropolis on the banks of the Leichhardt River.
This mining hub is the world’s largest single producer of copper, silver, lead and zinc and home of the Mount Isa Rodeo, the biggest rodeo in the southern hemisphere. It also boasts the title of world's biggest city by land size - and there’s no better place to marvel at the expansive reach of the red terrain than from City Lookout at sunset.
There’s nothing predictable about a visit to ‘The Isa’ - from underground tours and helicopter rides over the towering mine stack to the earth-shaking underground explosions felt through town twice a day, it’s all part of the authentic Aussie outback experience.
A visit to Queensland’s cowboy capital is all about embracing the mining life, celebrating history and appreciating the unique culture of the land. Here are some of the great activities to choose from.
- Swap your Akubra for a hard hat and explore the underground tunnels, machinery and history of local mining with a tour of Hard Times Mine.
- See the fossils extracted from the nearby World Heritage-listed Riversleigh Fossil Field and learn about the prehistoric mammals of the region at Riversleigh Fossil Centre.
- Marvel at the unique landscape on a helicopter joy flight over the mine and the Selwyn Ranges.
- Visit the Mount Isa Underground Hospital, built by off-duty miners during the Second World War.
- Visit Lake Moondarra and spend your day fishing, kayaking and picnicking on the banks.
There’s no place like the outback and this remote Queensland region is a playground of history, adventure and country hospitality.
Whether you’re in to machinery or macchiatos you’ll find plenty of activities to fill your days here.
Spend a day at Outback at Isa and explore the activities and exhibits at Hard Times Mine, Outback Park and Riversleigh Fossil Centre - or visit Mount Isa Underground Hospital and learn about 1930s life at Beth Anderson Museum.
Stay at one of the campgrounds, holiday parks or hotels in town like RedEarth Boutique Hotel which offers balcony rooms and spa suites - but be sure to book early when the rodeo is in town!
For a great meal or drink choose from restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs. Sip coffee at Bambino Espresso, indulge in a country-style pub meal at Rodeo Bar and Grill, or sample multi-cultural cuisine at Abyssinia Cafe and Restaurant.
For a great end to your day, take a drive to the northern edge of town and watch the sun set against the silhouettes of the mine stack from the famous City Lookout.
Hit the road and explore the expanses of rugged terrain, national parks, history and waterways.
You won’t need to drive far to reach Lake Moondarra on the Leichhardt River, only 20km north of Mount Isa. This local favourite is the recreational hub of the region and offers canoeing, boating, water-skiing and fishing. Bring a picnic, catch a barramundi or escape the heat with a swim in the cool, fresh water.
Drive further and explore Boodjamulla National Park, where tropical flowers and palm fronds decorate the photogenic Lawn Hill Creek. Stay at Adels Grove in the campground or one of the furnished tent rooms where guided tours of the region are also available departing the park or Mount Isa.
Within the national park you’ll also find Riversleigh World Heritage Site - the most important known fossil mammal deposit in Australia, and one of the most significant in the world. Here you can follow the Riversleigh Fossil Trail and get close to mammal fossils dating back a staggering 25 million years.
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Mount Isa enjoys a slightly more mild climate than much of the neighbouring region. In the warmer months, temperatures average an overnight low around 23°C. Summer days are typically hot with high humidity and an average high of up to 37°C. Winter temperatures average between 8°C and 27°C and the wet season occurs between December and March when the city experiences 75 percent of their annual rainfall.
From the airport
In and around the city
The best way to explore Mount Isa is by rental car. United Cab Company services the region, with taxi ranks at the Mount Isa Airport and outside Kmart in Atherton Street.
Disclaimer: ^ You must be a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program to earn and redeem Qantas Points. A joining fee may apply. Membership and Qantas Points are subject to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program terms and conditions.
** Prices are per room, per night and vary depending on date of check in, length of stay and room type. Conditions apply.
~ Qantas activities are provided by Viator. Conditions apply.