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Ilfracombe: An Outback Town Full of History

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Published January 26th 2020
A mile of past power in the old outback
Travelling in outback Queensland, there are many interesting and unique towns to stop at for a few hours or even overnight.

We discovered this town while researching places to stay near Longreach that would save us a few dollars. We found that this is one that caters well for the passing tourist.

It's named after a town in the English county of North Devon, though it is a complete opposite contrast. We recently visited its English namesake, which is located on the coast and is a lush and green area, versus the inland dry and dusty landscape this one is set in due to the drought.

The town has a small community of around 200 residents. Having passed through many with the same population, we weren't expecting there to be much to see or do but got a pleasant surprise.

Our trip was in summer, which is the tourist off-season in this area, and it was only a week before Christmas, so most places we passed through tended to either be closed or they would close earlier due to the heat with tourists and grey nomads being few and far between at this time of year. And this town was no exception.

caravan,van park,ilfracombe,outback,queensland
Ilfracombe caravan park

We stayed in a cabin at the Ilfracombe Caravan Park, which was clean and comfortable with ample space for us to relax. It had lots of space for the passing caravaner and two amenities blocks.

During winter, when the grey nomads head north, they have regular entertainment and daily happy hour with meals available. Unfortunately, we didn't get to experience this but will drop in on our next lap of the country.

If you are looking to take a break and stretch your legs, you can take a walk along the 'Machinery Mile'. As the name suggests, it's a mile-long line up old machinery that stretches the length of the town and makes for interesting viewing, with information signs beside them detailing what they were used for during their working life.

Along the mile are several buildings that contain an array of historical items

The local community look after the museums and attractions and have a donation box to help with upkeep.

Near the centre of the main street, you'll find the swimming pool complex which has an artesian spa and full-length swimming pool, which is open from 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm. Cost is $3.80 per adult and $2 per child. The is a great place to relax after a long day travelling. Details can be found on the town's website.

If your travelling with kids, there is a good playground beside the swimming pool complex.

Another local attraction is the Langenbaker House, which is a heritage-listed building that once belonged to Harry Langenbaker, who was an outback teamster. The house was brought there by horse-drawn cart. It may have been in several different locations before ending up in Ilfracombe. Built over 100 years ago, it a great example of the type of buildings used in the late 19th century.

The town also has a pub, post office and mechanic.

So if you are travelling around outback Queensland and looking for a spot to take a short break or an overnighter, you won't go wrong stopping in as Ilfracombe.
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Why? Stop relax and enjoy the outback
When: All year
Phone: (07) 4658 4150
Where: 25 Main Avenue Ilfracombe, Longreach Area Queensland Australia
Cost: Free
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