From amazing outback sunset to famous Captain Starlight
Longreach is well-known as the 'heart of Queensland and the Outback'. It is not only because it located smack bang to the middle of the state but because the friendly locals have earned this reputation. The main industry in Longreach is cattle and sheep production, but because of the long term drought, some locals turn to tourism instead and aim to bring out Longreach's hidden beauty and history for others to enjoy.
One of them is the Kinnon family, who have a long history in the Longreach cattle industry, having lived the outback life of graziers for decades with cattle stations near Longreach. In 2006, they founded Kinnon & Co to diversify and support their outback life through the drought. They share the local heritage and lifestyle with visitors by providing a variety of tours and events with Queensland's outback pioneers as their main theme.
Nothing will beat The Kinnon & Co Thomson River Cruise to experience adventure in the heart of outback tradition and legend. Cruise the Thomson River on a traditional paddle wheeler and enjoy the sunset with a 360-degree view from the top deck.
For your convenience, a bus will pick you up from your accommodation and drive you to the bank of Thomson River. The adventure will start in the bus as the driver – one of the Kinnon's boys – reveals Longreach's history till now in a very amusing way.
When you arrive at the riverbank, another member of the Kinnon family will greet you. After a safety speech about do's and don'ts while on the paddle wheeler, you will come on board. You can just sit and relax, enjoying the view while listening to one of the Kinnon's continue to unravel quirky facts about Longreach. You will be served a shared platter of nibbles and can bring BYO or buy soft drinks onboard.
As the paddle wheeler gentle cruises along the waterway, you 'll witness the stunning outback sunset as the colours change from warm pinks and blues to deep golden hues. If you are lucky, you can see the green turtles along the river or curious kangaroos staring at you from the side of the river. Following the cruise, you'll dock at Smithy's Outback Dinner & Show and enjoy a stockman's style campfire dinner, hearty beef stew and homemade dessert. While enjoying your dinner under the stars, you will be entertained by bush entertainment and listen to some hilarious bush poetry by a local outback storyteller.
The night hasn't ended yet as the outdoor cinema – with a big screen by the river - will present the story of the famous stockman and renowned cattle thief Harry Redford — better known as Captain Starlight. When it finishes, a fresh-baked damper spread with 'Cocky's Joy' (golden syrup to city slickers) and billy tea will be ready for you as you gather around the campfire.
After the bus takes you back to your accommodation, your adventure won't finish yet as this unique experience with a big welcome heart from the Kinnon family will stay forever with you. Big landscapes, quirky humour, inspiring history and stories are parts of iconic Longreach revealed by Thomson River Cruise.