The best road trips from Mount Isa

If you have a day, weekend or more of spare time, then there are some great road trips you can do from Mount Isa. Read on to find out our top recommendations for authentic, outback road trip experiences where you can also have the opportunity to tackle some rugged terrain.

Wee Macgregor Mine and Fountain Springs

Situated in the former mining town of Ballara just 80 kilometres south-east from Mount Isa, the old Wee Macgregor mine site is only accessible via 4WD. It’s a ghost town now but still a great spot for driving and fossicking for gemstones.

If you continue south for about 10 kilometres, Fountain Springs is another great spot that you can reach with a 4WD. As you approach the area, you’ll see the Fountain Range on one side and the volcanic Mount Phillip on the other. The Falls itself has a cool watering hole and there’s plenty of wildlife around.

Punchbowl Waterhole

Punchbowl Waterhole on the Flinders River is a 300-kilometre drive east of Mount Isa and just past Julia Creek. It’s a great spot for swimming, fishing, having a picnic and 4WDs.

Riversleigh Fossil Sites and Lawn Hill Gorge in Boodjamulla National Park

The Riversleigh Fossil Sites are 360 kilometres north of Mount Isa in a World Heritage-listed area of the Boodjamulla National Park and they’re accessible via 4WD. You can find fossils that are more than 25 million years old there. Many have been preserved in limestone to retain their three-dimensional shape.

Lawn Hill Gorge is also in the Boodjamulla National Park and it’s where you can swim in refreshing, emerald-coloured water. It also has designated camping areas for both tents and trailers.


Richmond is about 400 kilometres east of Mount Isa and it’s where you can find giant dinosaur footprints and fossils, as well as the man-made Lake Fred Tritton where you can go swimming, fishing, boating or enjoy a variety of other water sports.


Longreach is an iconic town on the Thomson River, about 640 kilometres south-east of Mount Isa. It’s where you’ll find the Stockman’s Hall of Fame.

Tennant Creek

Tennant Creek is an old gold rush town about 660 kilometres north-west of Mount Isa and across the border in the Northern Territory. It has spectacular sunrises and sunsets, along with abundant wildlife and gold fossicking sites. There are also plenty of 4WD and walking track opportunities available.


Birdsville is a famous town that’s nearly 700 kilometers south of Mount Isa. You’ll need some time if you’re planning a road trip there. You might want to coincide your trip with the iconic events like the Big Red Bash (held in July each year) or the Birdsville Races (held in early September each year).

Other things you can do in Birdsville all-year round include climbing the sand dunes at Munga- Thirri National Park.

Road trips closer to home

If you want some 4WD action closer to home, then your best bets are Telstra Hill and Lake Moondarra.

You have the option of taking a 4WD or hiking up Telstra Hill for great views of Mount Isa and surrounding areas. The ever-popular Lake Moondarra also offers 4WD opportunities, as well as plenty of walking trails, wildlife, lake activities and picnic areas.

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