The progressive city of Mount Isa is the most important
industrial, commercial and administrative centre in outback
Queensland, the second largest state or territory in Australia.
Situated 977 kilometres west of Townsville, Mount Isa is an important
railhead; has an airport with facilities for Jets and is a key road hub
for the extensive system of highways linking Brisbane, Townsville, Alice
Springs and Darwin.
Mount Isa began as a mining town, following the discovery in 1923 of
substantial deposits of lead. It is now one of the world's top
ten producers of copper, silver, lead and zinc. Development has
kept pace as prosperity increased. Apart from mining, the gulf region's
major industry is beef cattle grazing. Beef roads, which service the
northern Gulf properties, converge on Mount Isa which, is also an
important retail service centre for the surrounding pastoral towns and
The city has grown to be a modern, well-appointed centre of 23,000
people. It is a very cosmopolitan place, with 56 different national
origins living and working together in harmony.
Outback at Isa
In August 2003 in the heart of Mount Isa, North West Queensland, Outback at Isa, opened its doors to visitors.
The Tourism Centre provides an array of exciting tours, activities, and attractions.
The construction of Outback at Isa, and in particular the Hard Times Mine was prompted by the closure of
the Mount Isa Mines (MIM) underground tour in 2002. Visitors were still
seeking an underground experience to know more about the
history of Mount Isa. Outback at Isa and Hard Times Mine was the vision
of the former Mayor of Mount Isa City Council (MICC) Ron McCullough, and
his Council. The Queensland Heritage Trails Network program with
Queensland and Commonwealth Government funding, partnered with MICC and
numerous generous corporate sponsors to fund the project and to proceed
and after considerable toil and effort on the part of an
army of volunteers, contractors, businesses and all tiers of government
the project was completed. Outback at Isa began offering the Hard Times
Mine underground ours in March 2004.
Participants in the Underground Mine Tour go deep into mining
country and experience a day in the life of the famous Mount Isa miners.
Real miners guide visitors through 1.2 kilometres of tunnels, the history
of Mount Isa mining, and the unique experiences in the mine - visitors
get a buzz out of having a go at operating the air-leg drill, hearing the
roar of the machinery, and feeling the earth move with
the firing of the drill face. In addition, visitors see, hear and feel
the heritage of Mount Isa come to life in the interactive multimedia Isa Experience Gallery and learn more about
the indigenous, pioneering and mining history as told by
those who have helped create it.
Outback at Isa also introduced an expanded and reinvigorated Riversleigh Fossil Centre. Since 1995, the
Riversleigh Fossil Centre had been providing a must-see experience to
visitors to Mount Isa with its interpretation of, and fossil exhibits
World Heritage-listed Riversleigh Fossil Fields some hours north of
Stories and images of flesh-eating kangaroos, giant carnivorous emus, two
metre tall wombats, and marsupial lions astound visitors to the
Riversleigh Fossil Centre. Tours are available through the Centre's
laboratory to learn more about these extraordinary creatures and their
fossilised bones now being released from limestone rocks in vats of acid
in the laboratory.
The Outback Park features plants endemic to the
region with the centrepiece of the Park and entices visitors to
enjoy the vistas across the lagoon, complete with large
barramundi, fed by a Lawn Hill inspired waterfall cascading into the
lagoon. Cultural activities are held regularly in the outdoor
Outback at Isa operates the Mount Isa region's accredited Visitor Information Centre (VIC), providing
vital tourism information on Mount Isa and the region in a welcoming and
friendly manner - the VIC has become either first point of call for
visitors arriving from the Northern Territory to explore Queensland or
last point of contact for those leaving Queensland to visit the