Affectionately known as the ‘oasis of the outback’, Mount Isa is a gleaming mirage on the horizon for travellers from all directions. Nestled among the ochre-red Selwyn Ranges, on the banks of the Leichhardt River, Mount Isa is a bustling melting pot of culture and industry and also home to the world’s third largest rodeo.
It’s grown from strength to strength over the years but the harsh picturesque landscape has barely changed, becoming one of the main draw-cards for visitors each year. Mount Isa has ample places to fish, camp or relax and enjoy an outback sunset. The rugged terrain is a four-wheel-driver’s haven, and visitors can explore the region just as the pioneers of the region did many years ago. The twin jewels in Mount Isa’s crown are the spectacular Lawn Hill Gorge in Boodjamulla National Park and its neighbour, the world heritage listed Riversleigh Fossil Fields.
A must see is the Outback at Isa complex, incorporating the award winning Riversleigh Fossil Centre, Hard Times Mine, Sir James Foots Building, Outback Park and Visitor Information Centre. The Hard Times Mine is a working replica mine designed and operated by actual miners where you can gain an insight into the industry integral to Mount Isa’s economy. Mount Isa’s existence and its main financial base is the huge Mount Isa Mine, the world’s largest single producer of copper, silver, lead and zinc. In 1923, John Campbell Miles found a silver-lead ore outcrop. This rich deposit is still producing high volumes of ore and is classed as one of the world’s great mines.
Other attractions are the School of the Air, which provides an education to students on remote properties as far as 1000 kilometres away via satellite internet. Mount Isa is also home to one of Queensland’s largest Royal Flying Doctors bases, the National Trust Tent House, a WW2 Underground Hospital and the Beth Anderson Museum.