A big, bustling mining town in Queensland’s rough-and-ready far north-west, Mount Isa boasts one of the largest silver, lead and copper mines in the world. While its location places it squarely in the Queensland Outback, the Isa is a large, modern city which provides all the creature comforts required by long-distance travellers for forays into the bush. There’s just so much Outback adventuring to do using Mount Isa as your base… chartering a barramundi fishing flight to the remote Mornington Island, or Sweers Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria… visiting the abandoned mines at Kajabbi and tranquil Lake Julius about 100km to the north of town… tackling the unsealed roads to Lawn Hill National Park, 400km north-west of Mt Isa, a unique oasis in the tough Queensland Outback. While you’re out and about, don’t miss the road from Cloncurry to Mt Isa, hilly and attractive, lined with some of the oldest exposed hills in the world.
In between excursions, you can fill in your time round town by taking in the likes of the Tent House, the Outback in Isa, which includes dinosaur fossils, an underground mine tour and a tranquil lake, perfect for picnics, the John Middlin Mining Centre with its simulated mine shaft, the Royal Flying Doctor Base, the School of the Air, Kalkadoon Tribal Centre or take in the city sights from the Hilary Street Lookout. Not far out of town, Lake Moondarra makes a picturesque place for a picnic.
Mount Isa is Queensland’s largest provincial city west of the Great Dividing Range. The population of 22,000 consists of more than fifty different nationalities living together.
Visitors get a pleasant surprise at the vivid contrast between the rugged red of Selwyn Ranges of the Outback and the modern city facilities of Mount Isa, which is an inland oasis.
Today Mount Isa Mines Ltd is one of the most highly mechanised and cost efficient mines in the world. It’s the world’s biggest single producer of silver and lead and is amongst the world’s top ten for copper and zinc. It is also one of the few areas in the world where the four minerals are found in close proximity. As Australia’s largest underground mine, it has a daily output of around 35 000 tonnes of ore. The underground workings extend approximately 4.5 km in length and 1.3 km in width.