A welcome tourism boost could soon be on the cards for three small towns lying a little bit off the beaten track in outback western Queensland.
The Barcaldine Regional Council is planning to open three new caravan parks in Muttaburra, Aramac and Jericho, enticing campers with creature comforts such as free WiFi.
Council chief executive Steven Boxall said the plan was to capitalise on the flow of tourists who typically travelled through the region to other places such as Birdsville, Longreach and Winton.
"In recent times the [Lake Dunn] Sculpture Trail - accessed from either Jericho or Aramac - has grown from nothing to somewhat of a major attraction as has the Muttaburrasaurus interpretation centre in Muttaburra, which is about to be further expanded," he said.
The caravan parks would have a capacity of 150 to 200 sites, costing $8 per night and offering facilities such as free Wifi alongside fresh water and sewerage disposal.
"We estimate in year one, during the tourist season we will have up to another 50 vans in each park a night, which means another 100 people in our smaller communities per night," Mr Boxall said.
"This is a huge opportunity for our local economies where every dollar spent locally helps."
Muttaburra is a small town about an hour and a half north west of Barcaldine and is famous for lending its name to the Muttaburrasaurus dinosaurs discovered in the region.
Aramac is close to the popular Lake Dunn Sculpture Trail, while Jericho is home to the Crystal Trumpeters monument.
Mr Boxall said the council was focused on linking up these towns with larger centres such as Barcaldine and Alpha, generating a compelling experience for visitors.
“Each town offers a different experience and tells a different story as does the journey between, making it an appealing journey across the Barcaldine Regional Council area,” he said.
The litmus test for the parks would come in May, when 1200 caravans were expected to arrive in the Barcaldine region for a world record attempt, Mr Boxall added.
"...we expect to have 1200 extra caravan and motorhomes in our region for a world record attempt of the longest line of motorhomes being organised by the Australian Motorhoming Lions Club," he said.
"We expect all three Freedom Parks will be full to capacity, which will be a great test."
The state government has provided $900,000 for the development of the parks from its outback tourism infrastructure fund, in line with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s recent declaration of 2019 as the Year of Outback Tourism.