Described as the Oasis of the Outback, Mount Isa nestles among the ochre-red Selwyn Ranges, on the borders of the Leichhardt River. Over the years, Mount Isa has gone from strength to strength, but the wild outback scenery has hardly changed. Come to Mount Isa and let your adventurous spirit out, whether it is fishing, four wheel driving or just enjoying a glorius Outback sunset.
Mount Isa proudly claims to be the largest city in the world, covering an area the size of Switzerland but with a population of just 25,000 people. In fact, it holds a place in the Guinness Book of Records. The argument is that the city extends for 40,977 square kilometres, and that the road from Mount Isa to Camooweal, a distance of 189 km, is the longest city road in the world.
As if that wasn't enough, Mount Isa is also home to the second largest rodeo in the world, held every August.
The town owes its existence to the mineral deposits that lie underneath and around it. The Mount Isa Mine, established in 1924, is the most productive single mine in world history - based on combined production of lead, silver, copper and zinc. The progressive city of Mount Isa is the most important industrial, commercial and administrative centre in inland Queensland, although it has an air of self-confidence and sophistication rare in outback Australia.
During World War II, the Isa was on the convoy route from Townsville to Darwin and acted as an important logistical base. The bombing of Darwin by the Japanese spurred the locals into voluntarily building what is believed to be Australia's only underground hospital. Fortunately, Mount Isa was never attacked. The remains of this hospital can still be found dug into the hill behind the present day Mount Isa Base Hospital. The under ground hospital is one of many sites of the 'historical landmarks walks' that can be obtained from the Riversleigh Fossil Interpretive Centre.
'The Isa', as the locals refer to it, has grown from strength to strength over the years. The harsh but picturesque landscape however, has barely changed, becoming one of the main drawcards for visitors each year. Mount Isa brings out the adventurous spirit in everyone, with ample places to fish, camp, four wheel drive, or just 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 did many years ago... but in slightly more comfort!
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, both of which are accessed from Mount Isa.