With its blockbuster landscapes; one-of-a-kind characters; and sets that make location scouts pinch themselves, Queensland’s Outback is made for the movies.
Nowhere is that more apparent than at the annual Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival – held in Winton, north-west of Longreach.
Each year, the little Outback town gives Hollywood a run for its money as it celebrates Australian film and culture under the stars.
Actors, directors and movie buffs just about outnumber the flies as they swarm west to celebrate a slew of premieres on the silver screen.
Winton’s classic open-air picture theatre, the Royal, gets top billing as a festival venue. She’s just notched up a century of cinematic service – and is the focal point for screenings and activities.
The Vision Splendid Festival is the latest in a long line of starring roles for the Royal. She was the first cinema in town to screen ‘talkies’, back in 1930. At times, the venue did a double act as a skating rink; hosted church bazaars and fairs; and served as a meeting place for striking shearers.
Historian, Jeff Close, has written a book, “Much More than Movies”, to celebrate the Royal’s centenary. He and current owner, Peter Evert, have joined forces to ensure the Royal keeps on keeping on.
In 2020, the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival will celebrate another big milestone – a century of service by Qantas, Australian’s own airline born in Winton.
The festival will feature an aviation theme – so if you’re an airplane or history tragic, now’s the time to get your tickets to this great Outback event.
And here’s an epic way to make the journey west.
Hop on board Queensland Rail Travel’s Spirit of the Outback – the twice-weekly service that links Brisbane and Longreach. (Transfers from Longreach to Winton are available.)
Travelling first class, you’ll enjoy a 26-hour journey of wide-open spaces… and intimate comfort… with panoramic windows to take in the changing Outback scenery and comfortable cabins that transform into sleepers for the overnight leg.
Head to the Tuckerbox dining car to savour Queensland produce exquisitely prepared by the on-board chef, and accompanied by Queensland wines and beers.
Full table service by friendly Queensland Rail staff is a memorable feature of the experience.
After dinner, why not find a comfy seat in the Shearer’s Rest lounge car – and get to know your fellow-travellers over a coffee, tea or nightcap?
The Spirit of the Outback is one of Australia’s iconic rail experiences – and a fantastic way to leave behind bright city lights for a billion Outback stars.