Mount Isa is a mining city in the north-west of the Australian state of Queensland, situated some 900 km west of Townsville and some 1900 km north-west of the capital Brisbane. Population 22,000. Geology is the key drawcard to Mount Isa, best represented in the World Heritage Riversleigh Fossil Field located near the city (250 km! - "near" for Queensland....).
Mount Isa is the birthplace of two Australian sporting greats: Greg Norman (golf) and Pat Rafter (tennis).
Mount Isa City municipality covers an area of over 43,310 square kilometres, making it geographically the second largest city in the world to Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia.
Mount Isa is served by The Inlander passenger train which travels overnight between Townsville (via Charters Towers) twice weekly (977 km). The air-conditioned train offers twinette, roomette, triple bunk and coach accommodation, and has a club car for movies and food.
There is car hire with the Budget and Avis in the city centre, or they will meet bookings at the airport.
The Mount Isa Rotary Rodeo is the biggest and richest event Rodeo Event in the Southern Hemisphere. During Rodeo Week, Mount Isa's population swells almost three-fold with travelers coming from all over Australia and overseas to witness the thrills, the excitement, the raw power and courage that is rodeo. It's where city meets country, east meets west, man meets beast. With a packed program of rodeo events - saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, bull riding, rope & tie, steer wrestling and team roping, wild horse racing, ladies barrel racing and ladies breakaway roping. Every year it all seems to get bigger better and more fun!
- Riversleigh Fossils Centre, ☎ +61 7 4749 1555, 1300 659 660 (local rate call), fax: +61 7 4743 6296, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Conveniently displaying the results of excavation at the World Heritage site
- Outback at Isa, 19 Marian St. 8:30AM-5PM. Large complex including museum exhibits, the Hard Times Mine, the Riversleigh Fossil Centre, and tours.
- City Lookout (north off the highway just east of the shopping district - easy to spot). Hill offering views of the mine towering over Mount Isa like the tower of Mordor.
- Underground Hospital, Joan St. 10AM-2PM April-September. A hospital built underground in case of Japanese air raids. $15.
Hard Times Mine tour Experience the history of Mount Isa's long and illustrious mining history in this purpose built mine. Guided by current and former miners from the Mount Isa mines, machinery demonstrations, old stories and hands on experience can all be experienced in a real underground environment. An amazing and unforgettable experience for locals and tourists alike.
Mount Isa, for a city of its size, is a considerable dining experience for the hearty traveller and local. Selections such as Indian, Italian, Chinese, German and French are all represented, either in the CBD or on the major roads. As well as this, all the major fast-food giants such as McDonalds, KFC, Eagle Boys, Red Rooster, Pizza Hut and Subway all have outlets in the Copper City.
- Abyssinia Cafe Restaurant, ☎ +61 7 4743-3328. 103 Marian Sreet. The Abyssinia Cafe is a Licensed Restaurant serving traditional Ethiopean Cuisine as well as standard Australian meals and Indian food. For the last 20 years, Almaz Taye (Leila) Cashmore has owned and operated the cafe building up a broad reputation for excellent food. The Cafe has been featured on SBS for Ethiopian Cuisine
- The Isa Hotel, ☎ +61 7 4749-8888. ], 11 Miles Street. The Isa Hotel hosts the very popular Rodeo Bar & Grill. The ample menu focuses on the beef and barramundi found in the region while providing many alternative dishes to suit almost everybody. Bookings are recommended from Friday and Saturday nights.
Drinking aplenty in the Isa. The Irish Club , Buffs Club , The Overlander Hotel, The Isa and the Red Earth Hotel and many others are make up the great selection of watering holes in the city. Many outlets have meals, happy hours and special promotions going all the time.
Mount Isa offers a range of accommodation options to suit everyone's budget.
- Travellers Haven Backpacker Hostel, 75 Spence Street, ☎ +61 7 4743 0313. A relaxed, family-run hostel only 10 minutes walk from the city centre. The Haven offers free pick-up and drop-off from the bus and train station, cooking and laundry facilities, air conditioning, swimming pool, internet and off-street parking. Dorms from $25.
- Townview Motel in Mount Isa, 103 Marian St (Barkly Highway), ☎ +61 7 4743-3328. 4-star accommodation with 24 rooms that include Budget, Standard and 2 Bedroom Spa Suites. Most rooms include cooking facilities. There is also a 3 bedroom house for longer stays. The Abyssinia Cafe Restaurant is on site which serves traditional Ethiopean Cuisine as well as standard Australian meals and Indian food.
- Red Earth Hotel and ISA Hotel. Pub/hotel complex in the centre of town. The Red Earth section is more upmarket, with nice rooms and balconies over the street. The restaurant is highly-rated by Mount Isa standards.
The roads into and out of Mount Isa are generally of good quality and passable for all vehicles. Care should be taken if travelling during the wet season as many of these roads can become flooded and impassable. Never try to cross covered causeways even if no signage or barricades are erected at the site. Purpose built signs are placed along the Barkly Highway to Townsville to indicate what roads are passable during flood times. Alternatively, asking locals of possible road conditions can give surprising accuracy.
- Flights can be booked with Airnorth, Qantas, Rex and Skytrans to various locations around the Queensland and Northern Territory (depending on carrier)
- Train services are run twice per week to Townsville and other towns along the Barkly Highway with the Inlander
- West to Tennant Creek (660km)
- North to the gulf towns of Normanton(500km) and Karumba (570km)
- East to Cloncurry (120km) and Townsville (900km).