Described as the Oasis of the Outback – a gleaming mirage on the horizon for travellers from all directions – Mount Isa nestles among the ochre-red Selwyn Ranges, on the banks of the Leichhardt River.
Mount Isa has grown from strength to strength over the years but the harsh picturesque landscape has barely changed, becoming one of the main draw-cards for visitors each year. Mount Isa brings out the adventurous spirit in everyone, with ample places to fish, camp, four wheel drive, or 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 of the region did many years ago.
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.
A must see while in Mount Isa is the Outback at Isa complex, incorporating the award winning Riversleigh Fossil Centre, Hard Times Mine, Sir James Foots Building, Outback Park and Visitor Information Centre.
Other attractions are the School of the Air, the Royal Flying Doctors base, National Trust Tent House, Underground Hospital and Beth Anderson Museum, surface tours of Mount Isa Mines and fishing for barramundi at Lake Moondarra.
Mount Isa”s existence and its main financial base is the huge Mount Isa Mine, the world”s largest single producer of copper, silver, lead and zinc. In 1923, John Campbell Miles found a silver-lead ore outcrop and sent a sample to Cloncurry to be assessed. Miles pegged two leases and soon 500 were filled. Mount Isa Mines took over operations in 1924. This rich deposit is still producing high volumes of ore and is classed as one of the world”s great mines.