During the 1900s, a rail link was planned between Sydney and Darwin. The Queensland Government commenced building the railway from Rockhampton, through Blackall and then onto Yaraka. The construction didn’t go as planned and after a number of years, the governments of New South Wales and the Northern Territory decided not to proceed. Therefore, making Yaraka the end of the line. But don’t let this title fool you. The tiny town of Yaraka lies south west of Blackall with a population of around 20 people.
What this town lacks in population it sure makes up for it in charisma, determination and friendship. The hub of Yaraka lies around the Yaraka Pub and its owners, Chris and Gerry Gimblett and their son Nick. After teaching for a number of years at Yaraka, Gerry and Chris moved back to Beaudesert in 1993. In 2014, they decided to return and they purchased the Yaraka Pub.
The end of the railway workforce saw the demise of the sheep industry, causing families to leave the area. Although, there is no school and no rail in Yaraka, tourists flock to the friendly town to experience real outback living. Some are here because of the remoteness, others are here for the beauty of the town, but most of the tourists keep coming back because of the authenticity of the people.
Chris and Gerry conduct daily sunset tours to the stunning Mt Slowcombe’s lookout, providing 360 degree views of the plains and grazing lands. There, you will find barbecue facilities and picnic tables while you enjoy the stunning colours of the sunset or sunrise. These tours are conducted by another, well known resident of Yaraka, Terrence “Grimo” Grimison. He will tell you he is the most experienced tour guide in Yaraka, as a matter of fact, he is the only tour guide.
For all those photographic enthusiasts, there is no shortage of landscapes to be captured. From the backdrops of the Yang Yang Ranges to spectacular escarpments.
Words and photos by Jose Alonso