How to get from Brisbane to Mount Isa

Sunset over Mount Isa.
Sunset over Mount Isa.

So, Triple J’s One Night Stand is on and you want to be in Mount Isa on Saturday April 22 and you want to know how to get here?

Good, then read on.

Flying from Brisbane

Mount Isa is well served with a good airport and direct flights from Brisbane, as well as Townsville and Cairns.

Both Qantas and Virgin fly in and out of Mount Isa, and the flight takes around two and a half hours but be warned – it ain’t cheap.

Last we looked Virgin still had flights from Brisbane on Friday, April 21, for $360 one way.

There are no return flights available for Sunday. The cheapest Virgin fare out of Isa on Monday is $425 though Tuesday is cheaper still at $360.

Qantas still has flights available from Brisbane on the Friday from $369.

Qantas does have return flights available on Sunday from $369 but expect these to be snapped up real quick.

Its cheapest flight on Monday is $369 leaving Mount Isa 6.50pm and has $360 tickets for the Tuesday.

These tickets will go quicker that you can say, “Don't trouble trouble, until trouble troubles you! If you trouble trouble, triple (j) trouble troubles you!” so hurry, hurry, hurry.

Driving from Brisbane (inland)

Okay so flying is a bit expensive and anyway you were always afraid of flying and suspicious since you watched that movie Flying High.

So before you start calling me Shirley, that can only mean one thing:


Here’s the deal on driving from Brisbane to Mount Isa.

The quickest way is inland via Toowoomba, Roma and Longreach.

It goes through some amazing Aussie bush country but takes about 20-22 hours all up and is 1800km long via the Warrego, Landsborough and Barkly Highways.

We would not recommend driving through the night, because... ANIMALS!

Kangaroos are very common on the road at night. So are feral pigs, emus and up this way cattle on unfenced roads – and let me tell you how little reflection there is off a big bovine at night. They can make a big dent on your car and on your wallet...or worse.

So break up your journey at any of the lovely towns along the way Tambo (900km from BNE – check out the Tambo teddies), Blackall (1000km from BNE – what do you mean you don’t know what a wool scour is!!), Barcaldine (1100km – home of the Labor Party and the Tree of Knowledge – may or may not be a connection!) or Longreach (1200km – home of Qantas and the Stockmen – and no, Qantas and the Stockmen is not the name of a bad country band).

Driving from Brisbane (along the coast)

This drive via Townsville is longer – 2300km – but does have the Queensland coast so if you prefer sharks to kangaroos and have a bit more time (2-3 days at least) this could be the way to do it.

Head north via the Bruce Hwy. Rockhampton is a gentle 650km away with access to the beautiful Capricorn Coast at Yeppoon and Great Keppel Island.

Mackay is 350km north and if you add another 150km you could spend the night in lively Airlie Beach and check out the Whitsundays.

Townsville is just another 275km further north and be warned you are now in COWBOY country (none of your Brisbane Broncos nonsense here!).

Mooch around the Strand, climb up Castle Hill, or check out Townsville’s great nightlife but don’t party too hard because you’ve still got 900km to drive to Mount Isa.

Just turn west at Townsville onto the Flinders Highway and keep going until you see Mount Isa’s smokestacks.