Located some 500 km west of Brisbane and with a population of more than 8000, the town of Roma is the second largest urban community in Western Queensland. Roma is well known as being sheep and cattle grazing territory as well as being home to the country’s largest cattle sale yards and the birthplace of Australia’s Oil and Gas industry.
For many families heading to the Queensland outback, Roma is a necessary stop – so instead of just passing through why not stop for a day or two and check out some of the things to do in Roma. Some of the best Roma attractions include checking out the Big Rig and the Roma Cattle Saleyards, as well as exploring some of the natural attractions around town such as Roma’s largest bottle tree or the lovely Adungadoo Trail.
If your considering a stop in through Roma, then this guide is going to be super helpful. In this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know in terms of things to see in Roma, including all the essential information such as location, opening hours, and where applicable entry prices. I’ll also include some tips on family friendly Roma accommodation.
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Best Things to do in Roma, Qld
In this section, I include all the Roma things to do. As to which of these things you should do depends on how long you have in town and what your family’s interests are. Whatever you decide to do, to help plan your trip, I’ve included the below map which shows where all the best places in Roma are. Zoom in and out for a closer look.
We stopped in Roma after we had completed our 2 week road trip doing the Natural Sciences Loop. If you want to see our entire day to day itinerary including Roma, then click here. You can also check out our full FB album with all our photos from Roma here.
Please note that the opening hours and prices quoted below were correct at the time of publishing.
The Roma Saleyards
Given Roma is known for its cattle, a must do while you’re in town is a visit to the Roma Saleyards – in fact, this was my favourite attraction in Roma, I found it really interesting. Myla also really enjoyed chatting with the cows!
The Roma Saleyards are the biggest cattle selling facility in the southern hemisphere with over 400,000 cattle sold here each year. Every Tuesday and Thursday is when all the action happens with people from all over the country coming to purchase cattle.
At the Interpretative Centre, visitors can learn all about buying and selling cattle as well as how farmers look after their cattle. This centre is interactive and is a multimedia centre, which is great for families wanting to learn more.
If you come on a Tuesday or Thursday, you’ll also get a chance to take part in a free tour of the sales yards. Your tour guide will answer all your questions about the cattle industry as well as explain more about what happens at the sales yards.
Allow around an hour to see all the displays and check out the sales yard.
Location: 44589 Warrego Highway
Opening Hours: The interpretive centre is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm and tours are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8.30 am.
Big Rig Oil Patch Museum and Night Show
Another one of the popular attractions in Roma is the Big Rig. Here you will learn how it was in Roma that natural gas was discovered first discovered in Australia. It was found by complete accident in 1900 while drilling an artesian water bore.
The Big Rig Oil Patch is a brilliant centre where you will learn all about Roma’s history with natural gas as well as the Australian oil and gas industry more broadly. There is the option of taking a guided or self guided tour of the outdoor interactive museum, which takes you through a series of 12 interpretive panels, audio and other visual presentations. There is also a range of fully restored historic rigs and equipment on display. For kids that love big trucks and structures – they will love this!
Then come back in the evening for the night show. During the 35 minute nightly show, you will learn all about the history of gas and oil in Roma, with the added excitement of lighting, sound effects and image projections. If you don’t have time to do both the centre and the night show – I’d recommend going for the night show because there is also a short guided tour of the centre included where you get a good introduction to the oil and gas industry.
Allow around 1 hour to explore all the different displays around the Big Rig Centre.
Location: 2 Riggers Road
Cost: Big Rig Oil Patch tickets are $15 per adult, $13 per student, $10 for under 12s and under 5s are free – a family pass is $40. Guided tours are just a few extra dollars. The night show is $25 per adult, $20 per student, $20 for under 12s and under 5s are free – a family pass is $70.
Opening Hours: The Oil Patch is open daily from 8.30 am on weekends and 9 am on weekends with last entry at 4 pm weekdays and 3 pm weekends. Guided tours are during the week at 2 pm. The night show is at 5 pm April to October and 5.30 pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the remainder of the year.
The Roma Express Train Ride
While you’re visiting the Big Rig, the kids will no doubt love to ride the Roma Express. This little train ride goes for around 18 minutes over a 1.4km track through the beautiful area adjacent to Bungil Creek.
Location: 2 Riggers Road – just behind the Big Rig
Opening Hours: The train runs only on certain days between March and October – check with the information centre on arrival
Lenroy Slab Hut
Lenroy Slab Hut is a well constructed and preserved slab hut which was built in 1893 by John Thomas Keegan. The tiny little hut was built from local timber to house a huge family of 11! While the verandah has been replaced, most of the house is the same as when it was first built.
It really is quite an eye opener seeing how such a large family lived in such a tiny home. This is a great way to show the kids what life was like for families growing up in the bush during the 19th and 20th centuries. You won’t find any big bedrooms with bunk beds or iPads here!
Location: 2 Riggers Road, Roma
Opening Hours: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm
The Adungadoo Trail is a 1.7km path which follows the banks of the Bungil Creek. Along the path, you’ll learn about the local history via the various interpretive signs as well as pass a recreated Aboriginal ceremonial smoking pit, meeting place and bush knowledge garden.
While strolling along the trail be sure to take time to admire the ancient river gums which line the path as well as a lookout for native birdlife, reptiles and koalas.
Allow around 30 minutes for this walk.
Location: The trail commences at the Big Rig Parklands and finishes at the Apex Park.
Roma’s Largest Bottle Tree
Around Roma, you’ll soon notice there are a lot of bottle trees. However the largest bottle tree is located just across the Bungil Creek.
This gigantic bottle tree has a massive girth of 9.51 metres and a height of 6 metres. It is thought that this tree dates back to the 19th century.
Location: At the end of Edwardes Street, Roma
Up the Creek Garage
For the family of car lovers, while in Roma don’t miss the Up the Creek Garage Museum. Here you can view a collection of classic cars, other relics and a range of photographs.
Location: 14 East George Street, Roma
Cost: $15 per adult or $25 for two, kids are free – Entry price also includes morning tea
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm
3D Heritage Mural
A nice way to learn about Roma’s history is to stop by and check out the 3D Heritage Mural at the Roma Cultural Centre. The mural uses both audio and moving light to display a detailed overview of Roma’s history, industry and culture. Created by John and Maureen Morrison in 1988, this large 18 square metre clay mural was made with around two tonnes of clay and it took some 350 hours to complete.
There is a seat where you can sit in front of the mural where you can watch the short audio and light display that accompanies the mural.
Location: 38-44 Hawthorne Street, Roma
Opening Hours: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm
St Paul’s Anglican Church
Built in 1913, St Paul’s Anglican Church is home to over 50 stunning leadlight and stained glass windows dating back to 1876 – some of which were shipped in from England. While the outside of the church is impressive, you’ll need to go inside the church to be able to see the stunning leadlight windows.
In addition to the impressive leadlight windows, the church also features a 567 piped organ – the only one to be found in Western Queensland.
Location: Corner of Bungil and Arthur Streets, Roma
Cost: Free, although a $5 per adult donation is encouraged for a tour.
Opening Hours: You can see inside the church on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9.30 am to 11.30 am. During April to October, you can join a guided tour on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9.30 am.
The current Roma Courthouse opened in 1901 and is a striking building. The existing building replaced the original courthouse, which was built in 1873 and most famous for being the venue of the Captain Starlight case. Captain Starlight (Harry Redford) was accused of stealing 1000 cattle and taking them to South Australia.
The current courthouse is a heritage listed building and still operates as the Roma Courthouse.
Location: 141 McDowall Street, Roma
Avenue of Heroes
As mentioned above, while in Roma you’ll no doubt notice the numerous bottle trees that line the street. Most of these bottle trees are part of the heritage listed Hero’s Avenue – a combination of streets which are lined with over 140 bottle trees. These trees were planted from 1918 as a tribute to the local soldiers who lost their lives in World War 1. Each of the trees has its own plaque with information relating to the solider the tree is in honour of.
At the end of the Avenue, you’ll find Queens Park, which has a lovely memorial where each of the solider’s names is displayed. There is also a nine pine trees which the rumour is the seeds for these trees were collected from Gallipoli.
Location: The Avenue of Heroes stretches along various streets starting at the Railway Station, to Wyndham Street, along Bungil Street and into Hawthorne Street.
Hospital Hill Heritage Walk
The Hospital Hill Heritage Walk is a must do for those families that really enjoy the Big Rig and want to visit the various sites around Roma relating to the region’s oil and gas industry. The self guided walk takes in 12 of the most important historical sites including the site where natural gas was first discovered in Australia, the site of the country’s first petroleum well disaster and the site of the absorption plant where petrol was manufactured.
The walk is 2kms in length and it is recommended you allow around 1-2 hours to complete the walk and for the various stops along the way.
If you are interested in this walk – I’d recommend doing it after you’ve visited the Big Rig as you’ll understand the importance of the various sites a little more.
Location: Walk commences at Whip Street, just off Bown Street near the water tower.
Roma Bush Gardens
A nice way to spend a morning or afternoon is strolling through the Roma Bush Gardens. These 14 hectares of gardens are set around a large body of water with a range of connected walking paths, which showcases 11 different vegetation communities from the region.
To get the most out of the Roma Bush Gardens, take the 1.5km trail through the gardens, past the dam and also keep an eye out for native birds.
Allow around 30 minutes to complete this walk.
Location: Walk commences from the corner Duke and Mayne Streets, Roma
Roma Historic Walk
A great way to experience many of the places mentioned above is by taking the Roma Historic Walk. The walk is around 2kms in length and passes a stack of historical sites and buildings in Roma such as the building pictured above. Currently the Christian Outreach Centre, this building was originally the Congregational Church built in 1872 and considered to be Roma’s oldest building still standing.
Allow at least 1-2 hours for this walk, although even longer if you want to stop at all the sites. Keep in mind that plaques for each stop are across the street, rather than right in front of the buildings.
Grab a map from the information centre.
Roma Accommodation, QLD
When it comes to the accommodation Roma offers, all types are covered including motels, cabins and sites for camping. Below I’ve listed a range of options for accommodation in Roma, Qld well suited to families and other types of travellers, including Roma Caravan Park options and Roma motels.
If you prefer motel style accommodation, below, I’ve listed three different options that are well suited to families and other types of travellers.
Bottle Tree Gardens Motel
Located in the centre of town, all rooms at Bottle Tree Gardens Motel have kitchenettes, TV, AC, and fridge. Families rooms are spacious and can accommodate up to 6 people in two sets of bunk beds and a queen size bed. There are also BBQ facilities on site.
Located in the centre of town, all rooms at Roma Motel have kitchenettes, TV, AC, and fridge. Families rooms are spacious and can accommodate up to 6 people in two sets of bunk beds and a queen size bed. There is also a swimming pool onsite which families with kids may appreciate and BBQ facilities.
Located in the centre of town, just off the highway, all rooms at Mandalay Motel have microwaves, AC, TV, toaster, and fridge. Families rooms are spacious and can accommodate up to 6 people in three sets of bunk beds. There is also a swimming pool onsite which families with kids may appreciate in the warmer months. Other facilities onsite include BBQ facilities and a laundry.
Roma Caravan Park Options
When it comes to caravan parks, Roma has some great options well suited to campers with tents and vans as well as accommodation for those who prefer to stay in cabins. Below I’ve listed three different options to consider.
Roma Big Rig Tourist Park
Roma Big Rig Tourist Park is just 500m from the centre of town and an easy walk to all the attractions around the Big Rig. The park has a range of accommodation options including fully self contained family cabins, studios, powered sites and drive thru options.
All cabins include a private bathroom, AC, TV, fridge, kettle, toaster and microwave. Family cabins can accommodate up to 6 people in two sets of bunks and queen size bed. For additional privacy, there is also 2 bedroom cabins available.
On site is a playground and swimming pool, which no doubt the kids will appreciate during the warmer months. There is also a laundry and camp kitchen on site.
Roma Aussie Tourist Park
Roma Aussie Tourist Park is on the edge of town, but just a short drive or even walk to the centre of town. The park has a range of accommodation options including fully self contained family cabins and studios.
All cabins include a private bathroom, AC, TV, fridge, kettle and a toaster, with others including kitchenettes. Family cabins can accommodate up to 6 people in two sets of bunks and queen size bed.
Facilities on site include camp kitchen and laundry.
Roma Villa Holiday Park
Family cabins can accommodate up to 6 people in two sets of bunks and queen size bed. There are also two bedroom villas available which can accommodate families up to 4 people.
The park also offers a range of campsites including powered ensuite sites.
Facilities on site include a playground and swimming pool as well as a guest laundry. The park is also pet friendly.
Roma – Our Verdict
While there isn’t a huge amount of things to do and see in Roma – a quick stopover is well worth it – even if you do nothing else but visit the Salesyards and the Big Rig. No doubt you’re passing through anyway – so why not check out the town while you’re here.
I found the town itself rather pretty and certainly learned a lot about cattle, oil and gas during the two days we were there. If you allow yourself a full day – it’s plenty of time to see all of the town’s main attractions – just make sure you time it right to align with the opening of the sales yards.
Hopefully you found this guide to Roma helpful and it has inspired you to take your kids for a visit. Before Roma we were in Quilpie – you can read our guide here and don’t forget to check out our full South West Outback Queensland itinerary here and you can also find all our Outback Queensland content here.