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Starlight’s Cruise Experience


From $125 per person


4.5 hours


Monday to Saturday from 4.30pm

About this experience

Outback Pioneers’ sunset cruise was the original Thomson River Cruise and is still the favourite with its historic boats (the paddlewheeler or Thomson Princess) and its traditional riverbank entertainment, including a stockmen’s dinner around the campfire.

As the sun goes down, the river is a peaceful environment of reflections and colour – perfect for photos. Then step ashore at our riverbank site and gather around the crackling fire for tales and bush poetry from Scotty the Barefoot Bush Poet. Watch the Starlight’s Spectacular Sound & Light Picture Show featuring our exclusive movie about the adventures of Captain Starlight (aka Harry Redford).

Experience highlights

  • Leisurely river cruise with commentary from your skipper
  • Time for photos as the sun sets
  • 2-course stockmen’s dinner by the campfire
  • Traditional bush entertainment – poems, yarns and laughter
  • Starlight’s Spectacular Sound & Light Picture Show on the riverbank
  • Billy tea and damper with syrup
  • Great opportunity to view the star-filled outback sky on a clear night
Corellas roosting in tree
The serenity of the Thomson River at sunset
Outback Pioneers guests sitting around a campfire
Scotty, the bare foot bush poet entertaining guests at the river camp
Illuminated river bank movie screen with guests watching at night
Stoking the camp fire in the black of night

Things you'll love

The peace on the river and birds coming home to roost after a hot day
The sunset sky, colours and reflections - unique every evening!
Generous helpings of traditional stew made to Richard Kinnnon’s grandma’s special recipe.
The authentic and quirky humour of a living outback treasure - Scotty the Barefoot Bush Poet!
The inspiring Captain Starlight story - spot the Kinnon and family and locals in cameo roles
Seeing the Southern Cross from deep in the Aussie bush.

Things to know

  • This is a 4-5 hour experience leaving Longreach about 4.30pm.
  • Pick-up and drop-off is at your accommodation.
  • The experience runs Monday-Saturday evening in the April-October season.
  • BYO alcohol, soft drinks available to buy on board
  • Vegetarian, gluten free and other dietary options available if you let us know when you book.
  • The winter evenings can be quite cool – bring a jacket.
  • Which boat you are on depends on availability – please see the FAQs below and check your booking confirmation.
  • Bookings are essential to save your place.

From our guests

What a fantastic experience! The river cruise was lovely, we were lucky to see a sunset. The dinner by the campfire is great. They offer alternative meals (order when you book) and I had a vegetable stew. Absolutely delicious. The atmosphere, the entertainment and the food couldn’t be faulted. Would highly recommend this experience.

Gayle M

I’m old, grumpy and hard to impress, but these folks went the extra mile and really impressed me. The river cruise across sunset is amazing and unexpectedly beautiful in that environment. Our skipper really made us feel a part of the land…The dinner, the yarns, songs and poetry were down to earth and really entertaining. This would be one of the few experiences I would be looking to do again.

Keith W

This was one of the best cruises we have done whilst travelling the Outback. The stories and laughs shared warmed our hearts…The campfire meal and entertainment was perfect under the star-filled sky. Scotty’s poetry and stories reminded us the importance of the written word… Great work and thank you for the memories!

Janelle V

Book your experience


Can I choose which boat I’m on?

The boat you travel on depends on availability. Normally we fill the ‘Thomson Belle’ paddlewheeler first and then the ‘Thomson Princess’ historic riverboat. You can tell which boat you are booked on from the time in the booking window. If the time is 4.30pm or 4.45pm, you will be boarding the Thomson Belle Paddlewheeler. If the time is 4.31pm or 4.46pm you will be boarding the Thomson Princess Riverboat. This time will also be shown in your booking confirmation. Please call our reservations crew if you are not sure or have a special request (we may have received a cancellation or we can suggest an alternative day).

Can I buy drinks on board?

We have soft drinks to buy on board but you need to BYO alcohol. Support our local bottle shop and enjoy a good range at great prices! We have drink coolers for sale at The Station Store if you do not have your own.

Are the boats accessible for disabled people and wheelchairs?

Yes, there is a ramp onto both boats.

What to wear for the cruise?

We’re not formal around here and the winter evenings can be cold so definitely bring a jumper and jacket.

Pick ups

We pick up from accommodation in Longreach town from around 4.30pm and drop you back at the end of the evening (around 9.15pm). Please check your itinerary to confirm details. Please note we do not offer pick-up from Mitchell Grass Retreat (situated outside Longreach).