Mount Isa is often described as the Oasis of the Outback; a gleaming refuge in the harsh reaches of Queensland’s desert region. Home to the world’s biggest silver and lead mines, the sprawling city is the most important industrial, commercial and administrative centre in the state’s northwest.
Renowned for its Outback Rodeo – the largest rodeo in the southern hemisphere – ample fishing holes and four wheel driving opportunities, “The Isa”, as it’s affectionately nicknamed by locals, attracts travellers with an adventurous spirit.
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Mount Isa may not be renowned as a foodie’s paradise; however the city features a number of local cafes, restaurant and fast food outlets, which offer a great range of choice and diversity.
Home to more than 50 nationalities, Mount Isa boasts an exciting array of international cuisines and dining experiences. Abyssinia International Restaurant specialises in African curries. The Royal Tandoori has proven to be very popular since it opened in 2010, dishing up Indian takeaways. While the Red Lantern Chinese Restaurant serves tasty Cantonese cuisine.
A number of hotels feature licensed restaurants and the local clubs welcome visitors. The Explorers Restaurant at the Quality Inn Burke and Wills offers a modern dining environment, with an Australian-inspired menu. The Outback Restaurant at Mount Isa Outback Motor Inn offers hearty meals amid a relaxed atmosphere. The Isa Hotel hosts the Rodeo Bar and Grill, a modern steak house and pizzeria. While the RedEarth Hotel boasts the five-star RedEarth Restaurant, where an inspired a-la-carte menu showcases exceptional food and wine.
There is no shortage of nightlife in Mount Isa with a vast range of venues offering live music and entertainment. Downtown’s Nineteenth Avenue is a hub for nightclubs and bars – loca favourite include The Buffs Club, The Isa Hotel and the Irish Club.
Mount Isa locals have an enterprising spirit – a notable spin off from the city’s pioneering mining origins. While sprawling malls and big name brands are few and far between, quaint boutiques and small businesses drive an enriched local retail scene.
Designer labels, gourmet food and sought-after homewares can all be found; as Mount Isa doesn’t fail to deliver or surprise.
Most boutiques are located in the CBD on Rodeo Drive (not to be confused with the famous Beverly Hills shopping street), and Miles and West streets.
While the city’s major shopping centre, Mount Isa Plaza – also located downtown – features a K-Mart department store, a supermarket and over 30 variety stores.