The Big Rig in Roma is the spot to dig into Australia’s oil and gas industry, set against the sweeping, painterly landscape of country Queensland. Get ready to explore with this guide.
What is it?
The Big Rig takes its name from the 1929 vintage steam-powered drilling rig in residence on the site of this regional museum. The museum explores the history of oil, gas and energy exploration in Australia from the point of view of the characters behind it.
The Big Rig will appeal to anyone who loves pioneering Australian history, those who work in the energy sector, who has an interest in engineering or those fascinated by the boom-and-bust origins to the billion-dollar industry it is today.
What will you learn?
Roma was the first place in Australia where on-shore natural gas flowed, so it’s an excellent starting point to school yourself on the story of oil and gas exploration on our continent.
The museum allows a self-guided or guided tour with the “Roma Rigger” through historic rigs and mining machinery and equipment, hearing stories of the industry’s pioneers.
To get the older kids and teens involved, challenge them to the Oil Patch challenge, using the ancient field equipment of clipboard and pencil, they will search the Oil Patch Museum for all of life’s tricky oil and gas questions.
It all culminates in the truly enjoyable Big Rig Sunset Experience. Kicking off at dusk, the evening session provides a glimpse into life working on the Big Rig Rig back in the 1930’s, plus it offers a show that explores the living history of the gas and oil industry in Australia up to the 1970’s, while you enjoy a glass of Outback port.
To secure your ticket jump online www.bigrigroma.com.au.
There is currently a brand new experience being constructed at The Big Rig, which will include an impressive 40m tower and meandering tree walk. From the top of the tower visitors will be able to enjoy expansive and uninterrupted views across Outback Queensland. The new experience will be available by the end of 2021.
When to go?
The Big Rig is open year round from 8.30am-4.00pm, with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and reduced hours on Anzac Day. During the day, bring a hat and wear fully enclosed shoes to explore the museum. Children aged under four are free to enter.
The Big Rig Parklands
Surrounding the museum are extensive free parklands, which also includes an intriguing folk museum, offering a glimpse into how early farming families lived with the relocated Lenroy Slab Hut, built in 1893 from cypress pine with a dirt floor and a bark roof (later replaced with tin). For little ones there’s a miniature train – the Roma Express – to ride on around the site. The Adungadoo Pathway sets off from the parklands and offers a lovely stroll through the River Red Gums down to the largest Bottle Tree. The Roma Visitor Information Centre is also located at The Big Rig, as well as Beck’s Chopping Board café open from breakfast and lunch 7 days.
How to get there?
You can fly to Roma direct from Brisbane in just over an hour or take a 5.5-hour road trip. The roads are sealed and it’s an easy, pleasant drive. Coming into Roma on the A55, you’ll spy the Big Rig on the right-hand side, before you reach the main part of town.
Where to stay?
There are several accommodation options in Roma and the region. The accommodation most convenient to The Big Rig include The Big Rig Tourist Park, Best Western Bungil Creek Motel, Roma Motel, Roma Central and the Starlight Motel– no more than a five-minute walk from the Big Rig. It’s also a cheerful walk to the Royal On Ninety-Nine for dinner – a reinvented Roma favourite with a rooftop bar.
What else is there to see and do?
- Two days in Roma? Here’s more of what to see and do. https://romarevealed.com.au/48-hours-in-roma/
- Discover the best country pubs in the region https://romarevealed.com.au/romas-best-country-pubs/
- Want to go further afield? We have Roma region itineraries for the weekend, five days or seven days. https://romarevealed.com.au/itineraries/