Bollon On The Wallam In Balonne. Confused? We Were Too!
Are you looking for a relaxing place to camp just out of town? Then Bollon should be on your shortlist. You’ll discover peaceful bush camping on the edge of Wallam Creek and a short walk, bike ride or even kayak into town.
And the locals are great! So friendly and helpful, always up for a yarn and ready to answer any questions. The community of Bollon are cleverly developing a healthy tourism industry, catering for both grey nomads who want to stop for a while and travellers looking for something different.
This town knows how to look after tourists.
Bollon is about 680km West of Brisbane or an hour West of St George. The next town West is Cunnamulla. Bollon sits on the edge of Wallam Creek, the lifeblood of the town.
The community of about 350 people obviously have pride in their town. The houses and streets are tidy and well presented, and the amenities for travellers… well, we’ll get to this soon.
But first, let’s sort out the name.
What’s With The Name?
Bollon sits beside Wallam Creek. Bollon rhymes with Colin… and Wallam! The town of Bollon is in the Balonne Shire. In turn, the Balonne Shire is named after the Balonne River.
This flows through St George and Dirranbandi, theoretically forming part of the Darling River system. In practice however, water from the Balonne pretty well disappears into the massive cotton irrigation dams North of the Queensland border. Enough said.
So Bollon rhymes with Colin, while Balonne is pronounced Ba-lonn. Clear as mud? Good!
Stay For One Day, Or A Few Months
The Bollon community has cleverly integrated a campground located on the edge of town, into the town itself.
How? They have used Wallam Creek to connect the two, via a concrete footpath. This follows the creek, under a shady canopy of river red gums and leads you into town. A series of interpretive signs explain the significance of Wallam Creek to Aboriginal people. And a shower block in town ensures you have no excuse to be a smelly camper!
Along this walk is a colony of koalas, although we didn’t see any. Apparently they are there somewhere.
The campground is about 500 metres along the creek from Bollon. Turn in to the right on the Western edge of the town. On your way in, you’ll see a dump point then you’ll go over a levee bank. From here, find a campsite anywhere along the creek.
Camping is free with a donation box. Make sure you leave a donation… after all, the residents of Bollon have provided excellent amenities. The campground has a flush toilet with basin and there are rubbish bins for your use.
How long can you stay? We asked one of the locals and he replied, “Well, if you start a garden then it’s probably time to leave!”
It’s not uncommon for people to stay for a few months. They even get regulars who return every year.
Life On Wallam Creek
Just past the campground, a track leads to a bush boat ramp where you can launch your tinnie. Or if you have a kayak, you can simply find a spot along the creek and launch it there.
We saw a few locals fishing in Wallam Creek from their tinnies and a couple kayaking. If you have a kayak, there’s no reason why you can’t use it to go into town. There’s a few spots in town where you could disembark… what better way to travel!
Like most inland waterways, Wallam Creek is a mecca for birdlife. Early mornings and afternoons were filled with the sound of birds.
And the late afternoon orange glow from the sun reflects off the trees along the creek. Simply stunning.
Despite its dark brown colour, we braved the creek for a couple of swims. The hot and humid weather made this an easy choice. The minerals in the fresh water are brilliant. Afterwards you feel like you’ve been pampered in a luxury spa.
Sunday Morning In Bollon
Walk into town and spend a few dollars to support the town. We spent a couple of hours there on a Sunday morning. Let me tell you, Bollon is pretty quiet on a Sunday morning!
Have a yarn and a tasty coffee at Deb’s Cafe, while you check out the display of shearing equipment in the cafe. They even have an old wooden Koerstz woolpress in the corner.
Then we wandered over to the Heritage Centre. A volunteer was unlocking the doors. He was a real character and full of local information. A lovely bloke with a keen sense of humour.
The Heritage Centre is excellent. Entry is via gold coin donation and the place is run by volunteers. This place is a wealth of information. Of particular note are several folders of historical photos and documents. Each folder is specific to a local family.
One standout is a large tanned cowhide hanging on a wall. It has been engraved with a hilarious poem about mozzies, a massive task that must have taken weeks to complete.
With the heat and humidity building fast, we wandered back to our campsite and spent the day watching enormous storm clouds building around us. It reminded us that Bollon had been inundated by floodwaters in 2010. The levee bank you now see was built after this flood and the locals are wondering if it will do its job next time the Wallam breaks its banks. Time will tell.
Bollon has much to offer travellers, whether you plan to stay one night or for a few months. This small outback town really understands what tourists are looking for and the locals’ welcoming attitude is brilliant.
If you’re looking for peace and relaxation, then Bollon should be high on your list of places to visit.
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Any errors or omissions are mine alone.