Ominous light see strongest year ever

The Min Min Encounter saw its strongest year ever this year. PHOTOS: Supplied.

ALMOST tripling the previous best year, one of Boulia’s hottest tourist destinations has seen its best year ever.

The Min Min Encounter was built in 2000 to attract visitors to the Shire and is one of the few tourist sites that still feature animatronics.

The site pays homage to a history of strange lights, in Western Queensland.

These lights have displayed unusual behaviours such as following travellers, going back to when the region was first explored.

Boulia Shire Council Community Service Manager Julie Woodhouse said if they did not have the attraction, the Shire would have to solely rely on events such as the Boulia Camel Races to attract visitors.

“These lights are well recorded all over the world, and we’ve capitilised on it here because they do seem to be seen more out in this area,” she said.

“There’s no rational explanation for what they are.”

Ms Woodhouse said she thought this year’s attendance success was due to tourists having nowhere else to go.

“They were all heading west and northwest, we’ve never seen such a crowd of people,” she said.

“[It’s actually] hard for these remotes towns to carry the influx of people that we had.

“The tourist officers on the front line, they really earned their money.”

Ms Woodhouse said the flood of tourists had been an immense boon for the Shire which is currently experiencing drought. |

“Everything the tourists bring helps keep business alive and people in jobs,” she said.

“This is one scenario: for July 2020, which was a good year for us, we made something like $20,000 at the Min Min [Encounter]; for July this year, we took over $67,000.

“Businesses on the coast are doing it tough — yet out here we haven’t seen any decline.”

Ms Woodhouse believed people may feel safer from COVID in the west and we may see a snowball effect in the future for western tourism.

“I think people are definitely pushing the tourism wagon outback at the moment,” she said.

“People are getting away from the more populated areas.

“And we have a lot to offer, we’ve been in the back block for a long, long time.”

The tourists who did visit the Min Min Encounter were entreated to a 40-minute show.

Ms Woodhouse said, without giving too much away, it is one-of-a-kind and is about to get a major facelift.

“Come in November and experience it for yourself.”