Although Mount Isa is most famous for its mining industry and being in the top two of the largest copper mining and smelting operations in Australia, its uniqueness and its history also make for a thriving tourism industry.
With a population of around 32,588 people, Mount Isa is known as the administrative, commercial and industrial hub of Queensland’s extensive north-west region. 12.8 per cent of the population work in copper ore mining, 9.2 per cent in beef cattle framing and 5.8 per cent in local government administration.
Accessible via road, and the airport located in Kalkadoon, north of the Mount Isa suburb of Lanskey, Mount Isa is remote yet quite accessible. It’s parched and often sweltering surrounds are often mistaken for being barren and boring when, in fact, there are plenty of recreational things to do. The Mount Isa Region is well set up for families with 13 schools, both public and private, a skate park, swimming pools, cinema, indoor and outdoor sports and restaurants. There are numerous parks, you can enjoy fishing on Lake Moondarra, visit the Mary Kathleen mine or enjoy a rodeo. Beyond recreation, Mount Isa is well equipped with amenities such as shopping centres, doctors surgeries, pharmacies, and hairdressers, just to name a few.
The Suburbs of Mount Isa
Mount Isa is in no way a small town, has numerous suburbs that make it the largest western interior city. Mount Isa is divided in two by the Leichhardt River with one side being known as the “mine side” and the other as the “town side”.
- Happy Valley
- Mica Creek
- Miles End
- Soldiers Hill
The Isa Mines are located next to the ‘mine side suburbs’ and include an underground copper mine, silver-lead zinc mine and metallurgical processing facilities. 20 kilometres north of Hilton silver-lead-zinc ore is mined from an underground and open cut mine. The Osborne Mine, a copper mine, is located 298 kilometres south-east of Mount Isa.
- Breakaway Estate
- Healy Heights
- Mount Isa BC
- Mount Isa DC
- Mount Isa East
- The Gap
The property market in and around Mount Isa
Mount Isa is not somewhere you come to buy a mansion, houses and apartments are small and simple here, commonly single-storey weatherboard, fibro or brick homes built for the hot weather. If you can score a house with a pool, you’re lucky.
The current median house price in the Mount Isa region is $220,000. Sherrie Tuppurainen, a Mount Isa based real estate agent, said that any properties under $300,000 in a nice neighbourhood definitely see competition. She said many clients call her agency to say they’ve missed out on houses and that there is a sense of urgency. Rentals, in particular, are in very high demand. Although in 2018 the Mount Isa average house price fell 14.1 per cent, this decline is building an obvious momentum thanks to the mining industry and efforts by the Mount Isa Council and the Minerals Council of Australia on their collaborative mining projects.
150 kilometres south of Mount Isa is Dajarra, a small town with just 191 people and with main employment being in beef cattle farming and teaching at the local primary school. 280 kilometres to the west of Mount Isa is Barkly, primarily a pastoral region which is split between the Northern Territory and Queensland. The Barkly Tableland which runs from the eastern section of the Northern Territory into Western Queensland is known to have the best beef cattle grazing in Australia with 21 cattle stations including one at Lake Nash, otherwise known as Alpurrurulam, on the Queensland and Northern Territory border.
The Mount Isa region is expansive and also includes the following suburbs:
- Anthonys Lagoon
- Brunette Downs
- Bushy Park
- Lawn Hill
The local government is spruiking Mount Isa as the land of opportunity, so money is being spent for a reason. Buying property here may not be for the long term but there certainly seems to be a lot happening. Watch this space.