Sunny start … the Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, arrive in Longreach. Photo: AP
A CROWD of about 1000 royal-watchers braved 39-degree heat in Longreach to snatch a glimpse - and for the lucky ones a touch - of Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.
The royal couple, flying in from Papua New Guinea, were greeted on the tarmac by Australia's, or at least Queensland's, political royalty, including the Premier, Campbell Newman, the Queensland Governor, Penelope Wensley, and the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce.
Prince Charles wore a cream suit with wide lapels and a maroon handkerchief. The duchess was quick to use her white parasol to shield herself from the scorching Longreach sun as she stepped from the plane.
First stop was the Qantas Founders Museum, where the royals met with the staff of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Prince Charles inaugurated a new aircraft for the service.
''I know we owe such a huge amount to the flying doctors during all of those terrible floods last year,'' he said.
Prince Charles is a patron of the service and said he was sad he could not smash a bottle of champagne to launch the new plane.
Only a handful of locals were at the airport to see the royal couple arrive, with many instead waiting outside the Stockman's Hall of Fame. Nine-year-old Jade Garland, who waited inside the terminal with her father and brothers, said she was excited to ''see someone famous''.
Later in the evening, Mr Newman donned an Akubra when he and his wife, Lisa, welcomed the royal couple to a traditional Longreach barbecue.
In what might be the most controversial move of the tour, Prince Charles and Camilla were offered XXXX Gold at the barbecue, which could reignite the age old debate: is it terrible or terribly good?
with AAP, Jonathan Swan