I would advise flying to Cloncurry, though this would depend on the departure point.
The bus from Brisbane take over 24 hours
Qantas however only flies to Cloncurry 3 days a week however dependent on the date a person flies the price can be only $50 more expensive than the bus. Although it can also be over $500.
There is also the option of flying to Mount Isa and travelling to Cloncurry from there which is about a 1 1/2 - 2 hour drive.
The Inlander connects Mount Isa to Townsville, stopping at various places in between.
Cloncurry has its own station not far from the centre of town.
One train a day to Mount Isa
One train a day to Townsville
. I travel a lot on these outback highways as I just love the country, its friendly people and these wonderful small country communities and towns.
There is one thing though to add to your list of "BE CAREFULS " out here and that is the roadtrains.. So many of these country roads and highways are not really all that wide and when these long heavy roadtrains come barreling down the highway I usually slow right down and give them as much room as possible even getting off the road if it is narrow..
These exceptionally long trucks some have as many as four trailers and over seventy wheels tend to "snake" when travelling quickly on the road , and they also throw up lots of stones..."Watch out for your windscreens!!!
Just be Careful and give them lots of room ...they can't stop as fast as you can !!!