Our next trip was to Outback Queensland along the “Dinosaur Trail”.
We left Mena Creek on Tuesday morning and followed the Bruce Highway down the coast and veered inland at Townsville along the Flinders Highway. We stopped overnight at Reid River Rest Area.
And how the scenery soon changes from lush green to dry and brown!!!!!!! Various shots of the road and landscape surrounds along the highway!!!!
HUGHENDEN (4/10 – 5/10) – GORGE & DINOSAUR COUNTRY
On Wednesday morning we continued inland on the Flinders Highway travelling through Charters Towers until we arrived at Hughenden (our first stop in the Dinosaur Trail). Oh boy, it was very dry and very hot!!! We checked into the Hughenden Terry Allen Caravan Park for 2 nights. After we set up, we had a drive around the town, and then popped into the information centre to get some brochures about the dinosaur trail and then back to the caravan park . The park was next door to the local pool so we had a swim there to cool down.
On Thursday morning (Andrew’s 38th Birthday!!!!) we went for a drive on the sealed Kennedy Development Road out to Porcupine Gorge National Park. It’s “Australia’s Little Grand Canyon”.
After travelling for about 17 kms we pulled over to where there some creek beds passed under the road. At these gullies you can find Belemnite fossils (parts of an ancient marine creature which are 100-110 million years old). The belemnites became extinct about the same time that the majority of the dinosaurs disappeared. This is believed to be at the end of the Cretaceous Period, some 65 million years ago. Today, their living relatives are the squid and cuttlefish. We started digging around for awhile but couldn’t find anything so we hopped back into the car and continued on.
Porcupine Gorge National Park extends for more than 25 km along Porcupine Creek. The Pyramid Campground is around 74 kms north of Hughenden. The campground is situated on the upper level of the gorge and is the starting point for the 1.2 km walking track which leads down into the gorge.
In the wider section of the gorge, the creek has also created the Pyramid. It’s an isolated monolith of multi coloured sandstone rising from the floor of the gorge, shaped as its name suggests.
We did the 2.4 km return “Pyramid Walk” down through the sculptured sandstone and to the deep pools for a much needed cool off swim and lunch. We had the place to ourselves, it was so beautiful and peaceful. After our swim, we then had the very tough walk back up the gorge to the top, fortunately we had cloud cover for most of the way. We had quite a few drink stops on the way and we made it back in around an hour. Mitchell did really well only stopping a couple of times for Andrew to carry him. Even though it was a hot and exhausting walk, we were glad we did it!!!!
After we arrived back in town, we had a drink at FJ’s Holden Cafe. What a great cafe, you walk in and step back in time with lots of Holden, Elvis Presley and old time rock n roll memorabilia!!!!
Then we stopped at the Flinders Discovery Centre and had a walk through their museum. It was a small historical museum but it was only $5.00 per adult.
In there they had a full skeletal replica of the Muttaburrasaurus Dinosaur (7 metres tall) as well as other fossil collections, light and sound show on the formation of Porcupine Gorge and memorabilia on the history of Hughenden. Thousands of fossil specimens from the Cretaceous Period have been found around the Hughenden district.
Muttaburrasaurus is a dinosaur which lived approximately 99 and 112 million years ago during the early Cretaceous Period. It was first discovered in 1963 at Rosebery Downs Station, Queensland, Australia by Doug Langdon. The name of this dinosaur means “Muttaburra lizard”, a reference to it being discovered in Muttaburra, Queensland.
On Thursday night we walked into town to the Royal Hughenden Hotel for dinner and drinks to celebrate Andrew’s 38th Birthday!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR ANDREW!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!