Outback Qld – “Dinosaur Trail” Winton

WALKABOUT CREEK HOTEL, McKINLAY (9/10/17) 

“Well, that’s not a knife….. this is a knife!!!!

We packed up in the morning and left Cloncurry and I drove again to the Walkabout Creek Hotel (south west on the Landsborough Highway).   This hotel was used in the Crocodile Dundee movie so we had a drink in this famous pub.

One thing we were told is that the Main Bar of the Pub is not the bar of the Movie, that is actually set up out the back.    We arrived here late morning and we were thinking about staying overnight but there wasn’t much to do here.   The pub didn’t serve lunch either, only had a dinner menu.    The bloody flies were annoying me LOL LOL so we decided to push on to Winton (nearly 3 hours drive south).    This was the first time that we encountered the flies buzzing around you constantly, god they were doing my head in.  Well, I suppose it was to be expected here in the outback!!!  So we had our drinks, took some photos and drove on to Winton.

WINTON  (9/10/2017 – 10/10/2017)

We continued on the Landsborough Highway and arrived at Winton late afternoon and checked into the Tattersalls Van Park for 2 nights.

The dust and the heat continues………     And the sulphur in the water smells like rotten egg.  Ewww…. (I did a couple of loads of washing but I had to re-wash everything in Longreach as all the clothes had a yucky smell because of the water!!).

We went across to the Tattersalls Pub for dinner that night.    One of the best pub meals I have had in a long time!!!!  And we got a free drink with our meal (part of staying at the park!!).

On Tuesday morning we had a walk around the town stopping in a couple of opal shops and the information centre.

We then drove out to the Age of Dinosaurs Museum for the afternoon.   I have to say that out of all 3 places on the dinosaur trail, this was the best one!!!   It was a 24 km drive from town out on the Landsborough Highway and then 11km on a gravel road up to the “Jump Up”.   There were 3 tours (Collection Room, Laboratory and the Dinosaur Canyon which took around 3 hours or so).

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“Banjo” Australovenator wintonensis

The museum has the world’s largest collection of fossils from Australia’s largest dinosaurs and a fossil preparation laboratory (most productive in the southern hemisphere!!).   There are staff and volunteers working on dinosaur bone fossils found in the Winton area.

The first tour is the Collection Room Tour.   It shows the only known specimens of Australia’s largest, and most complete carnivorous dinosaur – Australovenator wintonensis, nicknamed “Banjo”, as well as Australia’s most complete sauropod Diamantinasaurus matildae, nicknamed “Matilda” and Savannasaurus elliottorum “Wade”.    The displays of fossil bones were amazing.

After this tour finished,  we then drove to the fossil preparation laboratory for the 2nd tour.    During this part of the tour we had a guide who took us around the lab.   She talked about how dinosaurs were found and recovered and there were sea shells and plant fossils on display.      There were a number of volunteers working there preparing bones for research and display.    There were also a heap of fossil bones in plaster cast sitting on shelves waiting to be worked on.   Some of these fossil bones had been sitting there for a number of years still waiting to be prepared.

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The lab tour went for about 30 minutes and then we drove back to the Reception Centre where we stopped in the cafe for ice-creams and drinks and waited for the shuttle bus.  The shuttle bus was about a 10 minute journey to the Dinosaur Canyon for the 3rd tour.

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We had another guide take us on a walk through the canyon which showed various galleries containing life sized dinosaur exhibits which were:-

  • the Dinosaur Stampede exhibit representing the Lark Quarry stampede
  • the Pterodactylus Family exhibit
  • the Kunbarrasaurus exhibit – all three exhibits featuring life-sized dinosaurs cast in bronze
  • the Death in the Billabong exhibit and
  • the beginnings of a Cretaceous Garden, the Valley of the Cycads.

It was a very interesting tour and how they have tried to re-create everything is incredible, it certainly gives you a better understanding of how it was back then.    Apparently Dinosaur Canyon is the first phase of the main Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural history building.   Much more will be developed and built on in time.

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Kunbarrasaurus

There was another tour we could have done at the Lark Quarry Conservation Park which shows the Dinosaur Stampede (thousands of dinosaur footprints immortalised on an ancient rock face) but it was over 110 kms drive away and approx 65km of the road is unsealed so we decided not do the tour.   There was a small exhibit of this at the dinosaur canyon which gave us an idea of it would be like anyway.

We packed up on Wednesday morning and continued driving on the Landsborough Highway to our next stop at Longreach (around 2 hours drive).

(9/10/2017 – 10/10/2017)

 

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