We’d heard of this Dinosaur Trail in outback Queensland and I was disappointed we weren’t going to be able to see it. Well, with our new itinerary it turns out it’s only a skip, hop and jump up the road from Longreach so we’d be silly not to!
Before you get to Winton you can turn off for a visit to the Australian Age of the Dinosaur. The Museum is home to the largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils in the world. It is split between three facilities, the Fossil Preparation Laboratory, Collection Room and Dinosaur Canyon. It really is in the middle of nowhere but frankly there has been some remarkable discoveries here so why not.
Bec was our first tour guide, in the laboratory, and we’ll never forget her passion for dinosaurs, their bones and the discoveries and information they reveal. She was fabulous and super engaging. Volunteers come up to the museum every year to help process, clean and do all the painstakingly slow and delicate work required on these amazing fossils. It was wonderful to watch and learn so much.
Next we learnt about the two main and near complete dinosaurs found here, Banjo and Matilda as they are affectionately know. We are then driven out to the Dinosaur Canyon were the scene is set to walk through and view how it would have looked with the dinosaurs were walking around. The information boards are fantastic and the view fabulous. It’s much greener than usual has they have had rain and floods come through, but we’re told give it a week more and it will all be brown again.
The sun is setting now so we make our way to Winton to spend the night. We arrive in the dark and plan to leave first thing to visit the Dinosaur Stampede site. However Winton has more on offer that cant be missed. The Waltzing Matilda Centre. Turns out this is the place where Banjo Patterson first recited the poem before it was put to music.
Fire completely destroyed the original centre some years ago but the new centre is spectacular. What an amazing monument to Banjo Patterson and a song that is so legendary in our society. We loved out time here, state of the art, informative and engaging. Also was a great launch pad to get the girls to learn this song and for us to study it for homeschooling. After our unexpected but fantastic morning we made our way to the site of the Dinosaur Stampede.
It was well past lunch now and we just caught the last tour of the day. Also amazing! So, about 150 little dinosaurs got spooked by a larger dinosaur, (most likely wanting to catch its dinner), and a stamped ensued. All these footprints including the larger one (possibly Banjo), are beautifully and clearly set in the mud, as this was once an inland sea/river system. Amazingly what happened next is a combination of exactly the right minerals washed over these freshly made prints and has preserved them for all time. What are the chances.
It is a truly remarkable site to behold. The scale of it and I guess actually having before you some hard evidence of the time when dinosaurs roamed earth, in this exact place millions of years before. It gives you a sense of just how fragile a species, including ours is. We left full of awe, wonder and icecream. Lulu never misses a well placed or even hidden icecream cabinet!