For us, our arrival at Hughenden meant two things. Firstly, we were just over half way through our fantastic holiday. Secondly, for the first time in over a week, we would be heading towards home, rather than away from it. It was all going way too fast.
We started with a visit to the Flinders Discovery Centre and Museum, right in the heart of Hughenden. It’s rare to be able to actually take the time to read what’s on the wall of a museum when you’re attending with kids, but in this case, the kids were more than happy hopping around in the costumes they found in the kids play area.
Hughie is the star of the museum, he has been cast from the bones of the famous Muttaburrasaurus, found about 50 years ago. In the photo of Hughie below you’ll see information on the walls and it’s a really interesting read. You’ll have time to read because of….
… this. Smack in the middle of the Information Centre is a fantastic play area for younger kids. Ours were entertained for about 2 hours, only coming to find us to show us various toys, books and costumes.
Allow 1 to 2 hours and you’ll learn all about the history of dinosaurs and all about the local area.
In the centre of Hughenden, you’ll find “Mutt” the dinosaur, places to eat, a pretty cool kids playground and…
… the Federation Rotunda (see that windmill looking thing in the background of the image below?)
After a day in Hughenden, we headed to Mount Walker. We’d been told that THIS was the place to see the perfect Outback sunset.
While we were waiting for the sun to set, you’d think our kids had never seen rocks, the sheer joy that came from throwing rocks of the cliff initially had me a little baffled. And then I thought about it. Sadly, this was possibly the first time in their little lives that they were throwing rocks without consequences… “put that stick down honey… no, don’t throw rocks, it’s dangerous” is a phrase that comes out of most city Mums’ mouths on a regular basis. In our defense, there’s usually a car, a window or other children within a few metres.
The freedom of being in the country!
As we were waiting for the sun to go down, the ladies from the Flinders Discovery Centre were horrified to tell us that due to the amount of cloud coverage, the sunset was going to be disappointing… which never happens (it had just rained nearby, for the first time in a very long time).
Ahhhh, ok then, well if THAT’S disappointing, I’d love to see a spectacular one!
Whilst in Hughenden, we stayed at the Hughenden Allen Terry Caravan Park (which also has a swimming pool next door), and spoke to the lovely owners who allowed us to change our booking from a camping space to a 2 bedroom cabin (due to sick children). They were very knowledgeable about the area and their service was second to none.
Upon checking out they spoke to us about the next leg of our journey, and after finding out we were two city chicks (with kids) who had left their hubbies at home, proceeded to give us a safety talk in regards to the next leg.
Tip 1 – have tyre air pressure checked by local service station. Check (thanks… I had no idea I should do that!)
Tip 2 – make sure you understand what you’re about to drive on if you take the most direct route to Barcaldine i.e. through Muttaburra, and get fuel first.
Thank you Hughenden Allen Terry Caravan Park, your hospitality will never be forgotten.
Driving from Hughenden to Muttaburra
I’m one of those people you always see in a hurry, it’s usually about the destination and not the journey. To date, the highlights of our trip have been the towns themselves, the attractions… well this leg of our journey changed my perspective.
I think you need to watch the video to understand, it showing snipets of the road (see below), but in summary, we drove for hours on end … basically through dirt and a very dry country (not towns), yet somehow every few minutes the road was slightly different, the scenery was slightly different, we had a smile on our face the whole time.
All of a sudden we were seeing kangaroos jumping around, and given there weren’t many trees blocking our view, we weren’t so afraid to hit them, there were windmills and all kind of driving challenges (at one stage it felt like we were driving on sand, it took me a little while to figure out to handle the car, which the kids found hilarious).
I know it sounds strange, but the 3 hour drive between Hughenden and Muttaburra was probably one of the most memorable parts of our trip (not just because we stopped the car to film our video blog with Gangnam style blaring on the stereo, only to discover 6 kangaroos hoping across the horizon perfectly in tune).
But then, the day’s journey turned bitter sweet. We hadn’t seen another car in the last hour, or many houses and it would have been about half an hour since we’d crossed a creek. We drove past a horse and pony, the horse looked thin and the pony’s hair was all matted. We slowed down and kept driving. Then we stopped. Shakira and I looked at each other… we had to go back.
We pulled over and gathered up all the spare water in the car and poured it into takeaway containers and managed to gain these poor creatures trust. The skinny little guys drank and drank and drank. We raided the car for apples and they ate out of our hand.
We lingered for a while, it felt so cruel to leave them, I guess this was the point that the seriousness of the drought in the Outback really hit home.
So we hopped in the car, put our sunglasses on and drove on. Not looking at each other.
We arrived at Muttaburra where the kids were really excited to get out of the car and stretch their legs before we rushed on to Barcaldine (we were in a hurry to be off the road by sunset).
We visited Hughie, the Muttaburrasaurus and were amazed at how “all of a sudden” this place had green grass!
There were kangaroos all over the park, and they had plenty of water to drink.
And that made us happy again.
Next stop, Barcaldine!