We finally made it to Winton, the start of The Dinosaur Trail. I think the kids half expected to see dinosaurs roaming the streets, I’m not 100% sure that our kids fully understood what “The Dinosaur Trail” really meant. All I know is that Winton was the place that was responsible for my 5 year old boys thinking that it’s okay to lick 100 million year old fossils. I’ll explain later.
If you missed our first few articles, we’re on a 14 day road trip in Outback Queensland, two Mums, three 5 year olds and one SUV packed with “stuff”. You can catch up on our journey here:
The Musical Fence
In the city we like to spend a fortune on playgrounds, they are all brightly coloured with lots of things to climb on and slide down, the grounds are coated with nice protective surfaces and …. *yawn*.
Not here, we’d never seen anything like this and it was seriously the coolest playground I’ve ever seen in my life, packed with musical instruments made out of rusted spare parts.
The only down side is having to come up with a way to kick your kids off the drum kit so you can have a turn!
Lark Quarry Dinosaur Trackways
The Lark Quarry dinosaur Trackways is roughly a 2.5 hour drive from Winton. Matilda Country Tours offers a half day tour which takes you there in a bus, letting you stop along the way to explore the spectacular landscape.
Most of the 2.5 hour journey is on a dirt road, our SUV coped just fine.
I’m not sure why, but we were adamant that we needed to find a windmill (somewhere in the outback) and get a cool photo with the kids. This was the place.
When you arrive at Lark Quarry, take a moment to admire the surroundings, 100 million years ago, right in the place that you’re standing, dinosaurs used to be roaming around on earth.
The shed like structure that you see below houses the stampede footprints, the ground hasn’t been chopped up and moved, a shed has been constructed over the footprints to preserve them.
Inside, the view is spectacular.
The guide shines a light on various footprints and paints a visual image of exactly what was going on in the stampede and explains how scientists have figured out this information.
There are big prints and little prints, he talks about the direction that they were heading and *gulp* explains why some prints simply all of a sudden “vanished”. Bye bye little guy.
If you’ve been on holidays to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge to admire our most famous Australian National Monument… I’m sorry, you headed in the wrong direction. In my lifetime I’ve seen thousands of bridges, but this was the first time I’ve seen the worlds biggest dinosaur stampeded. Now THIS is what Australia should be putting on postcards!
Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum
The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum is the place where all of the action happens. This is the place where they store and clean up the dinosaur bones found in the region.
The tour starts in one building, where the paleontologist gives you all of the history on Australian Dinosaurs and you’ll start to understand “Banjo” and “Matilda”, two famous Australian dinosaurs.
Our tour guide reminded me of “Ross” from Friends :).
After the tour there’s a little coffee shop where you can grab a snack before heading to the second building…
… which is a short walk, or a really short drive away.
The second tour talks about the fossils, how they are stored and ….
… explains how the fossils are cleaned.
The people that you see in the photo below are volunteering, they’ve been trained on what to do and they are helping to clean the fossils. This is actually an experience that older kids can do on the school holidays! Pretty damn cool.
Out of all of the amazing information shared at this place, the one thing our kids remembered was a statement made by our tour guide, “… if you find a fossil on your dinosaur dig and you’re not sure if it’s a dinosaur or something else, simply lick it, if it sticks to your tongue, it’s a dinosaur fossil”.
Thanks for that buddy… we were off to Richmond to do the dinosaur dig next, “don’t lick 100 million year old dinosaur fossils honey, it’s gross” is a statement that my parenting books never warned me I’d need to use.
North Gregory Hotel
The North Gregory Hotel was the place that Banjo Patterson first performed Waltzing Matilda in 1895.
We stood in front of an old piano in a dining room, the place where the performance happened… a place of Australian History….
…. then headed out the back and had a glass of wine while the kids played in the play area for an hour. We sat there, waiting for the sunset, so we could drive up the road and take pictures of the kids, a sunset and a field. Why? Because the outback is the most spectacular backdrop you’ll ever find.
When you read about it as being a Winton attraction, they’ll tell you all about this crazy fence (that will amuse your children).
It’s jam packed with “stuff” which the kids thought was hilarious.
What they don’t tell you about is the amazing gardens next door, absolutely gorgeous.
Now… before you go, please head to the Tattersalls Hotel and grab a beer, a wine, I don’t care, that’s not why you’re there.
You need to pickup “The Steak Sanga”…I swear the food tasted better out there….
… then sit back and enjoy this amazing country town…
… next, we’re digging for dinosaur bones in Richmond.