WE are really settling into holiday mode now. It has taken us a couple of weeks but we are starting to get the gist of this relaxing thing. It has been enjoyable spending quality time with the family, especially the kids, as being a fishing guide I tend to work seven days a week and miss a lot of weekend sport, dance concerts and little milestones the kids go through while growing up.
So having a break and doing some cool things with the kids has been fantastic. Initially, we were chased out of Lucinda by tropical cyclone Owen. We wanted an extra couple of days to prepare but knew if we waited any longer we may have been flooded in and unable to leave for another week. So we decided to get on the road and overcome any obstacles along the way.
Just as well, as Halifax just down the road from Lucinda now holds a rainfall record, with 681mm of rain falling in just 24 hours. Now that’s raining! Our first destination was Porcupine Gorge, just north of Hughenden. Wow, wasn’t Porcupine Gorge amazing? The gorge stretches over 100km long, with fantastic scenery and lookouts along the way as well as challenging walks including one to the bottom.
It was billy goat country but the swim at the bottom was well worth it. That feeling of being so small in a huge canyon with incredible rocky outcrops was really breathtaking. I think Porcupine Gorge would give the Grand Canyon a run for its money, but hey, I haven’t seen the Grand Canyon! It was pretty spectacular.
We stayed in the Porcupine Gorge National Park, which was very pleasant, with plenty of kangaroos hopping around the campsite.
We had long-drop toilets but no showers or water. From there we headed into Hughenden to start the Dinosaur Trail and the kids were super excited.
Dustin is 11 and Bridie is nine, so they are at a great age for this type of experience because they are able to do the big walks on their own and will remember it later in life.
Hughenden has a great information centre and display in its museum and the kids found it very enjoyable. They loved the life-size skeletal replica of a 7m Muttaburrasaurus dinosaur ‘Hughie’ on display. You can buy a pass for the four sites, which costs about $215 for a family of four. From Hughenden we headed over to Winton to the Australian Age of Dinosaurs.
The Age of Dinosaurs is set up on a big parcel of land on a jump-up about 20km southeast of Winton. This place was truly incredible, with absolutely amazing displays and a huge number of dinosaur bones that had been recovered in the black soil country around Winton along with incredible information on the digs.
And of course there was the hands-on experience.
Over coming years this place will become even more spectacular as those involved are continually expanding the museum with more displays and more dinosaur-related things to see and do. The tour was fantastic and the people running the show were wonderful.
All the kids, not just ours, were in awe.
Lots of dinosaurs were mentioned but hey I’m just a fishing guide, so I can’t remember half of it, but I still really enjoyed myself. However, the kids remember all the dinosaur names and what they saw. It’s funny, as you get older it gets harder to remember things. From Winton we headed across to Richmond and Kronosaurus Korner, which had another fantastic display of dinosaur fossils, the most remarkable being Penny the Polycotylid which is the most complete vertebrate fossil in the world.
The self-guided audio tour detailed the history and origin of each display, which was very informative. Due to the kilometres we have been driving to different displays on this trip, we have found the WikiCamps Australia app to be awesome. It searches for free camps on our driving path. However, if you want to free camp it is important to be prepared for the trip and be completely self-contained.
This probably isn’t the best time of year to conquer the Dinosaur Trail, with extreme heat waves of 40C-plus and night-time temperatures in the 30s. It was great to be able to have a generator and air-conditioning running at night to get a good night’s sleep. Make sure you have lots of water on hand because we were drinking close to 20 litres of water.
June/July would definitely be a great time to do to it but this would be the peak time and you’ll encounter loads of other people. At least by doing the trip in summer we didn’t see too many other people and really got a great experience. I hope this gives you inspiration to go out and hit the Dinosaur Trail.
Not only did the kids have a great time but us parents enjoyed it too!
It’s off to the next location for us.
Until next month…