Sunday, 10 November 2013

Jurassic Richmond

We left the lovely rural Barkly Homestead and headed off east on the Barkly Highway and towards the Northern Territory/Queensland border.

As we edged closer to the border the landscapes soon transformed entirely from the flat arid deserts to a more hilly arid desert. However, we did start to see more wildlife, in the form of the occasional emu family and kangaroo.

 We passed through Mount Isa expecting a big town as its always shown on the maps, but other than KFC, McDonalds, and Pizza Hut there wasn't much to it. So we kept on driving through the rural droving town of Cloncurry until we made it to Richmond.

Richmond is the beginning of Australia's Dinosaur Trail, as along with Winton and Hughenden, there have been a number of big dinosaur fossil findings in the area.

With the sunsetting we could think of no better place to stop for the night and even take a look at Richmond's dinosaur museum, Kronosaurus Korner, before we set off in the morning for Townsville.

Being cattle country we decided where better to grab a quick steak in a bar called the Mud Hut but being Melbourne Cup Day the guy must of misheard my Pommy (English) accent and the steaks came out well done! 

We were too tired to complain, and as we had planned to visit more of the dinosaur trail, after our visit to Magnetic Island, we knew we could come back through the area and get a nice rare steak from this beautiful cowboy country. However, for now we are going to get a good nights sleep and view the dinosaurs in the morning.

Once again we were treated to another truly stunning sunset while we set up camp on the hill overlooking a manmade lake and kangaroo covered field. It really was an Australian oasis.

We woke up in the morning with more vigour than we'd had over the last few days and decided to put this energy to good use by exercising our brains at the local dinosaur museum, Kronosaurus Korner!

Right outside of the museum is a massive life sized replica of a Kronosaurus, a marine lizard that millions of years ago used to swim in a vast lake in the area and a series of fossils of the creature have recently been found.

Jess used to collect old rocks and crystals as a kid, and I had only recently watched Jurassic Park, so we were both pretty pumped when we headed in. We paid for our tickets and slowly walked around this small but very modern museum.

It was really interesting for a number of reasons. Not only where the creatures themselves obviously very impressive, and its crazy to think that a huge sea used to be above the land that was now so dry but the museum itself had a different layout to most we had seen.

Almost all of the fossils were so new that they hadn't been properly examined and classified. So they were simply laid out on the floor in little sand pits with nice lighting and informative placards. The dinosaurs that had been newly discovered in the area had also been given beautiful Australian names like Wallysaurus* and Kronosaurus Queenslandicus.

Also the audio guide told various stories about how these local farmers and drovers had stumbled across the fossils and proceeded to dig them out themselves, without any help or training. Most just washed away the dirt with an old hose in their back garden. It was beautifully Australian and we loved it.

However, it was time to head off and head off we did. It was a simple 500km to Townsville, which was a piece of cake for us veteran long distance haulers. And despite some hairy kangaroo carcass covered roads, we made it to Townsville and magnetic islands in an uneventful fashion.

However, boys and girls thats a story for another day.

*may or may not been the correct spelling

1 comment:

  1. I had only driven two times in my life - never in a city - and I thought I would just buy a couple more lessons from the driving school after my package was done.
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