Monday, August 6, 2018

Longreach - Age of Dinosaurs Museum Winton - Bladensburg NP - Cloncurry.

Longreach - Age of Dinosaurs Museum Winton - Bladensburg NP - Cloncurry.

A lot of km, a couple of days and many sites were seen!

Left longreach early so we could make the 10am tour at the Age of Dinosaurs Museum. Got there with 5 minutes to spare!. Had forgotten that the full tour lasts 3 hours, but what the heck. At $50 each (seniors rate) tickets are not cheap, but we both reckon that we got value for money. The museum is a work of passion for a local farmer who stumbled on bones on his property and determined to establish a full museum and research facility. I recommend that you have a look at the web site and read up on the history and plans for this place.

We ran into the founder - David Elliott outside the reception area - sleeves rolled up and digging post holes for a new shadecloth that is being installed. It is clear from talking to the staff/guides that he is the driving force and an inspiration to all those who work there. He's abandoned farming to his family and the museum has become all consuming.

The location is amazing, perched on the rim of a "jump-up" mesa, with views to the north across the Black Soil Plains that go on forever.

The full 3 hour tour has 3 part. An audio visual introduction in the reception centre, an electric bus ride and guided walk on an elevated walkway along the rim of the jump-up. A lot of money has been sunk into the infrastructure, but they have plans for a full blown natural history museum on site!

The final 3rd of the tour is round the workshop / laboratory, where they have about 10 years worth of material waiting for extraction and preservation. Much of the work is conducted by volunteers. Not too many places in the world where you get to touch 95 million year old bones....

Tour over, a brief stop in Winton where - it being Saturday all the shops / garages are closed or just about to close. Stock up on fuel and food before heading out of town to the Bladensburg NP and the Bough Shed campground.

A lovely oasis on the banks of the Surprise Creek where there are a few waterholes in the midst of the arid countryside.

Only a couple of other campers - much quieter out here compared with the hordes camped along the creeks just outside Winton.

We spent two nights here.  The original plan had been to do a day trip down to Lark Quarry and the Dinosaur Stampede site. I'd been there last year but Celeste decided that we'd seen enough Dinosaur stuff and given our beautiful campsite - we should slack off instead and just enjoy our surroundings. An excellent suggestion that I was more than happy to accept!

A very windy start to today, so up at dawn, break camp with minimal breakfast. Winton bakery beckons with coffee and fresh apple turnovers.

Celeste had a wander down the main street, taking in all the sights.

Then back on the road to Cloncurry and Wal's Camp, our stop for the night. Hot shower and a load of washing and we're ready to hit town and stock up for our next section of the tour.

Tomorrow on to Burke and Wills Roadhouse then the Gregory Pub where we'll overnight before the last dirt road into Lawn Hill. Not sure what mobile coverage we'll have there. We're booked into Adel's Grove for 2 nights starting Wednesday. Should be fun.

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