Heading South to Longreach

I’m now in Longreach on the long ride south. Longreach is about 2000 k from home

As you may know New Zealand again won the Americas Cup…The brother of my “Niece – in – law,” Claire Worth, is the “Spar Designer” of the NZ Americas Cup team. What an achievement!

Well done Martin McElwee…

Holding the Americas Cup – Congratulations Martin McElwee

My journey south so far…

I headed for Townsville via Cairns (where I bought a new camera!)

In Townsville I stayed with my biker friend Rob Curtis. He had kindly contacted a few Kawasaki Dealers around the country and found the missing chain guide.

Rob Curtis with Azulo

We fitted it onto Azulo. It was good that we did as the old chain had quite badly damaged Azulo’s rocker arm (not sure if that’s the right name)

This piece of black rubber you can see in the photo protects the bike from further damage (This bit of rubber cost $95.00…they certainly know how to rip you off with the cost of parts don’t they?)

The black rubber chain guide now fitted

Townsville to Richmond, Hughenden and Winton

My next destination is the “Dinosaur Trail” ….It includes the towns of Richmond, Hughendan and Winton.

The little towns in rural Queensland are all desperately trying to attract the tourist dollar from the “Grey Nomads” who trundle around the country in their caravans…there are literally thousands of them….You hardly see a tourist under 65 here….

Richmond, Huhenden and Winton are heavily promoting their Dinosaur connections.

In Longreach there is a free caravan park (actually it costs $3.00 a day.)…. Its nothing more than a dirt paddock…there were some 500 vans in it. I should have taken a photo. I was told if you add the number of vans in all the other parks in Longreach, there would be some 1000 vans here currently!

Apparently last year they had some rain and the caravan paddock became a bog…the vans were running into each other…they had to close the park and those trapped had to wait till the paddock dried out!

Back to the Dinosaur Trail…

110 million years ago, Australia was separating from Antarctica and there existed a vast sea that stretched from what is today the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Great Austalian Bight…. It gradually receded trapping the marine Dinosaurs. The land at that time was forested with huge conifers. It’s hard to believe it could have been like that when you look at the dry sandy countryside that exists here today..

Richmond is a tiny “one horse” town that is home of the Kronosaurus Queenslandicus. The museum here has 10 complete dinosaur skeletons.  There is also a great film that brings these monstors back to life!

The Kronosaurus was a huge crocodile like monstor of 10 + metres that ruled the sea. it had jaws TWICE the size and strength of the largest Salt Water Croc of today.

Jaw bone of a Kronosaurus compasred with a Salt Water Croc

There are other dinosaur fossils here that are very impressive.

The highlight of the collection in Richmond is the amazing skeleton of a Plesiosaur

A Plesiosaur

Richmond has, of course an impressive Hotel and a tiny RSL. I love these country pubs.

Hughenden

110 Kilometres up the road, Hughernden, not to be outdone, also has a discovery centre with more fossils and re-creations. Hughenden ALSO has sculptures of dinosaurs all over town and I love the litter bins here (and in Winton)

A model of a Muttaburrasaurus

Hughenden also has a Hotel, but this one seems to be in desperate need of help…Its derelict at the moment. I hope someone takes it and restores it soon.

Winton

Winton is 200k south of Hughenden. There is nothing on the way except the Caulfield Pub..I couldn’t see anyhting else in Caulfield OTHER than the pub but apparently they have races here every year and thousands of people turn up.

Caulfield Pub

The lady in the Pub sold me an orange juice for $3.00 and told me how she was rushed off her feet today…I wondered why as I hadn’t seen any cars on the road and the place was empty…I didn’t ask  though!

Winton

Banjo Paterson who wrote Waltzing Matilda

Winton is famous for being the place where Banjo Paterson first played Waltzing Matilda in the North Gregory Hotel in 1895. The Hotel has burned down three times so the current Hotel only dates from the 1950’s.

Lyndon Johnson, US President in the 1960’s, also stayed there in 1942 after crashing in a plane….. I also stayed there but I doubt the tourist brochure will mention that!

Azulo at rest outside the North Gregory Hotel in Winton

Winton also has other Hotels of course!

The North Gregory Hotel also hosts a daily “Chicken Race”

It’s great fun. The chickens are all different colours and are auctioned off. I naturally bought a chicken for $30.00…the highest bid was $95.00, paid for by a little boy of nine…doubtless funded by his parents.

Tally board for the Chicken Race

My chicken won the following day! The nine year old’s chicken won, netting him some $200! He’s now a gambler for life no doubt!

Winton has become the capital of the Dinosaur trail and it is fabulous. A must see….There are two places to visit…”Lark Quarry” and “the age of the Dinosaur”

Lark Quarry is where they discovered what they claim is a Dinosaur stampede…95 million years ago some small donosaurs were drinking by a lake when attacked by a much larger Theropod…Footprints of dozens of dinosaurs have been unearthed. They are protected now in a climate controlled building.

Lark Quarry and the Dinosaur Stampede

The road to Lark Quarry is gravel and about 100k from Winton so I took a tour. It also diverted to see some of the countryside.

The “age of the Dinosaurs”  is a complex where they prepare the dinosaur bones. There is also many displays of different dinosaurs from the area.

The people working here in the Laboratory are volunteers. You can become a Dinosaur Technician (bone cleaner) for about $1000 and then come stay here and clean bones all day. I spoke with Kim in the photo. He is a retired Sydney IT Manager. He says it’s great…no staff, no pressure, nice company and lovely surroundings

Kim, the ex IT Manager cleaning bones

 

“Bango” the Theropod. A nasty piece of work was Banjo!

The Age of the Dinosaur is on a hill a few miles from Winton. It’s quite an awesome location

Longreach

Longreach has become a major tourist centre for region as evidenced by the 1000+ caravans here

Longreach is most famous for its two attractions…The Qantas Founders Museum and the Stockmans Hall of Fame.

However….There is now another contender for the Longreach tourist attraction crown…Outback Pioneers.

Outback Pioneers are owned and run by the Kinnon Family. They own a cattle station but the droughts forced them to find other sources of income to avoid selling the property. They have thrived and now run a series of excellent activities.

I signed onto do a Stagecoach ride and a River Cruise but got much more.

The day lasted from 12.00 to 9.00pm….It started with a comedy play recounting the story of Captain Starlight the cattle rustler. The two young Kinnon boys were the actors.

They both have rasping accents such as you don’t hear anymore and both boys (about 19-20 years old) have superb and quick senses of humour. All very Australian.

There then followed a “smoko” (actually a Devonshire Tea)

Then a film (a 1950’s “smiley” film…being a Pom I didn’t know the Smiley films but I was told they were popular in the 1950’s)….

Then a Stagecoach ride (driven by the Kinnon boys)….This was fabulous. Five horses rode us around the tracks for about 40 minutes and we even had an 800 metre gallop….

Then a big bus arrived to take us to the River (driven of course by the Kinnon boys

Then a superb sunset boat cruise on the Marshall River (the two Kinnon boys were the skippers of the two boats)

Then a stockmans dinner (the two boys served dinner and told jokes)   as well as an old bloke who told us some stories

Then a short film at a open air theatre by the river…The Kinnon boys were in the film…

Then tea and damper…served by …you can guess who…

Then we all sang the National Antham…and the Kinnon boys drove us back to our various places exhausted

A superb and brilliantly done day ,

The Qantas Owners Museum was also excellent, if less exhausting…. We had a tour through a 747 and the very first Qantas 707…I came out to Australia on one of those in 1970

 

Under a 747

707… I came to Australia in one like this in 1970

Catalina Flying Boat

Replica of Quantas early plane – Avro

At the time of writing this post I haven’t been to the Stockmans hasll of Fame yet. I do that today but I want to send off this post so sorry. Nothing about that!

After visiting the Stockmans hall of fame today i head to Barcaldine and then turn south towards home.

Bye fro now

 

 

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