On the road again for another 400+kms run from Mt Isa to Winton. It is extremely dry and barren along this road and we struck bloody wind again. In spite of that we made good time stopping at a place called McKinley which, as its main claim to fame, the Walkabout Creek hotel. If that sounds familiar then think Crocodile Dundee fame. Apparently a number of films have been made here. A quick lunch and Winton here we come. Made pretty good time and pulled into the park about mid-afternoon for a 3 night stay.
A new day a new information centre which was our first stop on day 1. The Matilda centre as it’s known is a relatively new structure after the old one burnt down a number of years ago. It houses a museum, art gallery and a dinosaur museum, and a coffee shop. After collecting our info on what’s around we sat for a coffee and planning session. We meandered the main street and took in the street scape. We visited Willy Mars heritage listed Chinese market garden site which is being cared for by locals. Willie and his son apparently were institutions in Winton and highly regarded. The account of their involvement in the Winton community is quite extensive and continued up till early 2000. Next on the list was the musical fence to play a few (tuneless) tunes. By now it was mid-afternoon and time to go and relax. After dinner, for something different we discovered a nostalgic open air cinema which has been started up to demonstrate some of the early film projection technology. Was a bit of laugh the volunteers who have set it up are still learning the equipment (which is all original from the 40’s through to the 60’s) and so there were many bloopers still for $6 you can’t complain and it did keep us entertained for a while with a few laughs along the way.
Day 2 was our big day in that we headed out to the Dinosaur stampede at Lark quarry which was about 100kms out on bitumen and dirt. The find is the only known one in the world and is a major attraction. It is a public/private partnership between Queensland Parks and Wildlife, Winton Shire council and Dinosaur heritage. It is believed to be over 95 million years old and contains 3300 footprints of over 150 dinosaurs. The short story is they believe that is was a water hole and the dinosaurs were along the water and were interrupted by a lager predator which made them scarper in all directions. The prints were then somehow preserved in the rock strata and the first finding was about 1965. Well worth the trip if you are up this way.
Tomorrow it’s on to Longreach for at least 3 nights which is one of our shorter legs at 190kms.