It’s been a few days since you have heard from us… this time not due to lack of preparation, but due to being busy!
We had a day out at Age of Dinosaurs which was approximately 20km out of Winton, and the roads are all sealed. In 1999, David Elliott, a sheep farmer, discovered a giant femur from a Sauropod that roamed the Winton area 95 million years ago. The site is now home to a beautiful architecturally designed building which is a credit to David Elliott and his team. It is nestled on the “jump up” and blends in beautifully with its surroundings.
Our first part of the tour was in the laboratory, where we learned how they find and recover the fossils and we watched fossil technicians prepare dinosaur bones for research and display. We then headed to the collection room which houses the only known specimens of Australia’s largest and most complete carnivorous dinosaur (Theropod) “Banjo”, as well as Australia’s most complete Sauropod dubbed “Matilda” (aka diamantinasaurus matildae) and a Savannasaurus elliottorum called “Wade”. Here they show you the bones they have found and how they go together to form their identified species and you can see a visual display of how they would have walked and possibly looked and sounded. The next leg of the tour was to jump on board the Nobel Express Shuttle and head 2km down into the canyon, where there are beautiful galleries containing life-sized dinosaur exhibits. The kids had a ball filling out their guide to dinosaur canyon and particularly enjoyed the art rubbings. After a quick stop at the souvenir shop for dinosaur necklaces of course, we then headed back into town for a late lunch at the local pub and an afternoon of relaxation.
The next day we spent some time doing the all-important school work and washing. The washing machines were free at the Tattersalls Hotel Van Park and it was a beautiful sunny day, so we made the most of it!
After the chores we head to the new Waltzing Matilda Centre, where you will learn the story of Waltzing Matilda, Winton and the Outback region. The original centre burned to the ground in 2015 and was rebuilt and re-opened in 2017.
The museum is dedicated to the song “Waltzing Matilda” written by Banjo Paterson. When you enter the new centre, you can obtain a headset, which acts as your own personal tour guide (even more voices in my head). The museum also has an amazing visual and sensory experience called the “Billabong” where you can stand inside the light curtain and immerse yourself in stories of natural phenomena, hidden mysteries, drought and torrential rains.
After all that history we thought it was only fitting to head across the road to the North Gregory Hotel for some refreshments and an early dinner. Legend has it that this is where Banjo Paterson first performed his song Waltzing Matilda.
Our time in Winton came to an end and it was time to move onto the next part of our adventure. We decided that we would take a bit of a detour on our trek to visit the very famous Walkabout Creek located at McKinlay. This is the pub that became famous through the Crocodile Dundee movie.
After a quick drink and a few pictures with Mick Dundee, it was back on the road to our destination Julia Creek.
–Tina and Kylie