Thursday, July 13, 2017


Trying to catch up before he cross the border into the NT.  Not expecting to have much signal in the next few days.
Our last day in Winton on Monday and we were keen to check out the Australian Age of Dinosaur as this is the home of the major dinosaur finds in Australia...

The park is situated about 11kms out of Winton up on a Jump Up. My goodness it was worth the drive out for the scenery along.  Absolutely stunning.  Combine that with the tours and it was a remarkable day,  one we won't forget in a hurry.  I'm afraid this post is going to have a photo overload.

We left the park around 8.45am and got there just after 9am, too late for the first tour so we booked into the 10am tour.  It was pretty good value $55 per adult and $50 if you are a senior.  The whole experience lasts for over 3 hours,,,

Entrance to the Australian Age of Dinosaurs
 We had almost 45 minutes until our tour started so we just spent that time having a look around and admiring the scenery near where the reception centre was.  All the buildings out here are built so that they blend into the environment.  They have done an excellent job.
The cafe area overlooks these amazing views...
Ian and Kathy with the view behind
Steve and I with the view
 For the first part of our tour we had about an 800m walk across to the "Fossil Laboratory".  this is where most of their work is done.  The sceney although not along the edge of the jump up went a little inland more but was equally stunning in it's own way.
twisted wood has it's own beauty with all the different lines
The tour through the Fossil Laboratory was quite fascinately.  We watched a small video to begin with and then our Guide Sarah gave us a brief history of how the Age of Dinosaurs started with a sheep farmer out here finding what initally he thought was a rock on his farm.  He had a bit of a geology background so thought it might be a bone so sent it off to Brisbane to be tested at the Museum.  The results came back that it was indeed a dinosaur bone and that is when everyone got excited and they all moved out their for the dig.

Today most of the cleaning of the bones is done by volunteers who initally pay to come out for the experience but those that do the 10 day course can then come out anytime for free and help out.  They stay in quarters on the premises.

This area is rich in dinosaur bones and at the moment they have over 10 years work with they bones that they have already found and preserved.
Steve in the fossil laboratory with all the bones have have been collected, preserved and tagged.
 The bones are collected with all the dirt around them and then preserved by wrapping them in alfoil, a sort of hessian material and then wrapped in a plaster of paris to preserve them until they can get to them.  They are then tagged by writing the site they were found and what year along with what they expect the bone to be... This are then bought into the fossil laboratory and worked on when they are got to,,,

Along with dinosaur fossils,  they also have collected some plant fossils found in the digs as well.

 These fossils have a story to tell also and lets them know what sort of the country the dinosaurs were living in back in the dinosaur times...
One of the casing cut open to see how they preserve the bones

one of the large tree fossils they have found
 They do know that this area was acutally a rain forest in the age of the dinosaurs and that the trees grew to incredible heights similiar to those down south. 
A case of fossils opened up ready for the volunteers to work on, 
They use drills similar to dentists to clean out all the dirt etc from around the bone fossils
volunteers at work. 
The size of the leg bone of the dinosaur they have named Banjo.
 This part of the tour took about 40 minutes and then we had just over 20 minutes to walk back to the main building to the Collection Room for the next part of our tour.  On the walk back we detoured to a lookout,  just because we couldn't help our selves, and we were awestruck with the beauty of the landscape.
Navigating the goat track back to the main walking track
Our tree hugger.  Steve loves the ghost gums out here  They are really quite stunning

 Part 2 of the tour included watching another couple of video's in the Collection room, mainly about the unique find of a  couple of the dinosaurs that they have found out in this region.  All the sites they have found so far are within a 200km radius of Winton.  We were also shown, how they get lost in the layers of black soil and how they go about digging them up and finding them.

They also had the bones of two unique dinosaurs found only in this part of the world.  One they have called "Wade" and I can't remember the name of the other...
Matilda's foot
some of Matilda's bones
bones of the new and exciting find "Wade"
"Wade's foot"
 Again this part of the tour ran for just over half an hour.  Once we were finished in the Collection Room, we were ushered outside where we caught a mini bus out to Dinosaur Canyon.  the bus ride took about 10 minutes and we were given a guided tour through the bus whilst the story of how they came to acquire the land on the Jump Up for the Museum. We were also driven through three different environments and plant life on the drive to the Canyon and these were all explained to us.

This next part of the tour was probably the highlight for me...
The Dinosaur Canyon has only been opened since April, so we were very fortunate that it was this year we were doing our tour and not last year...
amazing colours in the rocks.  These photos just don't do it justice
 Our guide took us for a walk along the board walk and explained the different galleries to us.  Each of them told a story about the find of the bones and the dinosaurs found in this region....
Our first visit was to the MacMillian Littlewood Gallery.  This exhibit shows dinosaur bones in a muddy billabong as they would have appeared in the age of the dinosaur prior to becoming fossilized in the Winton Formation.

 The next gallery we visited was the Denise O'Boyle Gallery.  this exhibit presented a small family group of Pterodactylus as they may have appeared in real life.
Denise O'Boyle Gallery
Pterodactylus as they would have appeared
all so real like and too scale
Just stunning scenery
 The next gallery we visited was the Wavish Family Gallery.  This exhibit featured 24 small dinosaurs leaping across a chasm to escape the clutches of a five metre long theropod dinosaur.  The models in this exhibit are based on known Australian ornithopods and small thereopods along with ichnofossils (trace fossils) found at the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument
 The last gallery we visited along this walk was the John Villiers Gallery.  This exhibit consists of three life size models based on the original skeleton of Kunbarrasaurus and depicts how this armoured dinosaur may have looked back in the years of the dinosaurs.

 We took our time wandering back so that we could just drink in the beauty of our surroundings..
Who ever would have thought that the bush could hold such charm.

 What a wonderful morning we have had,  we would recommend a visit here, it was worth every cent... We left here a little after 1pm, and headed back down into town...
We didn't leave without a final photo shoot up on top of the Jump Up looking out over the road coming up.
 It was back into town and off to check out the Bakery in Winton for lunch.  John and Barb had recommended it and John felt there sausage rolls were as good as any he had  had.
Unfortunately by the time we got there they had sold out of sausage rolls and we had to be happy with just their pies.  They tasted pretty good.

After lunch Steve headed off to Pinky's for a haircut.  He was a bit dubious about going to a salon called Pinky's but it was the only hairdressing salon we could find. She did a great job with his hair and proceeded to tell us that she was famous and her salon had been on TV, so he had to be happy that he had had his hair cut by a celebrity.

Our last afternoon in Winton saw us pay a visit to the Old Time Open Air Theatre behind the Information Centre....
The old canvas seats
Kathy trying to climb onto the World's Biggest Deckchair
The theatre
The projector.
 They still run movies here, one Saturday night per month.

 On our way home we popped into the craft shop.  A little expensive and different to the sorts of crafts we are used to. 
 It has been a great few days in Winton.  For a small country town, there is lots to do and see here... Possibly why the caravan parks are always packed jam full of vans and people.
Our last night we had a lovely Thai meal together and then back to our vans as we all had packing to do, emails to catch up on, blogs to write and we needed a pretty early night as we wanted to have an early start the following morning.
Good bye Winton, we will come visit again.

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