Julia Creek to Oondooroo Station (near Winton)

After a lovely couple of days staying at Julia Creek RV Park with our perfect camp spot right alongside the creek we set off on a clear sunny morning to head eastwards towards Richmond.

We’d enjoyed our little stay at Julia Creek RV Park and especially our socialising with our camping neighbours. We both love meeting people and hearing their life stories. One of our neighbours has spent a lot of time in the US going to music festivals and plays multiple instruments. He brought over a couple that he has made himself and we got to listen to the fabulous sounds of a ‘picking stick’ and a ‘cigar box guitar’. These fabulous instruments were beautifully made and it was a special night sitting outside under the stars listening to Tony picking out some familiar songs. What a clever man!

It was a cool morning, such a pleasant change after the heat at Adels Grove. The road eastwards was straight and the countryside was vey flat. The natural grasslands looked like good cattle country. There was lots of traffic including many road trains and many of those had four trailers. They create quite a wind and suction as you go past. The road was a wide one though so we didn’t have to leave the road to let those monsters go by.

Most of the way to Richmond the highway runs alongside a railway line and for quite a few kilometres the rail line was being repaired. Huge mounds of gravel and piles of new concrete sleepers were ready to be used. We came across where the crew were working and it was interesting to see how the rail line is lifted, the old sleeper removed, a new one put in place and then new gravel is put underneath and lastly, the line is lowered back down onto the new gravel bed. I haven’t seen that before.

We arrived in Richmond mid-morning and went directly to Kronosuarus Korner. Kronosaurus Korner houses the Information Centre, a cafe with toilets, and the fossil museum. We paid our entry fee for the museum then had a lovely morning tea in the cafe.

The museum displays many fine examples of fossilised marine reptiles and dinosaurs that once lived in the huge inland sea that covered most of inland Australia 100 million years ago. Kronosaurus was one of those and a life sized statue of one is out the front of the building. Richard was dwarfed by this massive creature. The massive jaws held rows of sharp teeth. It would have been a fearsome predator of the seas.

The highlight of the museum is the full skeleton of a 100 million year old pliosaur. Found in 1989. This precious piece of our history is housed in its own special glass display case with a life sized model hanging from the ceiling above it. It was another huge creature.

We spent a couple of hours exploring Kronosuarus Korner and recommend it to anyone with an interest in our earth’s history. It’s hard to believe that once Richmond was 40 metres underwater in the Eromanga Sea and these huge creatures swam above.

Richmond is a small town on the bank of the Flinders River, the longest river in Queensland. The river runs in ‘the wet’ but is mostly dry for the rest of the year. The town has a population of around 1,000 people. A recreational lake was constructed and named Lake Fred Tritton after a former mayor. The lake offers picnic areas, water skiing, fishing and swimming.

You can go fossil hunting just outside of Richmond. There are 2 Fossil Hunting Sites and once you have your permit from Kronosuarus Korner you can try your luck at unearthing a treasure. You never know you may find a new fossil.

On the drive into Richmond we couldn’t help but notice strange round rocks. These rocks, known as Moonrocks, are common in the area and range in size from a golf ball to huge boulders weighing several tonnes. They are found in the black spoil of the Downs country. Moonrocks are formed by the accumulation of limestone in the mud on the ancient sea floor. They are not fossils but can contain fossils.

We continued our journey eastwards to the next town on the Dinosaur Trail, Hughenden. The countryside was again quite flat open grasslands and we little signs of life apart from large hunting birds.

The Main Street of Hughenden was having a facelift with new kerb and guttering and brick paving of footpaths and centre medians. The street was blocked off to traffic so we had to go around the detour and park away from the shops and walk the short way back. After a snack for lunch, a sandwich for me and Chinese for Rich, I made my way to the Flinders Discovery Centre around the corner. The centre is home to the Information Center and a museum. It was a $5 entry fee to enter the museum and the first thing that greets you is a huge replica skeleton of ‘Hughie’, a Muttaburrasaurus. There are other fossil displays, a mini theatre showing a film on the formation of the earth and in particular the formation of Porcupine Gorge, located not far north of Hughenden.

There is a display called ‘Shearing the Stragglers’ and it tells the story of the demise of the sheep industry in the shire that once held over 1,000,00 sheep and now there are none.

Scattered around the town are sculptures by local artists. I found Darby the Dinosaur, a large wall sculpture of a Muttaburrasuarus, Leannosaur – a life sized sculpture of a pterosaur, and Ammonite sculpture made from windmill parts, and, of course, the huge sculpture of a Muttaburrasaurus.

The Federation Rotunda made from two huge Comet windmills sits in pride of place in the middle of the Main Street. However it was fenced off due to the street refurbishment so I couldn’t get a good photo. The two windmills are 20ft (6m) wide and were used to pump water at Bogunda Station for over 45 years. They make for an interesting sculpture.

Hugenden is another small town with a population of 1,136. It is also on the Flinders River and in 2019 a recreational lake was built to provide boating, fishing, water sports and picnic areas. Hughenden has a large RV park on the banks of the Flinders River but as the river was dry we decided to continue on and try to find a better spot.

Leaving Hughenden we headed south and on our east we could see the towering Mount Walker. Mount Walker, at 478 metres above sea level, is 152m above the level of the town. It is just 10km south of Hughenden and I’m sure the views from the top would be spectacular but the road is not suitable for motorhomes or towed vehicles so we’d give it a miss.

The road from Hughenden to Winton is a wide tar road but OMG it is a roller coaster of a ride along that road. We bounced up and down all the way to Winton. Again the countryside was flat open grasslands. The only thing to break the monotony was the occasional entry to a station or a large dam. We saw little signs of life. Nearing Corfield Rich excitedly pointed out a couple of emus near the fence on the roadside. They were the first emus we’d seen since around Bourke so long ago.

Looking in WikiCamps I found a farm stay along the Hughenden-Winton Road and thought we’d give them a try. I only had enough service to send a text so I sent a message to see if they had room for our 8m motorhome for one night and very quickly got a thumbs up reply. We turned off the main road onto a dirt track. We both commented that we wouldn’t like to be on that road if it had even just 1mm of rain. It would become impassable. However it was nice and dry and not too rough. After 7km along that track we arrived at the entrance gate to Oondooroo Station. We could see other vans camped from quite a long way away.

We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of green grass. They must had good access to artesian water out there. As we drove up to the homestead dogs barked and a young bloke wearing a hat came out to meet us. He introduced himself as Jason, the owner, and, after paying the fee, showed us where we could park for the night. We had a lovely stay at Oondooroo Station.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s