A journey through the footsteps of Australian dinosaurs! The Australian Dinosaur Trail!

This article has been republished with kind permission from Masao Miki @masaomickey and previously appeared on https://4wd-adventures.com/ originally written in Japanese.

The Australian Dinosaur Trail – covers an ancient inland sea area around 800km southwest of Cairns. If you look at a map, it’s almost in the middle of Queensland.

There are three towns around here, Hughenden, Richmond and Winton and the triangular area connecting them are the four attractions related to Australian dinosaurs. Visit these attractions on the Australian Dinosaur Trail.

What are the four attractions?

  1. Flinders Discovery Centre in Hughenden

Visit Hughenden –Outback Town, Endless Horizons

Come on a Journey with endless opportunities – Welcome to the Hughenden region. Located halfway between Townsville and Mount Isa on the Flinders Highway, North West Queensland.

2. Kronosaurus Korner in Richmond

3. Australian Age of Dinosaurs in Winton

4. Dinosaur Stampede National Monument

For those interested in visiting all four attractions, there is a great pass available via the Australian Dinosaur Trail. The pass is valid for 12 months and can be purchased online or directly in the field.

This time, we visited three attractions of Hughenden and Winton on a trip of 5 nights and 6 days, so we will introduce each attraction along with the situation.

There are two main routes from Cairns to Hughenden.

One is a 730km route from Cairns south of Bruce Highway to Townsville, then inland on the Flinders Highway to Hughenden. The other is a 590km route that goes straight inland from Cairns to Hughenden. This is a part of the road that is unpaved.

There was a time when I took this route from Hughenden to Andara. At that time, some sections were under maintenance and I had to drive slowly, but since it is a well-maintained road overall, there is no problem with ordinary cars.

This time, I took the highway and went via Townsville. On the first day of the trip, leave your home in Cairns at 7 am and head south on the Bruce Highway to Townsville. Arrived in Townsville around noon and had a picnic lunch in the park. Then we headed inland on the Flinders Highway for about 130km and arrived at Charters Towers at 3 pm. This day is a 500km trip from Cairns to Charters Towers

I’m staying at Charters Towers at a caravan park called BIG4 Aussie Outback Oasis Holiday Park.

BIG4 Aussie Outback Oasis Holiday Park – A modern caravan park in Charters Towers, 3km from the town. Nearby attractions include the Venus Gold Battery and the Miner’s Cottage.

We stayed here for one night, and as soon as we ate rice the next morning, we packed up our luggage and left. 250km further west from Charters Towers, we arrived at Hughenden.


Located 730 km from Cairns via the highway, Hughenden has a population of 1136 (from the 2016 census) and is a thriving cattle and sheep grazing town. 70 km north of the town centre is the Porcupine Gorge, National Park. I visited there two years ago and went camping.

The 27km-long canyon formed by the erosion of Porcupine Creek over hundreds of millions of years is truly breathtaking.

The Charm of Porcupine Gorge – https://4wd-adventures.com/porcupinegorge/

70km north of Hughenden. Porcupine Gorge National Park features a lookout overlooking the canyon, a pyramid campground, and a walking track to the canyon.

When I arrived in Hughenden, I didn’t go to the Porcupine Gorge this time, but to the Flinders Discovery Center in the town.

The Flinders Discovery Centre is located on the main street of the town and is easy to find.

However, the last time I was there they were doing road construction everywhere in the town. So I didn’t have the opportunity to stop in. This trip, the town is currently being expanded and is likely to grow even larger.

By the way, this Discovery Centre doubles as a tourist information centre and a dinosaur display & museum, as well as the information centre, is located just after the entrance, where you can find a lot of tourist information about the area.

Next to it was a small souvenir shop, and in the back was the Dinosaur Display & Museum. Admission is $ 5 for adults and $ 2 for children. (As of July 2021)

As soon as you open the entrance door, you will see a full-scale replica of a dinosaur called Muttaburrasaurus. The total length is 7m.

Muttaburrasaurus was a herbivorous dinosaur whose bones were found in 1963 near the area called Muttaburra, 220 km south of Hughenden, and it seems that teeth and bones have been found near Hughenden since then.

Many other fossils, such as shrimp, crabs, and shellfish that would have lived in this area, which used to be the sea, were displayed. Also on display were natural stones mined near here, such as Agate and Thunderegg.

Experience Australia’s popular outdoor leisure “Fosicking”!

Fosicking is a popular outdoor leisure activity in Australia. You can get a licence and enjoy mining various natural stones and gold in a certain area. Here, we will introduce the area in northern Queensland near Cairns and how it was actually experienced.

Since it is also an information centre as well as the Dinosaur Museum, there were various exhibits about the history of the town of Hughenden.

Speaking of grazing, the image of cows was strong, but I often saw sheep grazing here around Hughenden. It seems that sheep have a long history of grazing.

Later, I found a replica of the Muttaburrasaurus along the same street.

Muttaburrasaurus stands in a large vacant lot.

If I felt like I had seen it somewhere, it was the same as the one I was in the middle of a different street the last time I came.  

6-day Family Camp Trip # 2 Townsville-Hughenden

This is the second day of a 6-day family camp trip on the Easter Holiday in April 2019. We stayed at Holiday Park in Townsville on the first day, and from there on the second day, we stopped at Charters Towers to Hughenden. We had lunch and then headed to our accommodation on the second day.

We gave an overview of Australia’s Dinosaur Trail and an introduction to the Flinders Discovery Centre is one of the attractions, Hughenden.

We spent about an hour exploring the Dinosaur Museum and Information Centre. I think this is the amount of time required for this attraction. If you spend the day in Hughenden, you’ll be able to go here with a lookout and walking track for the Porcupine Gorge.

We arrived in Hughenden at noon, had lunch in a nearby park, and visited this Discovery Centre. I left Hughenden at 1:30 and headed for Winton from here.

I will continue next time.

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