After packing up and waving farewell to our neighbors, who just happened to be old friends from church who moved away not long after Little Fish was born, we only made it 100m or so down the road for our first stop – the Musical Fence!
The fence can be “played” with sticks, complete with “sheet music” to play Waltzing Matilda. There are also several musical installations to make what I believe is politely termed music, but more correctly termed “unholy racket” – I’m just thankful Mini Minstrels doesn’t happen here or our enrollment fees would need to include earmuff hire! Once the smalls had given Winton a noisy send off, we hit the road and headed for the next corner of the triangle that forms the Dinosaur Trail – Hughenden.
The dino centre here we were a bit concerned about, as we pulled up at the tourist centre (which forms part of it the complex) and it looked very underwhelming, but once inside, it was just Fish’s cup of tea. The big life-size cast of a Muttaburrasaurus fossil helped that along, plus several displays of various plieosaurs and ichthyosaurs that had been found in the area – where Winton was an inland forested area, Hughenden was a beach on the northern reaches of the inland sea, so the fossils are generally of things that washed up on the beach. (side note – we skipped the third corner of the Dinosaur Trail triangle – Richmond, the under water area).
Moving through the exhibits, we found the back section was BRILLIANT for budding paleontologists like our little man – a large fossil touch table, and a big play area filled with dinosaur puzzles and games, and dinosaur stories. We ended up spending a lot longer here than expected, before deciding to go for a drive out to Porcupine Gorge National Park. The day was topping 31 degrees, and with only a one night stay planned, we didn’t want to set up the annexe, but our trailer was angled in such a way that the only shade we had was inside the tent – the air conditioned car seemed a much better option! And it was nice to check out some local scenery, though a lack of picnic tables at the lookout was a bit disappointing. But a drive through town on the way back found us a fabulous little park with great bike paths to hang out at for a bit.
Our return home saw us have enough time to have showers, and then we decided to go out for dinner, save unloading the cookers and pots and plates (not our usual plan for overnighters, but it worked for that night). With a population of 1200, downtown Hughenden wasn’t exactly a hive of activity on a Sunday night. Our choices were the roadhouse, one of the pubs, and the local Chinese. In the end, we decided to check out the Chinese restaurant (is there any small country town that doesn’t have at least one Chinese?). The benefit of eating early is we were the first ones there, and our food came out super quick, and nice and hot. As far as Chinese goes, it was pretty good (especially the steaming hot homemade spring rolls).
A quick packup and we were on the road towards Charters Towers and Townsville…