Some places we've been and some places we're going.

Day 46 Hughenden

Fergus’ photo session yesterday for the Petasaurus Gallery at the Discovery Centre doesn’t seem to have turned his head, he interacted with the general public in his usual friendly way today. As I took him for his morning mini-walk around the Caravan Park I noticed a bright pink van I think will be familiar to many people. I’m not sure who owns this park but there is certainly a LOT of accommodation I’d say is aimed at FIFO workers. The Amenities Block and Camp Kitchen is like new over near the dongas (Atco Huts) etc. There’s quite a contrast between that accommodation and the cabins aimed at the general public.

We drove out on the Flinders River Byway and saw a kangaroo, the first for ages, also a flock of Black Cockatoos stripping a tree. There were beautiful big Eucalypts along the banks of the Flinders River but no sign of any water.

I think we found a source of many old fence posts, heaps of Gidgee Trees and also lots of Ironbark Trees.

The ingenuity of ordinary people often surprises me and today there were a few things, one was the Station marker made from old chains.

The Prairie Hotel was our lunch venue and we were the only customers unlike the hot day we drove through on the way to Hughenden when cars and caravans were parked all around it and people were sitting out the front drinking. There was one other person around, “Barefoot Bill” who has been living in his caravan out the back but was off to help at the Muttaburra Races. He thought he’d be back in about a week to help out at the Prairie Races. Alex enjoyed his big pie and I had a nice salad then we headed back to the Windmill Cafe in Hughenden for dessert. I had Passionfruit Cheesecake!!!!!! It’s the first place we’ve found that actually caters for Coeliacs and we didn’t find it until today, I have another treat in the fridge now to last me a couple of days.

Almost at sunset we went out to see a big old Coolibah Tree that was “blazed” by explorers and also people searching for them. Bark has healed around the blaze so it was difficult to make out anything but it’s supposed to be “renovated”.

We’re booked into the Tattersalls Hotel camping area in Winton for two nights but will probably stay for a third night if the setting is OK. Maybe we’ll even check out the Dinosaur Stampede. We’re heading south-west that means officially we’re on the way back home.

Day 45 Hughenden

This was another quiet day. We went to the Discovery Centre to see the exhibits and read information about the fossils and bones of dinosaurs which have been found in the area. The star of the show is Muttaburrasaurus, there is a model of it in the town and a representation of its skeleton in the Centre.

It was interesting to read that there are at least five theories for the extinction of the dinosaurs including a change in the plants growing, the newest ones couldn’t be digested by the dinosaurs used to feeding on ferns and palms.

There was a shearing display and also some pieces of Art in the Centre.

It’s odd walking along the main shopping street because it’s being upgraded and there are virtually no people about, the shops look closed but most are open. We walked around parts of town and I kept searching for slip-on sandals but it seems that thongs are the only type available and you can buy them anywhere from the Lolly Shop to the Hardware Store or Service Station.

Our biggest excursion of the day was the “Basalt Byway” a drive through various stations in a loop from Hughenden. I hoped to see some wildlife but I think everything was elsewhere. There were cattle and surprisingly we saw some sheep, a centre pivot irrigated crop of some kind and a sign on a property owned by a grape growing company.

Tonight as I was walking Fergus around the Caravan Park near the back fence I saw a painted tank we discovered earlier in the day. I had absolutely no idea we’d been so close to the Caravan Park and I suspect going by the direction he drove away from it that the Prado Pilot didn’t realize either.

Our neighbours tonight are an 85 year old woman who uses a walking frame and mobility scooter and her grandson. They have a trailer which is supposed to become Grandma’s bed but apparently she has too much stuff and there is an OZ tent. Campers come in all variety of forms. 🙂

There was a lot of movement from the Caravan park this morning including one side of neighbours, I hoped they wouldn’t be our neighbours again! Their AC with it’s vent on our side was going day and night even when the couple were off away somewhere.

The road from Charters Towers to Hughenden was busy, sometimes with lines of caravans and cars holding up semi-trailers and road trains. We stopped to buy a drink at a funny little Post Office/house at Pentland. Usually when you drive through a town the businesses are obvious with advertising and shop fronts clearly visible from the road. Pentland seemed different with only the Hotel obvious. The Post Office was like a home with lots of trees and shrubs out the front but at the front gate you could see the Post Office sign. It was also a General Store.

Prairie was the next small town with lots of quirky stuff around, the Pub had old equipment out the back and saddles on “hitching rails” out the front. We didn’t go in but I”m sure there was also plenty to see inside. Judging by a road sign Prairie isn’t as isolated as it appears.

About 25 kms east of Hughenden we saw a Windfarm and then acres of Solar Panels and a substation. Only one wind turbine seemed to be working so I guess there was plenty of power coming from the solar panels.

We’re set up in the Hughenden Caravan Park, the managers probably know who is going where in some of the sites but certainly didn’t in our area, it was a metter of finding an empty site. We decided we wanted to be in the shade of a big tree but in the afternoon as the sun moved we were quite exposed. Maybe next time we’ll be able to get a spot with our towbar pointing south, that will give us most shade where we want it. We’re here for three days, today was 34 deg.

We went to the pub and enjoyed a nice meal. Fossiker Pete and Jenny are here in the Park but it was in “town” that we saw them and had a good chat. They came here for 5kgs of Cheese and Vegemite flavoured sausages from the Flinders Butcher Shop but were disappointed they only had Sweet Chilli and Cheese! Their grandkids in Tassie will be disappointed.