How much do you know about dinosaur history in Australia?
In this post, we will take you on an ancient journey to follow the footsteps of the prehistoric creatures that once walked on this ancient land. Queensland has one of the best dinosaur attractions in the world where you can see to see a wide range of dinosaur fossils or even full skeletons.
Trips like this are a great opportunity to bond with your family and learn all stories about dinosaurs. Pack your car, and go for a trip that will always remain in your mind.
Kids love to draw dinosaurs and listen to stories, so why not give them an opportunity to find out more about them.
In this journey we visit 5 dinosaur places in Queensland, so let’s start.
#1 Australian Age of Dinosaurs – Winton
The Australian Age of Dinosaurs in Winton has the largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils in the world. There are three places to visit inside the centre: Fossil Preparation Laboratory, Collection Room, and Dinosaur Canyon.
The museum is open 7 days a week in winter (1 April to 30 November) and 6 days in summer (1 December to 31 March).
How did it all start in Winton?
Back in 1999, David Elliott was mustering cattle near Winton and incidentally discovered a fossilized bone. That bone belonged to a Cretaceous sauropod that walked this area 95 million years ago.
Within the next three years, with the cooperation of the Queensland Museum, more fossils had been found. In 2002 a decision was made to establish a dinosaur museum at Winton.
Interestingly, in 2005, David Elliott was mustering again and found a new dinosaur site at Belmond. With further digging, later in that year uncovered one of Australia’s most complete sauropod skeletons.
There is much more to this story. Visit the Australian Age of Dinosaurs website for more details.
What is the future of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs in Winton?
The museum is a constantly evolving place. It is due to many new fossils being found near Winton every year. This only proves that the area has not yet been fully discovered.
The most exciting development upgrade is planned to be finished by the end of 2025. The Natural History Museum will be located 2 km from the main area. The new building will be 7000 square meters and 1800 square meters is allocated to exhibitions.
Also, there will be a public space with a gift shop and cafe facilities. The design of the new, impressive building has been modeled with a red-rock and rust theme is currently in the Reception Centre. The whole point is to make the new place very original, so tourists will feel like they move back in time.
Once everything is completed, the Australian Age of Dinosaurs will be one of the best places on earth to learn about dinosaurs.
What to see in the Australian Age of Dinosaurs?
Winton is located in the middle of Queensland outback, far from big cities. We recommend buying the Ultimate Dinosaur Tour and seeing everything.
What is the chance you will be here again soon?
The Ultimate Dinosaur Tour includes a guided tour of the Collection Room, Fossil Preparation Laboratory, the March of the Titanosaurs exhibition, and a self-guided walk through Dinosaur Canyon. Allocate 3-4 hours.
Collection Room – a small room where on shelves you see many ‘rocks’. They are actually not rocks, but rather dinosaur fossils embedded in a rocky material and conserved by wrapping the whole thing in plaster.
During the tour, the guide talked about how the fossils are extracted and what are the best ways to preserve them. Notably, it is still a lot of fossils on shelves waiting to be cleaned in the laboratory.
Fossil Preparation Laboratory – cleaning every single fossil takes many hours. The laboratory has many volunteers to help with this long and laborious process of cleaning. They use very accurately, like dentist tools to make sure they don’t destroy the fossil in the clearing process.
These people must be very patient as this is such a long procedure to clean just one fossil.
March of the Titanosaurs exhibition – walk among the digitally sculpted gigantic dinosaur – Titanosaur. Interestingly these huge sculptures have been made and transported to Winton from Thailand.
Dinosaur Canyon – it is a self-guided walk through a canyon of dinosaurs – a place where you can move back in time. It is like a small Jurassic Park with sculptures of many dinosaurs places in very authentic scenes that make you feel you are part of the action.
While you walk, you go past a family of winged pterodactyls and three armor-plated Kunbarrasauruses.
The Valley of Cycads is made in a Cretaceous style with ancient vegetation. The billabong shows how dinosaur bones looked before fossilisation.
The most dramatic part of the exhibition is the Australovenator chasing smaller dinosaurs. You really have to see it by yourself!
The Australian Age of Dinosaurs – Our impression
We were on the way to Darwin, and visiting the dinosaurs in Winton was a great decision. For kids, like Nell, it was an amazing experience considering that time she also played a dinosaur game on the computer.
During all exhibitions and guided walks, we learned a lot about dinosaurs and we were really surprised how many fossils have been discovered and how many are still somewhere in the ground.
We were also surprised, how much laborious work volunteers do while cleaning the fossils. It is definitely not a quick task, but thanks to people like that we can have dinosaur places and museums around the world.
We are planning to visit Winton again in 2025 when the new Natural History Museum is built.
#2 Dinosaur Stampede in Lark Quarry
Dinosaur Stampede is a very special place where an ancient dinosaurs story has been uncovered by the discovery of many footprints that are preserved to this day.
The museum is open 7 days a week in Winter (1 April to 30 November), and 6 days in summer (1 December – 31 March) with the exception of Christmas days (24 December to 28 December and 1 January to 3 January ).
The shortest way to get to Dinosaur Stampede is by taking a 110 km dirt road in a 4WD car. The road may be corrugated in places so additional care has to be taken while driving.
The Stampede is located in the Lark Quarry Conservation Park which is in the middle of the Australian outback, so don’t expect many facilities.
There is a guided tour where you witness 3300 dinosaur footprints scattered over the rock face, view animated exhibitions and movies, and listen to what really happened a long time ago.
Optionally you can also take a Spinifex Circuit, 500 meters walk to see the rolling hills of Mitchell’s grass downs.
What really happened 95 million ago in Lark Quarry?
95 million years ago Lark Quarry area was a lush, and green forest with a lot of water and many creatures like lungfish, mussels, and crocodiles.
It is believed that on the day, a long time ago, a herd of 150 small two-legged dinosaurs came to drink water at the lake. Some of them were as small as chickens, some bigger, plant-eating ornithopods, and some as large as today’s emus.
Shortly, the herd was approached by a bigger, meat-eater theropod (smaller than Tyrannosaurus). The theropod began to stalk and chase the other small dinosaurs. While they were escaping, they left a chaotic mass of footprints in the mud. After millions of years the footprints have been fossilised and today we can see them in Lark Quarry.
Dinosaur Stampede – Our impression
After seeing the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum, we camped for free at the Long Waterhole near Winton. The camping was at the river and there were only 2 other cars so we really enjoyed it.
The drive to Lark Quarry was smooth. The dirt road was very reasonable with minimal traffic and small corrugations.
Right there, we went on a 45 minutes tour to see The Stampede. All the footprints are hidden from the sun in a big hangar. There is a boardwalk that goes around the footprints so we could have a really good look.
All the dinosaur’s footprints looked very impressive, so much so, they were accumulated in such a small space. While walking we listen to the story so the whole experience was very real.
#3 Kronosaur Korner – Australia’s best marine fossil museum
Kronosaur Korner became Australia’s largest marine fossil collection museum not without a reason.
Richmond, where Kronosaur Korner is located, is situated in the middle of the Great Artesian Basin that covers parts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Nothern Territory.
Millions of years ago, this area was a big inland sea that was home to many marine creatures like reptiles, dinosaurs, pterosaurs, birds, fish, crustaceans, cephalopods, gastropods, bivalves, echinoderms, and plants.
The collection of nearly 1150 unique fossils specimens from the area around Richmond is really impressive. Many of them are donated by local graziers often discovered while mustering cattle. Recently, however, the collection has grown through many donations by guests and volunteers.
Among the ancient species, you find creatures like Kronosaur (huge crocodile-like lizard), Plesiosaur (described below), Platypterygius (larger version of today’s dolphin), Eromangasaurus (similar to Plesio but with a much longer neck), Protostegid Turtles, Fish, and Sharks, Pterosaurs (ancient flying dinosaur), Cephalopods (tentacle creature) and Moon Rocks.
Interestingly, because of the huge collection size, only 20 % of its specimens are on a display in the galleries. Also, it is worth noting that the primary function of the museum collections are mostly scientific meaning that many specimens are kept behind the scene for research, academics, students, and volunteers.
The museum is quite big, and to see everything properly you need to spend a minimum of 2 hours. It is open 7 days a week in winter and summer (shorter hours).
Penny the Plesiosaur – the most impressive exhibit
Plesiosaurs are big marine dinosaurs that lived during the Triassic era. They are very characteristic with long skulls, short necks, and a length of more than 4 meters.
The specimen in Richmond is a full Plesiosaur skeleton with a length of 4.25 meters which is relatively large in comparison to other similar species. It was discovered in 1989 at Marathon Station near Richmond.
Kronosaur Korner – Our impression
After seeing dinosaurs in Winton and The Stampede in Lark Quarry we drove to Darwin and spend two weeks visiting many places that we missed during our trip around Australia like Koolpin Gorge. We also visited our favourite hot springs in Mataranka.
On the way back we decided to finish our dinosaur trial and go via Richmond, and Hughenden.
The dinosaur marine museum in Richmond is the best place in Australia to see marine dinosaur fossils. We spent more than 2 hours going from one exhibition to another. It was not only seeing the specimens but also reading stories about them.
Our favourite was definitely Penny The Plesiosaur which represented the full skeleton, but there were other full skeletons for other marine creatures too.
Nell was also very curious and she was not bored at all. Museums like this can really encourage kids to learn more about dinosaurs.
#4 Flinders Discovery Centre in Hughenden
Hughenden is located in Flinders Shire, 115 km from Richmond and 380 km from Townsville.
Flinders Discovery Centre has an amazing exhibition of fossils and gems from around the world, but also a growing display of local fossils from the area.
There are more than 3000 specimens including many marine reptiles, sauropods, Pterosaurs, shells, molluscs, and fish from the Cretaceous period that are found in the Flinders Shire.
The main attraction is Hughie, the life-size replica of the Muttaburrasaurus which is located right after the entrance to the museum.
When did fossil discoveries start in Hughenden?
The first fossil discovery was an Ichthyosaur in 1865. Its vertebra was sent to the Museum of Victoria.
The year 1935 was plentiful of fossil findings when a full head of Ichthyosaur was found and later in the year, a skull of Kronosaurus.
Later, in 1963, a fragment of Muttaburrasaurus was collected from the cattle yard at the Thompson River, near Muttaburra.
Other discoveries include a large Sauropod in the 1960s and a jaw of Pterosaur in 2004.
It is possible to try to find your own fossil. Contact the Flinders Discovery Centre in Hughenden for a map and directions.
Flinders Discovery Centre – Our impression
We were able to complete Kronosaurus Korner and Flinders Discover Centre in one day. As I mentioned we were on our way back from Darwin so we stopped in Mount Isa for a night.
In the morning, we drove for a few hours to Richmond, and after spending there more than 2 hours we hit the road again to see the fossils collection in Hughenden.
The museum in Hughenden is much smaller than the one in Richmonds, but it also has an awesome collection of fossils.
We were able to complete the tour in Hughenden within 1 hour.
#5 Muttaburrasaurus Interpretation Centre
This small Interpretation Centre is where you find a full replica of Muttaburrasaurus Langdoni. Its remains were found by a local grazier, Doug Langdon near the Thompson River, near Muttaburra.
It was the second most complete dinosaur skeleton found in Queensland.
Muttaburrasaurus was a plant-eating dinosaur that walked on this land 100 years ago. Its fossilized remains have been moved to Queensland Museum in Brisbane.
The centre also houses a small display of different dinosaur ages, with stories and discoveries that happened in this area.
Muttaburrasaurus Interpretation Centre – Our impression
Unfortunately, we did not know about this place as it was not well advertised and even no bloggers mentioned this place.
We were so close to it and we missed it!
Muttaburra is not part of official Australia’s Dinosaur Trial so it is not mentioned on many websites.
We want you to know about it so when you are about to tackle the Queensland Dinosaur trail you see all the places during your trip.
Places like this give visitors authentic and new experiences of the Australian outback and its ancient dinosaurs history.
5 Best Dinosaur Attractions – Summary
Planning, driving, and visiting all five dinosaur places can be one of the family trips you never forget.
Before seeing the museums, fossils, and replicas we did not know that Queensland is so reach with dinosaur discoveries. And the most important thing is that scientists and volunteers still work on bringing more fossils from the ground.
We also learned it is such laborious work to uncover just one simple bone. We should be thankful for all volunteers who work in the Australian outback helping with this process.
Thank them we can now visit many interesting dinosaur museums and learn about their history.
Below you find sample itineraries from Brisbane and Cairns. We also listed places that we stopped when we were doing our Dinosaur Trial. There is a long way to drive, so it is always best to rest and enjoy the Australian outback before moving to the next attraction.
Sample itineraries to tackle Queensland Dinosaur Trail in Queensland
There are many ways to drive this dinosaur trail. With the exception of Lark Quarry, you don’t need a 4WD car. Every day we usually drive between 4 to 6 hours, but if you think it is too much, split the distance in half.
Driving from Brisbane Itinerary
|Destination||Trip days||Distance||Where to stay|
|1||490 km||Drive from Brisbane to Roma.|
Stay at Meadowbank Museum Farm Stay, 12 km west from Roma.
|2||550 km||Lara Station Wetlands|
Enjoy 60 degrees hot springs next to the lake.
|Australian Age of Dinosaurs in Winton||3||310 km||Drive to Winton. The museum is located 26 km east of Winton.|
Visit the Australian Age of Dinosaurs in Winton.
Stay for free at Long Waterhole 4 km of Winton.
|Lark Quarry Dinosaur Trackways||4||136 km plus 136 km back to Winton|
|Go for a 4WD drive from Winton (it is a dirt road). |
Visit Dinosaur Stampede National Monument.
Go back to Winton and stay in Bough Shed Waterhole Campground, behind the pub in Winton or book a hotel
|Kronosaurus Korner in Richmond||5||230 km||Follow Landsborough Highway, turn right after 105 km onto Richmond Winton RdVisit Kronosaurus KornerStay in Lakeview Caravan Park or book a hotel|
|Flinders Discovery Centre in Hughenden||6||115 km||Follow Flinders Hwy east for 115 km.|
Visit Flinders Discover Centre.
Stay in RV Free Camp or Allen Terry Caravan Park
Optionally you can do Day 5 and Day 6 in one day
|Muttaburrasaurus Interpretation Centre||7||211 kmplus150 km to Barcaldine||Visit the Interpretation CentreDrive to Barcaldine.Stay in Barcaldine Tourist Park or book a hotel.|
In the evening visit Barcaldine Tree of Knowledge.
|Sapphire||8||286 km||On the way to Sapphire stop at Alpha to admire 27 murals that are painted on town walls.|
In Sapphire go on an Underground Tour and learn about sapphire mining.
Stay in Sapphire Caravan Park or book a hotel.
|Miles||9||550 km||Drive to Miles.|
Stay in Miles Cross Roads Caravan Park.
In the morning visit Miles Historical Village Museum the finest historical village museum in Australia.
|Brisbane||10||340 km||Drive back to Brisbane|
Driving from Cairns Itinerary
|Destination||Trip days||Distance||Where to stay|
|1||260 km||Drive to Undara Experience.|
Go on your cave tour (book in advance).
You can stay in Undara for at least three days as it is a great place to explore.
|2||330 km||Drive to Porcupine Gorge.|
Enjoy sunset at the Gorge Lookout.
Stay at Pyramid Camping Area.
If you like hiking stay in the gorge for a few days and fully enjoy it.
|Flinders Discovery Centre in Hughenden||3||64 km||Drive to Hughenden.|
Visit Flinders Discover Centre.
Hit the road again and drive to Richmond.
|Kronosaurus Korner in Richmond||3||115 km||Visit Kronosaurus KornerStay in Lakeview Caravan Park or book a hotel|
|4||230 km||Take Richmond Winton Road and drive to Winton. |
Stay for free at Long Waterhole 4 km of Winton or behind the pub in Winton or book a hotel.
|Lark Quarry Dinosaur Trackways||5||136 km plus 136 km back to Winton |
|Go for a 4WD drive from Winton (it is a dirt road). |
Visit Dinosaur Stampede National Monument.
Go back to Winton and stay in Bough Shed Waterhole Campground, behind the pub in Winton or book a hotel.
|Australian Age of Dinosaurs in Winton||6||26 km||Visit the Australian Age of Dinosaurs in Winton.|
There is a lot to see.
We recommend driving back to Winton and staying for free at Long Waterhole 4 km from Winton, behind the pub on booking a hotel.
|Muttaburrasaurus Interpretation Centre||7||200 km plus 210 km||Visit the Interpretation Centre|
Drive to Hughenden (there are sealed and unsealed sections).
Stay in RV Free Camp or Allen Terry Caravan Park.
|Charter Towers||8||250 km||Drive to Charter Towers.|
Enjoy the sunset at Towers Hill Lookout.
Visit Venus Gold Battery.
Stay at Dalrymple Tourist Van Park.
|Paluma Range National Park||9||200 km||Drive to Paluma Range National Park.|
Enjoy lookouts and hiking. Stay more than one day to fully explore the park.
Stay at Jourama Falls or the Big Crystal Creek Camping Area. (book online here).
Read about our visit to Paluma.
|Babinda Kayaking||10||290 km||Drive to Babinda.|
Take your Babinda Kayaking self-tour (book in advance).
Read about our experience in Babinda Kayaking.
|Cairns||11||60 km||Drive to Cairns.|
We hope you find all the information and itineraries about our best dinosaur attractions useful for planning your Extended Queensland Dinosaur Trail trip. Feel free to drop a comment or ask us anything via the Contact page of social media.
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4WD Equipment Checklist
Tire Repair Kit – to fix the tire by yourself when you don’t have access to the tire shop (we use Oztrail)
UHF Radio – for communication with your mates and in emergency
Full Recovery Kit (with Dampener Blanket) – must-have if you are going on real off-road
High Lift Jack – useful if you do serious 4WD tracks
Shovel – useful if you get bogged, also good for campfire cooking
Fuel funnel with water filter – additional protection when fueling up in dodgy places