Hughenden is located 376km southwest of Townsville
and is part of Australia’s Dinosaur Trail
, also incorporating the outback towns of Richmond
. In prehistoric times, some 100 million years ago, this area was once an inland sea.
Much exploration, research and studies have determined this from the discovery of an abundance of marine and land-based dinosaur fossils and bones. The initial discovery occurred in 1865 and many ancient fossils and bones are still being found today.
The Dinosaur Trail offers many centres from which you can learn about these prehistoric creatures and see the fossils, bones and footprints for yourself. Hughenden features the Flinders Discovery Centre with a giant Muttaburrasaurus replica, Richmond has Kronosaurus Korner featuring Australia’s largest marine fossil display and the Winton area offers the Australian Age of Dinosaurs preparation facility where bones are preserved and skeletons reconstructed. Lark Quarry is 110km south of Winton and is proof of an ancient dinosaur stampede with preserved footprints dating back 95 million years ago. The dinosaur trail is fascinating and the outback circuit is very interesting and educational.
The Flinders Discovery Centre incorporates the local Visitor Centre and the dinosaur discovery museum at the rear. The main attraction here is the replica skeleton of a Muttaburrasaurus reconstructed from casts of original dinosaur bones found near Muttaburra, 200km south of Hughenden. Many of the original bones are too heavy to reconstruct and display. The centre offers plenty of information and fossil, rock and gem displays. A small entry fee applies.
The town’s other “big” attraction is The Big Dinosaur known as “Mutt” the Muttaburrasaurus who stands outside the Grand Hotel on Stansfield St. The photogenic giant offers great photo opportunities from which to remember your dinosaur trail experience.
Dinosaurs aside, the scenic Porcupine Gorge is about 74km north of town. The 27km long gorge is most impressive in the outback countryside. The first point of interest is the Gorge Lookout in the centre of Porcupine Gorge National Park. A short walk takes you to the viewing point over the long winding gorge.
Further along Emu Plains Rd is the Porcupine Gorge Camp Ground and a 1.2km walking trail into the gorge to Pyramid Rock. The walk is fairly steep, there is loose rubble and moderate fitness is required to exit the gorge. Pyramid Rock can be seen from the top however the views are much better below. Porcupine Creek meanders through the gorge creating rock pools suitable for swimming in. The picturesque gorge acquires its name from the abundance of echidnas (or "porcupines") inhabiting the surrounding scrub. The self-registering camp ground at the top of the gorge has a pit toilet but no shade. If camping here in warm conditions, you’d definitely want to utilise the rock pools and spend the day in the gorge.
Alternative camping is available at the Hughenden Caravan Park
in town, with free access to the public swimming pool next door for paying campers. A welcome refreshment after spending the day exploring in the outback heat.
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Destinations in Queensland
Daintree National Park
Tin Can Bay
Undara Volcanic National Park
Return from Hughenden to Queensland