Winton is located 590km southwest of Townsville on Australia’s Dinosaur Trail and is also home to the Waltzing Matilda Centre (get the lyrics to the beautiful ballad here). The essence of the town’s main attractions is captured in the main street with dinosaur foot bins, Waltzing Matilda’s billabong and Banjo Paterson.
It's the last leg in the Hughenden-Richmond-Winton Dinosaur Trail and completes it on a high note. The Australian Age of Dinosaurs is the largest fossil preparation facility in the country and just the beginning of an ongoing project to develop a Natural History Museum in the region. The facility is located 25km southeast of town via the Longreach road and 1 hour tours operate daily at 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm. The guided tour is both informative and comical and you learn about the discovery, digging, excavation, preservation and reconstruction of dinosaur bones and skeletons. Marvel at the laboratory technicians working on the delicate bones and even touch dinosaur bones yourself. The preparation facility is reconstructing the largest dinosaur skeleton yet and this beast has affectionately been named “Matilda”, how appropriate in the heart of Matilda country.
Lark Quarry Dinosaur Trackways is the other major attraction in the area relating to dinosaurs. The quarry is located 110km south of Winton via unsealed road and those interested in fascinating dinosaur evidence will appreciate the drive. Fossilised footprints of a dinosaur stampede dating back an estimated 95 million years ago are housed in an insulated ground earth structure to protect the phenomenon from the elements forever. Guided tours depart at 10am, 12pm and 2pm daily and what you see is simply amazing.
The Corfield and Fitzmaurice Building in the town centre is also part of the dinosaur fever. The heritage listed building has a fabulous dinosaur display of bones and fossils, a life-size replica of the Lark Quarry stampede and the bones of the largest dinosaur ever discovered in Australia. Also on display here are local opals from Opalton some 120km from Winton. The brilliant blue Boulder Opal is unique to Queensland and you can learn about it here.
The Open Air Theatre Museum at Wookatook Gift & Gem features one of the oldest operating outdoor theatres of its kind and the world’s largest deckchair. Memorabilia and old movie posters take you back to the era of Henry Fonda and Doris Day. The museum also has an opal walk with stones on display and information about Queensland’s opal mining.
Dinosaurs, opals and Waltzing Matilda characterise Winton. The inspiring Aussie ballad was written by Banjo Paterson here in 1895. Paterson and his song are commemorated and celebrated at the Waltzing Matilda Centre in town. Learn the story of Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson, a remarkable and highly educated man who loved the Australian bush. His much loved bush ballad has captured the hearts of people worldwide and will be cherished forever. The self guided tour of the centre begins with a fabulous audiovisual presentation and of course the famous song. The Waltzing Matilda Centre is a very enjoyable and interesting experience and well worth a visit.
The 5 aforementioned attractions all have entry fees and can be discounted if you purchase the Winton Attractions Pass, available at any of the attractions.
The North Gregory Hotel
is the legendary location of Waltzing Matilda’s first public performance. Call in for a cold one and learn the stories of the treasured past, the famous song and the charming town. The historic hotel offers free camping in the car park at the rear and use of amenities.
Arno’s Park is a free point of interest in town, located on Vindex St behind the Open Air Museum. The park features a unique and unusual wall built from Opalton rocks and decorated with all sorts of odds and ends from car parts to appliances. Arno’s Wall is an expressive work of art from a local opal miner.
Winton’s Musical Fence at the northern end of Manuka St is a collection of objects which can be played with sticks, fingers or bowed. The fence is an interesting concept to experiment with sound and pitch. Instruments are provided for your convenience.
Winton offers 3 caravan parks to accommodate tourists, Matilda Country Tourist Park, Pelican Caravan Park and Tattersalls Caravan Park. Alternatively there is a free camp 2km south of town towards Jundah. The camp is situated on the banks of a waterhole and there are no facilities and limited shade.
Winton is in the heart of dinosaur, opal and matilda country. There is so much to experience in this outback town and it really is different and highly educational. Top marks for the outback.
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Destinations in Queensland
Daintree National Park
Tin Can Bay
Undara Volcanic National Park
Return from Winton to Queensland