Woke up and wished the couple next to me safe travels. I had been told that the town of Winton was having communication issues and so eftpos was not working, but as fortune would have it by the time i got there everything was working once more. Got some fuel and had a breakfast sandwich (fancy) and a flat white then headed to the dinosaur museum.
Its proper name is Australia's Age of Dinosaurs Museum and it was pretty amazing. Its not like a typical museum, and its brand new, opened only in April. Its split into three parts; the lab, the collection and the canyon.
From reception you walk outside to a temporary lab building where they are cleaning fossils. Here you get to touch, yes touch, really dinosaur fossils and see a whole array of other fossils that have been found. All the time being guided by some passionate guides. Then you get to see the fossils being pried out of the rock by expert bone cleaners. And not behind a glass wall mind you, they are there, right in front of you, you can reach out and touch them, or ask them questions and they are happy to answer.
Next, you return to reception where there is a small theater set up with the collection, here you see a total of four individual dinosaurs, all very significant finds, and watch a small video explaining each. The first and possibly most famous is Banjo (named after banjo patterson, the writer of Waltzing Matilda) a veloceraptor type dinosaur that is completely unique and found only in australia, formally named Australovenator. You get to see his bones or about 45% of his skeleton, all that was collected. Then you get to see Matilda a bontosaurus type Dinosaur formal name of Diamantinasaurus Matildae (see the naming connection). And two other dinosaurs, one similar to Matilda and one similar to Banjo but with a great portion of the skull intact. It was interesting to learn that Banjos teeth grew in like sharks teeth, over and over though out his life.
The third section, you take a small shuttle(soon to be fully electric which is exciting!) that brings you to the canyon where you find interpretations of dinosaur life. A billabong where you find bone, small dinosaurs running and common plant life of the time. Its all fairly new and not complete but if really incredible anyway. It was a great day and i was at the museum from 11am until almost 5pm.
The day ended with about 60km of driving towards longreach and then some luke warm beers! Yum!
Its now 9pm and i just finished having coffee with Mike from Brisbane. He is traveling around in a converted toyata bus and is now headed back to live with his daughter in Brisbane. He is 81 and super interesting to talk to. It turns out that since alice springs we have been traveling the same route, though i am a little quicker. Today we covered about the same distance and he ended up staying with the 5million steps guy on the other side of Winton last night. It was great to see his custom made bus and get some ideas. It was also great to hear all about working on the stations as he did when he was younger and hear about times have changed, some good things, some bad, but how proud he is of Australia and being Australian.
Another great day. I wish i had about 4 years or so to do this trip right. But we can't do everything. All i can do now is look forward to the MKII and all the excitement i will have in it. That being said i think part of the reason i am getting the attention i am is because i am in the Barina. I mean, it sticks out. I am often jammed between gigantic RVs with full kitchens and bathrooms. Yet i am happy as a pig in mud working on my laptop, or watching a show, or sitting outside my awning reading a book when the flies aren't too bad. People see what i am doing and want to know where i'm going, what i have done, what i should do. Everyone is keen to help and to hear stories of their country through my eyes. And once they get talking to me they want to ask me about the Barina. You have a deep cycle? dual battery system? and awning? and your running two laptops? leds? who installed these? are you a sparky? and on and on. One thing it is forcing me to do is keep the interior of the camperina clean, people always want to have a look see, i wouldn't be surprised if it starts showing up on Facebook sometime soon.The good ol camperina!
A long and fulfilling day, i'm out.
To see all the pictures click here