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Ageing Traveller Series

The Ageing Traveller series is written by Rose Howell, who has been traveling the world for over 40 years, beginning with New Zealand and then the ‘Hippy trail’ in the 70’s. Her travels have taken her to; Asia, Middle East, UK, Europe, Africa, South America, USA, Canada, China and the Pacific Islands. In total she has visited 67 countries plus all the states of Australia except Western Australia, and her goal is to make the century club. Her passion for travel is documented on her Facebook page.

Click here to find out more about Rose.

Mt Isa to Townsville via Richmond (Overlanders Way)

Overlanders Way, Wikipedia
Wikipedia

Next part of our Outback journey.
After our granddaughter was born we decided to give the new parent’s time to enjoy their bundle of joy and go traveling for a couple of weeks before returning to help them if needed.

Our first night was in Julia Creek (Population of 500) a short 257 Kilometres away.

Julia Creek, McKinlay Shire Photos by Rose Howell
Julia Creek, McKinlay Shire Photos by Rose Howell

Julia Creek is situated in the McKinlay Shire, which is known as the heart of the Queensland Outback and Gateway to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Julia Creek is home to the endangered Dunnart. This tiny bright eyed creature is an insect eating marsupial. With a body length of 100-120mm and a tail length of 90-100mm, the Dunnart can be distinguished from rats and mice by its size. Unlike rodents, dunnarts have pointy noses, large rounded ears and dog like teeth.

Photo of a Dunnart from Creative Commons
Photo of a Dunnart from Creative Commons

There isn’t a lot to do in this town but it was very quaint. We had a quick look around and discovered some very interesting old buildings and murals painted on the walls.

Great selection of tea towels displayed. Photo Rose Howell
Great selection of tea towels displayed. Photo Rose Howell

They do have some interesting events during the year which brings locals and tourists together.
The largest event is the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival which is held over three days and attracts over 3,000 people. It includes, triathlons, horse races, professional bull rides, Australia’s best Butt competition and live concerts. For more info go to dirtndust.com.
For more info on Julia Creek, go to atthecreek.com.au.

Next stop was Richmond (population 850), situated half way between Townsville and Mount Isa along the Flinders Highway. The town is most famous for its fossils and world renowned museum Kronosaurus Korner. It is also home to Moonrocks. They are a unique feature of the landscape and are used for everything from garden features, door stops, to projectiles in the World Championship Moonrock Throwing competition at the biennial Fossil Fest. Why are they so special? They have been found to hide many fossils of dinosaurs.

Moonrocks at Richmond Photo by Rose Howell
Moonrocks at Richmond Photo by Rose Howell

A visit to Australia’s premier marine fossil museum is a must. “It features more than 1000 registered fossils all from Richmond area. These are creatures that survived in the ancient Eromanga Sea which covered Richmond over 100 million years ago. Kronosauras Korner has on exhibit many specimens, including ‘Penny’ the polycotylid – one of the most complete verterbrate fossils in the world.

Plus ‘Wandah’ Australia’s largest fossil fish, ‘Minmi’ a small plant eating dinosaur affectionately known as the ‘armoured car of the Cretaceous’ and ‘Marlin Beastie’ the limb bones of a completely new, long necked sauropod dinosaur.  The museum also displays the largest known collection of fossils belonging to its namesake Kronosaurus, a 10 metre long predatory pliosaur, which was equipped with enormous crocodile like jaws.” Outback Queensland magazine (2017/18). outbackqueensland.com.au.

Krokosaurus museum entrance. Photo Rose Howell
Krokosaurus museum entrance. Photo Rose Howell

Photo by Rose Howell
Photo by Rose Howell

Photo by Rose Howell
Photo by Rose Howell

The museum is very good and we found ourselves spending over an hour there. They give you audio guides and all the displays are numbered so you go around looking at what interests you. The café is good for a coffee and if you were like us and happened to be there at lunch time they have a good selection of food.

From April to September you can also go fossil hunting (Digging at Dusk) with a resident palaeontologist to Richmond’s famous fossil hunting sites. There was information about a family who found fossils which are now on display.
Even if you aren’t into fossils, it is worth taking a look at the museum as it is very interesting.

On from Richmond it was a quick stop at Hughenden (population 1,180).
“Hughenden consists of four National Parks, mountainous volcanic basalt country, sweeping black soil plains and rich fossil and dinosaur areas.” Outback Queensland magazine.

Hughenden has a small museum which is the home of ‘Hughie’ a seven metre tall Muttaburrasaurus, and an impressive fossil collection.


Thunder Rocks Hughenden Photo by Rose Howell
Thunder Rocks Hughenden Photo by Rose Howell

You can explore the history of the town and its art features.

Other areas of interest is the spectacular Porcupine Gorge National Park often referred to as Australia’s ‘Little Grand Canyon”. We didn’t have time to go there and also dogs are not allowed. Next time hopefully.

We had lunch on the banks of the River next to a 35’ Comet Windmill. Very impressive.

‘Hughie’ Photo by Rose Howell
‘Hughie’ Photo by Rose Howell

‘Mutt’ Photo Rose Howell
‘Mutt’ Photo Rose Howell

Beautiful Grand Hotel boarded up and empty. Hughenden.Photo Rose Howell
Beautiful Grand Hotel boarded up and empty. Hughenden.
Photo Rose Howell

Photo by Rose Howell
Photo by Rose Howell

Next stop was Torrens Creek. (population 20)
We stayed overnight in the camp ground which is situated in the grounds of the Exchange Hotel. We met some fellow travellers here, a couple of old guys in a camper trailer from NSW (they had some great stories to share from their life travelling the outback) and a couple in a van from Tasmania. The Tassie couple travel to Queensland every year for four months (getting away from the winter) and have been doing it for the last 17 years.

Photo by Rose Howell
Photo by Rose Howell

The owners are a young couple who bought the pub earlier this year and are doing a great job in building up the business. We had a typical pub dinner and it was delicious. Meals are huge in the outback and it is good value for money.
The wife does everything from cooking, cleaning and working behind the bar. The husband does all the bar work plus maintaining the campground. I hope they do well as it is in the middle of nowhere and not a lot of travellers stop there even though it is the main route from Mt Isa to Townsville.

Exchange Hotel at Torrens Creek Train passing Caravan park Torrens Creek
Photos by Rose Howell
Exchange Hotel at Torrens Creek    Train passing Caravan park Torrens Creek Photos by Rose Howell

Not far from Torrens Creek is White Mountains National Park which is one of Queensland’s most botanically diverse parks, encompassing 14 regional ecosystems including two classed as endangered. From the lookout on the Overlanders Way you will get a good indication of the amazing colours and textures of the rock and wildflower displays during May to August. (We didn’t get to visit but will next time).


Rose Howell Biography

Rose has been traveling the world for over 40 years, beginning with New Zealand and then the ‘Hippy trail’ in the 70’s. Her travels have taken her to; Asia, Middle East, UK, Europe, Africa, South America, USA, Canada, China and the Pacific Islands. In total she has visited 67 countries plus all the states of Australia except Western Australia, and her goal is to make the century club.
She has taken all kinds of transport and accommodation from budget to luxury. She has travelled through war zones, survived a bus accident in the Andes and visited areas that are no longer available to tourists, such as the Khyber Pass and Bamiyan Statues in Afghanistan.

Rose wants to inspire others to travel and offers free advice to all travellers in particular those who are embarking on their first travel experience. She has a passion for travel and since retiring from an Adult teaching position with TafeSA, has recently resumed clocking up kilometres interstate and overseas.
Her daughters have inherited the travel bug from their parents. The eldest daughter is a travel journalist/documentary maker based in a beautiful area called ‘Byron Bay’ in New South Wales and with her husband, has two globetrotting toddlers who at the age of 5 and 2 also love to travel. Her youngest daughter and fiancé have recently returned from 2 years working and traveling in the UK and Europe. They have only been home a couple of months and are already getting restless. Oh the travel bug!!!!

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