Our friend Ann has been working in Longreach and we had said we’d visit so the long weekend was the ideal opportunity.
Saturday 5 October
We checked into our motel, picked Ann up and bought our various tickets for the weekend. After lunch we went to the Qantas Museum. Although it was walking distance from the motel, we preferred to avoid the heat and drove over.
We were booked on the 2.30 tour of the planes, so didn’t have a lot of time in the museum, but they did offer us a pass out so we could go back on Monday.
The tour of the planes was great, full of technical and historical information. I’d been told it was really good, but even so it was better than I expected. The museum, though, is very expensive and we were pleased to have been able to get discounted tickets. I do think it’s more expensive than it needs to be and the cost might put some people off.
Back at the motel we just had time to get ready for our 4.45 pick up for the sunset cruise.
A gentle cruise on the “Thompson Belle” followed by dinner of beef stew and bread, some bush poetry then a sound and light show telling the story of Captain Starlight – Harry Redford. Damper and bush tea afterwards then back on the motel.
This was a very touristy day and not something we’d normally do, especially so close to home. So glad we did, though.
Sunday 6 October
We had talked about driving to Lark Quarry today to see the dinosaur stampede footprints. I think we could have done it in a day, even though it would have been a very long one, but we decided to only go as far as Winton and save the stampede for another time. Which possibly means we’ll never get there.
The Australian Age of Dinosaurs is excellent, with a great presentation of the process of digging, extracting and piecing together the bones. There are 2 parts to the display – one in the lab where the work is being done and the other in the visitor centre where you see the bones of 2 of the dinosaurs in context and an audio visual display of what they might have looked like and how they might have intereacted.
After a picnic lunch we went to the Waltzing Matilda Centre. This would be good if you knew nothing or little about the song and ts origins, but was sadly of little interest to us. The attached museum areas had some good displays but most of it lacked context and description and seemed to be more collections rather than museum displays. Hopefully this is a work in progress and will improve.
Back to town for dinner with Ann.
Monday 7 October
I would have preferred to do the Cobb & Coach ride at 7.30 when it was cooler but they changed the time to 9.30, so we had to go then. At least that gave us a chance to pack.
The coach ride was fun, and not as rough or as dusty as I expected, but also not as fast as I thought the gallop would be.
We had morning tea at the Station Store then headed back to the Qantas Museum to see some of the things we missed on Saturday, before heading home.
We stopped at Barcaldine to see the stylised Tree of Knowledge that stands in place of the now-dead tree under which the Australian Labor Party was born. This display incorporates the preserved trunk of the original tree.
Thank goodness for car air conditioning. This is not the best time of year to be travelling in this part of the world. A horrible, hot, south westerly wind did nothing to cool us and we were pleased to stay in the car and head for home.