The landscape of western Queensland is dramatic. After a good wet season, Mitchell grass grows thickly on the vast plains. Elsewhere the land is stony and dotted with clumps of hardy spinifex. But if you’d travelled this way 95 million years ago, the scenery would have been very different. In the Mid-Cretaceous period forests of conifers, lush ferns and flowering plants covered the land, watered by rivers and streams which flowed into a huge inland sea. And it was inhabited by dinosaurs!
In August 2022, we followed the Dinosaur Trail through western Queensland, on a route from Winton to Richmond, Hughenden and Muttaburra, all locations where dinosaur fossils have been discovered. Put your Australian Dinosaur Trail Pass in your pocket and join us on a journey back in time to the land of the dinosaurs.
If you’d visited outback Queensland 110 million years ago you would have found most of it submerged under what is now known as the Eromanga Sea, a vast inland ocean covering 1 million square kilometres. And if you’d gone swimming you would have come face to face with the huge marine reptiles and fish which lived in it. Where the town of Richmond is now located the water reached depths of up to 40 metres, making it the ideal home for plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs and elasmosaurids.
Of course, people weren’t on Earth then and after one million years the sea and its inhabitants disappeared. But you can see the marine animals who lived in the Eromanga Sea at Richmond’s Kronosaurus Korner. The museum has the best collection of marine fossils in Australia, most found locally. Amazing displays of fossils, information boards, illustrations and models bring these prehistoric marine creatures to life.
As well as these giant marine reptiles, large ammonites and predatory fish lived in the Eromanga Sea.
While the Eromanga Sea no longer exists, there is a lovely lake at Richmond. Lake Fred Tritton, a manmade recreational waterway filled by the Flinders River, is a popular place for boating, swimming and fishing. And even though the water is home to 18 species of freshwater fish, you won’t come across anything as large as Kronosaurus queenslandicus!