If you’ve ever wanted to step into the shoes of a palaeontologist, Australia’s Dinosaur Trail is your answer. Beyond meeting the ancient creatures which roamed this part of the world up close, you can take the next step by getting your hands dirty and help uncover a part of ancient history yourself.
The best part? No palaeontological experience is required.
Here’s where and how to fossick your way along Australia’s Dinosaur Trail.
Find ‘Dinosaur eggs’ in Hughenden
After meeting local celebrity ‘Hughie’ a replica of the first dinosaur found in Hughenden in 1967, make way to the Flinders Fossick Field to search for Moonrocks. While you could say these look like ‘dinosaur eggs’, Moonrocks can contain Ammonites, Gypsum Crystal, Belemnites and Bivalves.
Conveniently located in the heart of Hughenden, behind the Showgrounds, the Flinders Fossick Field is fun for all ages and you won’t need any fancy tools here.
If you’ve caught fossicking fever, try your hand at gem fossicking at Moonstone Hill, between Hughenden and the Lynd Junction. Surrounded by the wonders of Blackbraes National Park, Moonstone Hill is available for camping and fossicking. Purchase your fossickers permit online here.
Search for underwater treasure in Richmond
Unlock your inner-palaeontologist and explore Australia’s ancient marine past at Richmond’s Fossil Hunting Sites.
Richmond’s Digging @ Dawn tour conducted by the team at Kronosaurus Korner gives you an insight into the science that breathes life back into the ‘real life monsters’ that once haunted Australia’s Early Cretaceous period. A favourite for young families, everyone will get the thrill of learning how to find, identify and excavate 100 million-year-old fossils over two hours and learn about fossil collection techniques.
To help uncover your finds, you’ll be provided with hand lenses, brushes and superglue. Adults will also be able to get their hands on geology hammers, crack hammers, chisels and pry bars to help separate layers of rocks.
What you’ll find? By turning a few stones over you may uncover a fossilised fish, squid, shark tooth, bivalve or giant marine reptile.
Digging @ Dawn: Wednesday & Friday (April – September) or Monday – Friday during Queensland school holidays.
To keep digging into Australia’s past on a solo adventure, head to Richmond’s Fossil Hunting Sites, located 12 kilometres north of Richmond, accessible to all vehicles via fully sealed roads. Get your permit with a map and guide here.
Tip: Make sure to have water and food to sustain your energy while you search, plus a mobile phone if you hit some serious buried treasure to call Kronosaurus Korner.
Become a dinosaur technician in Winton
For those with a good eye, a steady hand and plenty of patience, join palaeontologists in the most productive fossil preparation laboratory in the southern hemisphere at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs and learn how to prepare real dinosaur fossils for display.
If you love puzzles, you’ll love putting the pieces of the dinosaur puzzle together with the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Prep-A-Dino Experience.
While you skip the fossil-finding stage, there’s still plenty of hard work left to do. The experience includes mechanical preparation of bones, restoration, repairs, consolidation of specimens, sieving and sorting of matrix for micro-fossils.
Depending on your schedule, take a crash course for a single day but trust us, it gets seriously addictive, so you can join them up for up to 11 days to earn honorary technician status.
Dig for dinosaurs in Winton
Help the team of experts at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs on their Dig-A-Dino Experience and be the first to see dinosaurs emerge again after 95 million years.
Over a week of digging, the palaeontology staff will teach you how to differentiate bones from rocks, get the chance to plaster discoveries and help prepare specimens by cleaning the rock off to make them ready for scientific study and display.
Finds often include sauropod bones, teeth, smaller bones from crocodiles and flying reptiles, plant fossils and more.
Plus, you’ll join fully guided excursions to the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum and Lark Quarry Dinosaur Stampede as a well-deserved break mid-week.
The digs are fully catered, and their hot breakfasts and delicious dinners will keep you fuelled up.
Available for fossil fanatics over 18 only.