Why Hughenden is one of the hero experiences along the Overlanders Way

19th March 2020

Hughenden, nestled snugly on the banks of the Flinders River, offers Overlander travellers a window into a fascinating prehistoric past, together with jaw-dropping natural wonders.

Hughenden nestled on the banks of the Flinders River – Ernst Henry Bridge

 

Giant herbivores, winged reptiles and marine creatures!

As you enter the town itself, you’ll find the Flinders Discovery Centre ready to welcome you, where, on entering the exhibits area, you’ll be greeted by Hughie; a life-size skeletal replica of a 7-metre Muttaburrasaurus langdonii, cast from the original bones of a 110 million-year-old dinosaur discovered in the Flinders Shire! In paleontological circles, the region is also famous for the Hughenden Pterosaur, a winged reptile that once cruised the skies above the Flinders, overlooking a vast prehistoric inland sea of terrestrial dinosaurs and marine reptiles. On this background, the centre houses an amazing exhibition of dinosaur fossils both from around the world, as well as from the local area.

Meet Hughie! A Life-size replica cast from the bones of the Muttaburrasaurus langdonii

Experience the Light and Sound Show

You’ll also find the Bio Regions display, detailing the diversity of land types, flora and fauna found within the region, along with the engaging Shearing the Stragglers, conveying the tales of hardship and change faced by the sheep industry that once dominated the area.  There’s also an interactive space for kids, including puzzles, books and dinosaur activities to both entertain and educate. Before you leave the centre our hot tip is to ensure you experience the amazing Light and Sound Show that takes you back over 500 million years ago to the beginning of the formation of Porcupine Gorge National Park.

Shearing the Stragglers exhibit – Flinders Discovery Centre, Hughenden – Photo credit Nancy – Pluggers in Paradise

Follow the windmill blades!

If you’re ready to stretch your legs, follow the windmill blades through the streets of Hughenden on a self-guided tour exploring cultural and historic features of the town, where you’ll also cross paths with “Mutt”, a full-bodied Muttaburrasaurus replica.  Head over the bridge to enjoy the beauty of Robert Gray Memorial Park on the banks of the Flinders River, and meander through the Eco Walk on Flinders, where the shire’s diverse bioregions are replicated over 1.5km of walking tracks.

Ernest Henry Bridge over the Flinders River, Hughenden

Picnic by the lake

Then, after stocking-up at one of the local grocers or grabbing yourself a takeaway, head over to the stunning Hughenden Recreational Lake Precinct, and enjoy a waterside picnic or BBQ at one of the many shaded picnic or grassy banked areas.

Hughenden Recreational Lake Precinct – opened in 2019 by Mayor Jane McNamara and the Flinders Shire Council

 

Australia’s mini version of the great Grand Canyon!

If you’ve journeyed this far, you have to put one of Hughenden’s most treasured natural wonders on your Overlanders Way bucket-list;  the spectacular Porcupine Gorge. Porcupine Gorge National Park is the site of an incredible canyon situated just 70kms north of town, and is often referred to as Australia’s Mini Grand Canyon. The Gorge can be admired from two distinct areas. The first lookout peers deep into the Gorge, giving a sense of the magnitude of the canyon while providing a birds-eye view of the multicoloured sandstone and basalt cliffs towering over the meandering creek below. The second vantage point is a campsite area that provides a walking track down into the base of the Gorge where the Pyramid rock formation looms large over a permanent waterhole, ideal for a cool swim followed by a breather on the smooth river-sand beds.

Porcupine Gorge National Park – The Pyramid – Photo Credit – Outback Queensland

The ancient mystique of the White Mountains

An equally extraordinary presence in the Flinders Shire region is the world-lauded White Mountains. The landscape of soaring white sandstone conglomerates forms an intricate maze of ravines, plateaus, caves and ridges. The area, once home to the Quippenburra people, contains sacred sites of ancient Indigenous rock carvings and stencil art. The nature of the countryside here means a hike through this park is not for the faint-hearted. Common opinion holds that the optimal way to experience the sheer majesty and breadth of the mountains is in aerial view, via a thrilling helicopter ride! In fact, the old adage of two-birds-one-stone rings true here, as one flight can present you with the best-of-the-best sights over both the White Mountains and Porcupine Gorge!

White Mountains National Park in breathtaking aerial view -Park Photo Credit – Fox Helicopters Scenic Flights

 

Sunsets to make you weep!

Finally, being a striking blend of mountainous volcanic basalt and sweeping Mitchell Grass Downs country, there’s no better way to appreciate Hughenden’s inherent beauty than from atop Mount Walker. An easy 12km drive south east of Hughenden along the Muttaburra Rd, Mount Walker offers six lookouts with extraordinary 360-degree views over big-sky horizons and stunning outback landscape. You’ll often find travellers congregating here of a late afternoon, sundowners and cameras in hand, prepared to capture sunset colours that would make a city slicker weep!

View from Mount Walker – Photo credit – Nancy, Pluggers-in-Paradise

Get more details on what to do and where to stay 

GET ADVENTUROUS!

Download the Overlanders Way brochure to get your hands on the Adventure Map and the local’s inside tips!

Overlanders Way