Prehistoric Getaways

Are you a big nerd or just a big dinosaur fan? Either way, ditch the done-to-death beach holiday (yawn) and see sites of real dinosaur footprints and walk amongst rubbery, robotic dinosaurs.

Lark Quarry

Lark Quarry in central western Queensland is home to a set of dinosaur footprints thought to have been the only preserved site of a stampede.

Discovered in the 60s, researchers published a paper in the mid-80s saying the haphazard directional movement of prints at the site meant small – but terrifying – predators had chased the dinosaur equivalent to chickens, around a waterhole.

Around five years ago, this truth was brought into question (despite having inspired a scene in Jurassic Park).

The scientific community is bitterly divided: some are adamant a stampede happened here; others allege waterborne dinosaurs dragged appendages through sediment on the waterhole floor, while others frolicked in the water. And a third theory has emerged, with more analysis of the footprints pointing to a big, dawdling dinosaur walking slowly in some mud.

As a person who passed high school biology (just), I can’t wait to get out there and decide what I think happened.

Gantheaume Point

I found out the hard way that sets of dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point in Broome, on Western Australia’s north-west coast, can only be seen when tides are below 2.16 metres. The Broome Visitor Centre says the tide is right and the prints can be seen for a couple of days out of each month.

Five different types of footprint have been identified at Gantheaume Point, and while they’re mostly underwater, some kind soul has made a couple of plaster copies of a bird dinosaur’s foot that can be viewed all year round.

Palmersaurus

Palmersaurus at the Palmer Coolum Resort on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is the world’s first dinosaur park that has more than 100 life-size, robotic dinosaurs. Not to mention that it was conceptualised and is owned by an eccentric billionaire-come-federal politician.

Situated on what was once a ritzy resort, you can park your car on a disused golf course, pay the $40 entry fee and wander through the majesty that is Palmersaurus.

I dragged my adult siblings to Palmersaurus in December 2013, thinking at the very least, we would have a laugh — but I. Loved. It. I remember uttering, awestruck, more than once, ‘I know where I’m having my 30th’. Because it is also a venue for hire. Of course. Oh, and the dinosaurs make incredibly life-like noises.

Author: Emma Carroll

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