Using Adels Grove as our base we head into Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park its World Heritage Listed Riversleigh treasure chest of fossils.
They are two jewels in Australia’s outback crown.
Beaut Boodjamulla National Park
A trip into the national park rewards us with a spectacular gorge system with sheer 60 metre sandstone walls and crystal clear green water which flows all year round in the shade of Leichhardt trees, figs, pandanus, Livistona palms and white cedar trees.
National Park info records that its lush foliage are remnants of the ancient rainforests which covered the Gulf Savannah millions of years ago. Aboriginal info records the story of the serpent Boodjamulla who wound his way through the landscape. And my diary entry records that it was a bloody, beautiful spot to canoe and float
The Skipper and Squids inflated the Kevlar Canoe (aptly named Alby after Aussie adventurer Alby Mangles) and paddled up the gorge, spotting their first freshie (Freshwater croc) and some spitting Archer fish.
I was happy to float in an inner tube (with a donation to the Royal Flying Doctors Service) spotting water monitors and tortoises. Happy to NOT spot the freshies from my precarious perch though.
Bones and stones at Riversleigh Fossil Reserve
The World Heritage Listed Riversleigh section of the Boodjamulla National Park is just up the road, and contains a pretty famous fossil field of enormous significance. Few Aussies have even heard of it.
We should all stand up and take note, as it’s here that palaeontologists have discovered orders of creatures formerly unknown to science, doubling the sum of knowledge of Australia’s prehistoric fauna.
Before they stumbled across this area, we had no idea just how bloody big and downright weird our animal life DownUnder was.
If you thought the SnortlePig’s in Graeme Base’s kids book “Uno’s Garden” were freaky, wait until you get a load of these fossils.
We wander up a track pointing us towards pale grey limestone, which was once an area home to spring-fed lakes and pool nourishing a vast rainforest. Believe me, if you were standing where we are now … in this hot, arid, dusty vastness … it’s almost too hard to conjure up.
What this once lush environment hasn’t conjured up, but has encased are the fossilised remains of strange animals like the Thunderbird, as well as birds and reptiles, as well as plants that span 25 million years of Australia’s unique evolutionary history.
The bigger Squid takes of his sandal to compare shin and ankle bone sizes with that of the bizarre Thunderbird fossil. He’s having one of the most interactive lessons a kid could get. There’s not a soul (nor Snortle Pig) in sight, we are in the middle of an arid bush setting searching for fossilised evidence of critters who swam, fed and hunted in these areas miillions of years ago … brilliant!
But bloody hot.
We drive a few km’s down to the Gregory River Crossing – quickly cooling off in the ford while and heading back to Adels Grove.