DINO TREK: Rockhampton councillors hope dinosaurs will drive tourism to the whole region, as well as facilities like the Age of Dinosaurs Museum at Winton.
DINO TREK: Rockhampton councillors hope dinosaurs will drive tourism to the whole region, as well as facilities like the Age of Dinosaurs Museum at Winton. Erle Levey

Why dinosaurs will be our next tourist draw card

FIRST it was fishing.

Now Rockhampton Regional Council hopes dinosaurs will help drive its next tourism campaign.

Councillors Tony Williams and Neil Fisher were delighted by the news a series of gigantic dinosaur footprints at Winton had recently been verified.

They said it tied in with council's new strategy to bring new visitors to Rockhampton and encourage them to explore the broader Central Queensland region with a dinosaur and fossil trail stretching west .

The councillors were in Brisbane earlier this week to a meeting of the Remote Area Planning and Development (RAPAD) Board.

Cr Williams said Rockhampton could become part of a broader dinosaur and fossil-themed tourism campaign.

Cr Tony Williams at new North Rockhampton boat ramp.
Cr Tony Williams at new North Rockhampton boat ramp. Allan Reinikka ROK071217awilliam

Mount Morgan is home to dinosaur footprints, although the caves where they can be viewed have been closed for several years amid safety fears.

The council have plans to re-open the Fireclay Caverns as a major tourist attraction.

The Elliott family from Winton's Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History have also offered council the chance to create a new cast of the Fireclay footprints which may be incorporated into a future promotional strategy.

Cr Williams said these elements would feed into the Drive Inland campaign which positions Rockhampton as a key destination for travel into remote and rural areas.

The Capricorn Way is supported by towns between Rockhampton and Barcaldine, with the next stage extending to Winton.

The Piggy back extension project is now underway and will see 12 new landfill cells built on top of the existing landfill, Cr Neil Fisher said final capping and beautification of the original landfill area is now underway.
The Piggy back extension project is now underway and will see 12 new landfill cells built on top of the existing landfill, Cr Neil Fisher said final capping and beautification of the original landfill area is now underway. Allan Reinikka ROK131218alandfil

"Especially on the back of the droughts and the floods, tourism is going to be critical,” Cr Williams said.

"They may only come up here for a drive through but if they can stay another day there's more opportunity.”

Meanwhile, creating air links between east and west Queensland has also been a priority for council.

The Age of Dinosaurs Museum at Winton, Queensland. Photo: Erle Levey, Sunshine Coast Newspapers
The Age of Dinosaurs Museum at Winton. Erle Levey

Cr Fisher said the business case for flights from Rockhampton to west Queensland has been completed.

He said it was a "rigid, very sound” business case and confirmed his beliefs about the viability of the flights.

"Nothing happens overnight, but when you're part of a council that's proactive and supportive it really helps our community to be able to forge links and look at ways of collaboration to see how we can all benefit,” Cr Fisher said.