Day 56 Thursday July 31st 2014 Normanton Karumba Normanton
In this park we are very tight. Last night our TV addict neighbours on the left had their TV blaring. The folk on the right had their TV outside, obviously as a courtesy to us because as we prepared dinner we were able to watch Home and Away through our kitchen window. It was a perfect night to eat outdoors but with a different channel in each ear it became impossible. We resorted to the Dolby method and turned ours on as well.
This morning we wake at 6:00am to the sound of laughter, our neighbours watching TV again! We give up and go for a walk. The sunrise is beautiful.
We have a tiny stone chip at the bottom of our windscreen and it has caused a hairline crack. There’s not much that we can do but cross our fingers until Mt Isa.
We drive out to Karumba the remotest point of our trip. It is a 70km drive north through more savannah and then the flattest flood plain of grassland and salt pans. In the savannah there are more contented cattle and there are spider webs as big as flags that take ownership of their host shrubs. In the grassland we spot a flock of Brolgas in a small swamp. Of course, I’m breathless with excitement and I say to Woody that all we need now is to see a Jabiru and I’ll be happy. All of sudden a Jabiru appears, I’m speechless.
At Karumba Point we gaze at the Gulf of Carpentaria. The water is shallow and a pale blue green colour. Whistling kites hang on the breeze. There is a lot of very white sand and shell grit about the streets so it is dazzling on the eye. The Sunset Hotel on the point has had a busy weekend and run out of beer yep, it’s the pub with no beer, we settle for a couple of gin & tonics. For heaven’s sake, we’ve driven all the way to The Gulf for a gin & tonic! The main town has a wharf for the live export of cattle (poor buggers) and minerals. It is also the hub for commercial Gulf fishing. Every house has at least one boat. This really is a fishing town. We pop into the fishmonger and select a nice piece of Spanish Mackerel and ask if it will be big enough for two “Shit yeah” says the lady who owns the shop, followed by “Get outta there Susie!” to the little dog who has wandered in.
“Please bring your own carry bags as we are running out – no stock for a fortnight” says a Karumba shop sign. Like the pub with no beer, if you don’t get your ordering right up here your business suffers.
There’s not much to do for a couple of non-fishing folk like us so we give up on our idea of having fish & chips on the beach (what beach) at sunset. We return to Normanton to listen to The Price is Right on our neighbours TV.
Towing Kms: 0
2020 Note: We later learn that live export of cattle from northern Australian has been a busy industry since the 19th century. It pays to read up on your history before hitting the road.
The caravan parks looked much more spacious in Karumba, I reckon we should have based ourselves there.