Day 78 + Karumba to Charters Towers
Left the magnificent Lawn Hill and - like Burke and Wills we headed for the Gulf of Carpentaria … stopping overnight at Bang Bang roadside stop before calling in at Burke and Wills final camp – camp 119 … still 40 kms from the Gulf. Burke and Wills actually headed towards the Gulf from that camp – but stopped 20km short … so in fact they didn’t actually make it to the Gulf!!!!
Then ... past a few million termite mounds and starving cattle
- we headed to Karumba - on the Gulf. The beach is actually quite ugly – muddy water and shore – with crocs (apparently!). We stayed at Karumba Point – and enjoyed (repeatedly) the fantastic Sunset Point Pub, and Ashes Fish and Chips – with beautiful Barramundi.
We also played golf at the Karumba Golf Course (Golf on the Gulf!!!) -together with literally hundreds of Agile Walabies.
Booked to go fishing in the Gulf … however – disaster struck – the caravan fridge died – so we cancelled the fishing trip – and whilst we through a line in from the river – they somehow avoided us.
Donna devoured a bucket of Prawns at the Sunset Point Pub – and then went back on Sunday the watch the AFL Grand Final – with Tom Lynch’s Richmond destroying the Giants. We were very happy for Tom – and very happy that the Giants got smashed.
Having made it to the Gulf, it was now time to head towards the East Coast. Driving out of Karumba, we stopped at a waterhole with a massive flock of Brolgas – probably a couple of hundred.
Then through to Normanton – with its eclectic Purple Pub and the replica of the biggest Croc ever killed (think a bit of poetic licence used in the replica!!).
We kept driving through Croydon towards Cobbold Gorge. Stopping for the night on the way, we sweltered through our hottest night – maybe 30 degrees still at 10pm – struggled! Onto Forsayth – lovely little town in the middle of nowhere – and onto the oasis of Cobbold Gorge. What a fantastic spot – great campground, and with the mercury hitting 38 degrees, the lovely pool was the spot to be during the afternoon. Early start next day for a nature walk followed by a fantastic cruise through the spectacularly serene gorge – beautiful spot. Back to the pool for the arvo, followed by a scrumptious dinner overlooking the Billabong (spotted our first snake of the trip!)
Then headed towards Porcupine Gorge, stopping overnight on the banks of the Gregory River. Another beautiful spot, we were accompanied by a croc in the river (a freshie!), and an owl at night.
Porcupine Gorge was a bit prickly to get to, if you get my point, but a fantastic and under-rated spot. Awesome National Park campground, and a challenging but rewarding walk down into the gorge. At night, we were visited by a family of Rufus Betongs – basically a pocket sized Kangaroo – very cute little fellas.
Then started making our way towards Townsville and civilization. Stopped for a few beers at the bizarre Prairie Pub… chatted to the publican for a while, and checked out his strange collection of memorabilia, stuffed pig, mannequins, and other bits and pieces.
Stayed behind the Pentland Pub and had a feed in the pub – very popular spot on a Friday night – despite the cranky unwelcoming bar maid!!!!
And so - after nearly 3 months traversing through the big, dry Australian Outback (of NSW and Queensland) - we were now heading back into civilization, as we headed towards Townsville on the coast. The outback has been an amazing and eye-opening experience - we are very glad we have done it - but we certainly don't want to live it. We feel a bit sorry for the farmers, and the folk in the isolated outback towns - they have it very tough ... and we are guessing that most Australians have no idea!!!