Backpacking Pensioners travel blog

Waiting for our fish and chips

Tony at the Sunset pub

A wader looking for his tea before sunset

The begining of sunset over the Gulf of Carpentaria

Sunset over the Gulf

Sunset over the Gulf

An Australian creepy crawley

Australian toilet instructions

The Norman River at Karumba

A group of Brolgas

Brolgas in flight


Waking in a rest area on the Matilda Highway was very nice, quiet and peaceful; normally we are in a caravan park with other travellers. To visit Karumba we have to drive through Normanton and to go anywhere else on land we have to drive back through Normanton. We decide to view Normanton on our return trip.

During this journey, Sylvia had been using her washing machine. For some months now, Sylvia had been quiet covetous of other mobile home users who had washing machines, and I finally bowed down to the constant pressure.

Situated at the mouth of the Norman River, Karumba is basically in two parts. Karumba Point which faces the Gulf, and Karumba Town itself which is on the Norman River. It is the only stretch of beach which can be reached by sealed road in the Gulf of Savannah. Originally called Norman Mouth, in 1876 it officially became Kimberley, however the aborigines called it Karumba and eventually this became the official name. Evidence shows that there would have been a small community here in 1876 at the time of the Croydon gold rush. We later learned at Croydon, the port of Karumba was used to land supplies for the gold miners of Croydon.

Other claims to fame are; Karumba was once the stopover for the Empire Flying boats en route from Sydney to London, and later it was a RAAF base for Catalina Flying Boats. Now, if you like fishing, this place, like many others on this top coast line, is the place to be. We past the road to the point and elected to stay at the camp site in the town. When booking in we learned we got 10% off for being members of the Motorhome Club and borrowed the latest edition of the Wanderer; our copies are mounting up at our daughter's home in Dundee.

One couple who were leaving were making a booking for next year, paid a deposit and arranged to send monies in instalments. I was told that some weeks for 2008 were fully booked and a waiting list was in operation. We went on site, connected the power cable and the water pipe and settled down on our chairs under a tree. Warm, sunny and a flock of cockatoos flying around. Lovely. One cockatoo reminded us it was unwise to sit under a tree that was used as a perch by cockatoo's. I know s*** is supposed to be lucky but in this case I felt it was lucky only Sylvia's book was hit. We moved along a wee bit, still in shade but not under the tree.

At the camp site we met Tony; he is the man behind Sylvia in the picture of the sausage sizzle at Cloncurry. Tony is a single man whose children are well settled. He gave up his business and decided to travel around Australia until money issues eventually dictate he gets a job. When he earns enough, he will continue his travels. Tony told us of the whereabouts of the excellent fish and chip shop we had heard of and the pub where you sit to watch the sun set.

We drove round to the Point and arrived at the shop in time to be the first customer for fish and chip. An Essex girl told us we would be served the best chips in Australia, and she may have been right. The chips were said to be battered, to my mind it was more of a sealing in of flavours with a coating which resembled that of wedges. Sylvia ordered breaded and I battered Barramundi; all that was left was the paper the meal was served in.

Round the corner from the food shop was the ramp for boats and the Sunset Pub. What a nice way to watch a sunset over the water. We shared this experience with Tony and I hope he keeps in touch with us through the blog site.

On our journey to the Point we past by flat wetlands and tried to photograph some reluctant Brolgas. The next morning, after clearing our camp site, we returned to the Point to try to use the café 'wireless' internet system. This proved to be a waste of 5 dollars but the coffee we bought was nice. As we drove away through the wetland area we managed to get far better pictures of the Brolgas.

The boats are said to use the Karumba side of the river, and the crocodiles the other side. If you like fishing, or you want a holiday where there is little for the children to spend money on, Karumba is the place for you. For us it was another notch on our Australian experience and the memory of a wonderful sunset.

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