THURSDAY 19 SEPTEMBER KINGFISHER CAMP TO KARUMBA 490kms
We managed quite an early start from Kingfisher Camp, but it was late enough to see us passing by Doomadgee after school had gone in. We really did not want to see anyone from there!
One again, we forded the wet crossing of the Gregory River, around 30kms west of Burketown – as we had done twice on our weekend at Escott. That now seemed a long time ago.
We saw a large wedge tailed eagle feeding on road kill by the road, and stopped and spent some time trying to get a reasonable photo of the bird.
Refuelled at Burketown – it was $1.055cpl, compared to $1.22 at Doomadgee.
Then headed east, once again into unknown territory for us.
The road after Burketown was quite corrugated and rough. It was the section of the Gulf Track between there and Normanton that was notorious for being rough going. The country itself was dry, flat and quite tedious.
We stopped at the Leichardt River and Falls. This was rather a let down. I had been looking forward to seeing these, but there was no water coming over the Falls and the river was quite low. We walked around for a bit, then continued on.
This was certainly the worst road we’d had the van over! Dusty, corrugated, with outcrops of rock in the road.
We almost missed the turning just beyond the Leichardt River, even though we knew that it tricked a lot of travellers, and we were on the lookout. The main track turned east, but the track straight ahead – to Augustus Downs – looked like the main one.
There was almost no other traffic. I suspected that the reputation of this stretch of road scared travellers off! With good cause.
We crossed a number of dry stream channels – heading north to the coast. As we got closer to Normanton, these became larger, still had some water in, and were crossed on narrow cement causeways, like the one at Doomadgee, but not as long. In this way, we crossed the Bynoe and Flinders Rivers.
It was a relief to reach Normanton and a sealed road again.
We drove straight through Normanton, across the Norman River bridge and out the sealed road to Karumba, some 70kms away.
We reached Karumba about 4pm. Booked into the Sunset Point Caravan Park – $19.50 a night, with the seventh night free. We decided to start with a week’s booking, then see what we thought after that. We did not want to get too far east while the coming school holidays were still on. This caravan park was a little out of the main part of town, at Karumba Point, right by the sea.
Set up camp. The site was on the small side – with the annexe roof out, there was just room for Truck. We certainly would not have wanted a longer van!
The rough road we’d travelled on had rearranged things inside the van: the washing basket was down in the stairwell, the cushions were off the seats. There were not too many issues in the cupboards as they were fairly tightly packed, but lids had come off jars on the door rack of the fridge. And, of course, there was a thin layer of dust to clean off everything.
After all that effort, we just relaxed at the van for what was left of the day.
There was still a surprising number of people left in the caravan park – I had expected it to be more deserted by now.
All the rattling and shaking around had tired us out – we slept well.