Wednesday, September 02, 2009

- Gulf Country, NT to QLD -

(Me, enjoying a morning dip @ Mataranka, Thermal Pools)

After a wonderful trip around Kakadu with Mum, we wasted no time hanging around and decided to hit the road again, saying goodbye to Darwin and headed onto a new frontier! We left in the afternoon making our first stop over at Mataranka Thermal Pools, and then heading on in the morning to see the historic Daly Waters Pub. After a quick beer (mid strength), we then made the left turn heading towards the Gulf of Carpentaria!

(Our camp @ Calvert River Crossing)

Our first overnight stop was Borroloola, on the mighty Arthur River. The area is known to most as Barra country so we set off the next morning to the famous riverside camp of King Ash Bay with our sights set on catching the elusive fish! The plan was to set up camp somewhere for the night and get some fishing in, however riverside access was limited (not to mention we had to be careful of Crocs) which made fishing a little difficult without a Boat! We had a go for a while but no luck. So we decided to drive further east and camp somewhere along the way.

The country side changed dramatically the further we drove, going from flat station country into high ranges cut away by rivers roaring during the wet season. We drove quite a way, crossing 2 major rivers before finding a perfect camp beside the Calvert River. The water was too shallow for fishing, and being late in the day we set up camp. During the night we were woken several times to Cattle Road Trains crossing the River nearby, some were 3 trailers long!!

(Roadtrain @ Calvert River Crossing)

(Steep crossing)

The next day we crossed the border into Queensland!! We finally made it! Again the country side changed to really dry, drought stricken plains. There isn’t a lot to see along the way, unless you have a boat to get out to the islands along the Gulf coastline. I would love to go back and get amongst it properly! We stopped in Burketown to refuel and lunch, pushing onto Normanton for the night.
Normanton is also Barra & Croc country, and skirts the Norman River where in 1957 a local Crocodile Hunter Shot ‘THE WORLDS LARGEST CROCODILE’ measuring a whopping 8.7m (28ft) weighing 1,352 Kilo’s! I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to see this monster alive! Let alone while fishing in a tinny on the River!!
(A scale replica of the worlds largest Croc, Normanton)

The next morning we headed out to the mouth of Norman River, and took a look around the seaside town of Karumba. Again fishing was plentiful if you had a boat, we gave it go off the riverbank for a while but the tides were ripping out and you had to be extremely careful not to fall “A over T” into the mud! So we headed back to Normanton, and attempted fishing off the bridge for about 1 ½ hrs… still no luck!

(Liechhardt Falls)

The next day we called through Georgetown, a sleepy outback town that was founded back in the 1870’s with gold being mined on the banks of the Ethridge River. The visitors centre also houses an impressive collection of rocks, gems and minerals from the surrounding area and beyond, which was well worth a look. From Georgetown we only had 400kms to the east coast…. We we’re fast approaching the Cairns tableland region….

(Pretty small Police Station hey? Georgetown)

(Cumberland Chimney, 1870's Gold crushing plant, Georgetown)

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