11 July – We make it to the Gulf of Carpenteria

Author: Mrs A

Location: Karumba, far North Queensland

Distance driven: 372km

Tuesday: Our day began with some trepidation as we hitched up the caravan and drove to the Georgetown mechanic, earnestly hoping our final parts (the brackets for our shocks), had safely arrived. We pulled onto the forecourt shortly before 8am and Bushy came out to let us know that they had turned up last night. Phew!Before long we had backed the caravan into the workshop and Mr A was inflating tyres as Bushy did his work, welding the new brackets to the front right hand side of the van. He did a thorough check of all the other brackets, and added some extra weld where he felt needed the strength.By the time we pulled out at about 10.30am we felt happy that all was securely in place and Bushy reassured us it should stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Finally we left Georgetown and were off to pastures new. The road was in pretty good condition, mostly a combination of single lane (where you share half on and half off the tarmac with anyone coming towards you) and dual lane highway.

The landscape continued to be pretty flat and dry, but with more water than I expected, and we even crossed a few rivers and creeks with pools in them, plenty of Brolgas around (large grey stork-like birds with red heads).

We stopped very briefly in Croydon (yes, there is one in Australia too!), with a longer break in Normanton, where we did a top up of fresh vegetables. There was limited choice, and we paid $8 for four bananas – just a couple of days drive away from where we bought eight bananas for $2! But beggars cannot be choosers, and we bought whatever looked relatively fresh.

Our final destination for the night is Karumba, up on the coast of the Gulf.The air feels lest dusty up here, and it is so good to see the ocean again.

Arriving at Karumba (having narrowly missed a goanna, a baby wallaby and a couple of cows on the late afternoon drive from Normanton!) truly felt like the end of the road. People are very laid back and friendly, but all the caravan parks are booked out. We were told about a couple of boat trips – one to watch wildlife and one to see the sunset – but on calling to take one tomorrow or Thursday were told it’s all booked out until Friday. So no cruising for us.

No cycling either, since our brush with the bindi thorns on Sunday destroyed our tyres, so we went for a short walk.There’s a lovely looking Tavern right on the water front, with a surprisingly interesting menu. It has a large beer garden overlooking the water and sunset, and we have earmarked a couple of seats for tomorrow afternoon.We returned to camp to watch the sunset over the wetlands, before making dinner with our fresh veg. We watched the whistling kids flying in for the fish scraps being shared by those lucky enough to catch something today. The birds swooped down and caught snacks tossed in the air – quite a sight.Mr A had more funeral arrangements to make and accomodation to book in the UK…I dread to see what our mobile phone bill will be this month after all these calls! This is a beautiful change of scenery for us though, and we think we’ll enjoy our stay here.

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