The road to Undarra was long, straight, and quite unlike anything we’d seen so far. We’d definitely left the rainforests behind, tropical or sub-tropical, all of that was gone. It was a barren, dry, and lonely landscape. Although one good thing about leaving the rainforests behind, was that we seemed to have left the rain behind too!
On the road West from Undarra it was more of the same, for a long, long way. We were heading for Karumba, a famous fishing spot that sits on the South Western corner of the Cape York Peninsula, right on the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Between here and there, there wasn’t really anywhere that was exactly a ‘destination’. So we headed off early and drove as far as we could handle, landing finally at Croydon – a one horse town which, to our great surprise, actually had a bit of charm.
For starters it had the most Australian pub I’ve ever seen in my life. It also had a restored old butchers house – I’ve no idea why, but it was quaint enough. The houses on the two or three streets that comprised the entire place, were all well looked after, and the two or three heritage buildings were all nicely maintained.
We watched the sunset drinking beer on the veranda of the pub as the kids sooked their ice creams, and then we toddled home in the dusk. It was so peaceful we could almost have stayed another day. But we didn’t. We had another monster drive to get to Karumba, with a pit stop in Normanton.
Normanton. Hmmm… A lot smaller than I was expecting. I was in desperate need of a Bunnings but it wasn’t to be. We got coffee, some meat, a few buns. Apart from the largest Crocodile every captured, there wasn’t much else going on.
Shot in 1957 by Krystina Pawlowski, a Polish crocodile hunter, the beast measured 8.63M. A local artist built a model to the exact specifications, and now it’s the most exciting thing in Normanton.
Fuck. Me. Look at this thing. Erin still doesn’t believe it was actually that size. But there you go. Monster Crocodile. Jesus I wonder if there are any more of these guys out there….? I suspect there might be.
This is, supposedly, a photograph of the original.
Onwards. Only 40 minutes or so now, and we’re at Karumba, the Barramundi fishing mecca for many Australians, and, as we discovered, an amazing retirement community every winter. The caravan park we stayed at was absolutely chock full of older Australians who lived ’south of the border’.
Every year they’d drive for three or four days, and stay for three or four months to escape the winter. It wasn’t much of a place, but the community that had formed there was extremely welcoming.
I must admit the way Australians do ‘retirement’ is a lot better than we do over in Scotland. I’d much rather tour about the country in a big fucking caravan, than sit in a lonely wee room looking at rain pissin’ doon the windaes.
The night we arrived was free BBQ Barramundi night. Bring your plate down to the dining area, and someone will fill it full of fish. Over 100 people had gathered, about half of them were retired, knew each other, and were hanging out to avoid winter.
It was lovely. A nice lady befriended Skye and Katie, and got them both up dancing, although Skye doesn’t need much persuasion I must admit.
We visited the Barramundi Fishery the next day, had a pub dinner watching the sun set that night, and the following day we packed up and hit the road again.
It was a very relaxing few days, especially having spent so much time in the car over the last wee while. Ahhhh, Karumba.