After that the road turns
the direction with a sharp bend, and also changes in
Burke Developmental Road - Dunbar to Normanton
The road gets narrower,
but there is also a change in the
soil, you can tell you are now in the Gulf Savannah.
It is dustier,
the dust is softer and finer, and stays longer
in the air.
There are some water
crossings, particularly Staaten and
Gilbert Rivers, but also some of their tributaries at times.
And being a quiet and remote country, it's always the kind of
place where the crocodiles are out - there is one on the photo
below, but you can only see a slice of its back, as it went under the
water as soon as it saw me coming.
In the Normanton end, the road gets wider, better graded, and
finally sealed, but that only applies to about 30km from
Normanton and Karumba
a nice small township in Gulf
Savannah. It has
some lovely old buildings, an
old jail and a courthouse, the
famous Normanton Railway Station and the Purple
Pub. In the main
street is also the statue of the largest croc
ever shot in
Australia - eight metres long.
North of Normanton is Karumba
- the only town in the actual Gulf Savannah where you can see the water
(others are in river mouths), and consequently famous for its sunset
have seen the
sunsets (and the Animal Bar), you proably won't last here long unless
Karumba, you have about 40km back to the Burke Developmental Road
through some vast wetlands and grasslands country that is famous for
its birdlife, particularly the large brolgas, but also jabirus.
is in Gulf Savannah, just south west of Cape York.
drive this way if
you enter or leave the Cape York peninsula from the west, via Burke
centre is colourful
with beautiful old buildings,
and there are a few things in town that are worth your time.
At the town entrance is the Big
Barra, which in my opinion should have been in the nearby
fishing town Karumba.
also be fair -
Normanton already has the Big
The monster is a replica of Krys
- the largest croc ever
(by Krystina Pawlowski in the 1950s). The croc was eight metres long.
There are a whole lot of beautiful
old buildings in town, many in bright colours.
There is also the old
... the bank,
.. and many other beautiful and even cute buildings ..
But of course, none is more famous than the Purple Pub.
It is a hotel
so you can stay there, ...
.. and there are also other hotels and places to stay.
The town is also home for the
which departs once a week to Croydon, via small outback spots like
Critter's Camp, Haydon, Blackbull, Ellavale and Golden Gate.
is in Gulf Savannah, south west of Cape York.
It is the only town to actually be in
- both Burketown and Normanton are only on rivers. Consequently,
the town is hugely
popular with fishing; and also - just
like Darwin - has become very popular with its sunsets that you can
watch over the waters of northern Australia.
As opposed to Normanton
(which has a
amount of carefully painted historical buildings), Karumba looks like a
hastily thrown-together fishing village.
village is exactly
what it is - there is no better reason that brings people here.
There is even a barramundi
- to help the stock last but also educate people about Australia's most
popular gaming fish and what happens if fishing rules and regulations
are not obeyed.
The other main attraction is the Sunset Tavern, at the Sunset Point, where
lots of people
gather watching the sun setting over the ocean with a drink.
In the township itself,
is nothing much except this bar, popular with fishoes, and some times
you feel apptly named :-)
this 50 pages
guide totally for FREE.
contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
there and get
to stay (general info), what
will it cost..
and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
This complete 300 pages
travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the
background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all
the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact
detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks,
at least 30 guaranteed FREE
camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to
the Cape), at least 40 best
swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things -
from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception,
how to deal with the national
parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits
and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery
gear by my vehicle-recovery-guy partner).
Not to mention locals'
tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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