153. Karumba

I thought Karumba deserved a blog to itself. We did not tow Westy the caravan there, as we had heard all the camps were full, and we were happy at the Normanton camp with its wide spaces and good facilities. As it turned out we could probably have squeezed into one of the Karumba camps, but no matter. It’s only 70 km one way …. and we ARE in the outback. What’s more we did the round trip twice (!)

Along the way we hit another river which featured in the 1971 MGTF trip. Walker Creek on the Karumba Road …

Walker Ck, Karumba Rd

…. and again now with the usual huge high modern bridge.



This is the river crossing where, for once, Geoff braved the crocs instead of sending me across first to feel for cracks and potholes, just like this one….



On one side there was a clearing beside a sort of waterhole which people obviously used for swimming, with a swinging rope – and sign warning against swimming because of the crocodiles.



On to Karumba across a huge flood plain. There were lots of brolgas, almost always in pairs, no doubt attracted by the semi-permanent waterway which ran beside the road.


(Was this the one I photographed in 1971? – and yes thats the main road between Normanton and Karumba!)

N'ton-Kar rd

There was also a large number of kites no doubt attracted by the plentiful roadkill, almost all little wallabies. Sad.


The Karumba Information Centre is modern and well-stocked with brochures and helpful volunteers, who suggested where to go for a prawn lunch, item number one on our list. This was at Karumba Point, where there is a sandy beach but as usual there were signs warning about swimming or even paddling.




We decided to try a sample platter, prawns five ways for $35, and one platter was enough for the two of us. Well, almost.


We sat outside under a huge tree which we later found out was a Beach Almond  </www.naturesface.com.au/native-almond-tree/> and watched a prawn fishing boat – or was he after barramundi? heading out to sea with several smaller boats in attendance.


There used to be a jetty at Karumba Point.

IMG_1000 (1) This was most likely the jetty Geoff and I saw in 1971. Note also the Burns Philp store mentioned in the previous blog, now beautified.

Kar. jetty & N't BP store.png

Karumba prawns are legendary. Yet the industry only started in 1964 when a local fisherman Noel Sykes, after some 981 tries, brought up the first full net of banana prawns, winning a magnum of champagne which had been offered as an incentive for the first skipper who landed a substantial catch. The Northern Prawn Fishery is Australia’s most valuable Commonwealth fishery and is considered one of the best managed fisheries in the world.

The popularity of barramundi was also everywhere. A Barramundi Discovery Centre was established in 1993 by some local commercial fishermen where they have bred and released  hundreds of thousands of barramundi fingerlings “for the long term benefit of the environment, commercial and recreational fishers”. It was not open when we were there.

A look around the wharf area turned out to be far more interesting than expected. To start with, we wondered what the tides were like as the wharves were on very long stilts. We discovered that there is only one tide a day. IMG_1005IMG_1006

i had not known that Karumba was once an important flying boat base.

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The commercial flying boat services ceased during WWII when Burma was captured by the Japanese. the Royal Australian Air Force took over the facilities as a Catalina base. A concrete ramp and large hangar are built in 1942 to service the flying boats.


This is the straight stretch of river used for take-off.



One other series of signs captured our attention. There was a huge flood in 1974, the largest on record. The entire township had to be evacuated and hundreds of square miles of Gulf country were inundated.


After a look around town we bought 1 kg of prawns for dinner, booked for a sunset cruise the next day and returned to Normanton. That evening one of the camp people came round to invite us to the free prawn and drink and movie night the next evening, so we phoned Karumba and postponed our sunset cruise till the following  evening – “no trouble mate”.

We were absolutely sated by the time we’d got through 2/3 of the kilo of huge prawns, two sauces,  a french bread stick and of course plenty of Sav Blanc. Sitting outside in the warm dusk, the sky glowing red behind us, what could be better? The rest of the prawns we had for breakfast as garlic prawns on toast. (No photos, fingers too sticky!!)

On our second visit to Karumba we discovered a few more things, like Bunratty Castle.  He moved the bricks four at a time  …??IMG_1010

IMG_1009Version 2

The finale for our Karumba visit was the evening cruise. We had a lovely time with some congenial people and a very knowledgeable guide and would strongly recommend Ferryman Cruises to anyone going up that way. We boarded near the RAAF base and cruised slowly upriver, but not before our guide had fed some of the kites which were wheeling around …



..  we soon saw a jabiru, a gorgeous big bird (‘the Australian stork’) and then visited a short-tailed crocodile enjoying the last rays of the sun beside its nest.

Normanton sunset cruise07Normanton sunset cruise08Normanton sunset cruise09Normanton sunset cruise10

More of Dave’s birds:

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A sad old wreck:


Then it was back down the river and out towards the entrance. The boat started to rock just a little – hooray! Drinks and nibbles were handed out followed by small plates of fresh prawns. Everyone was taking photos of the sunset, and themselves. There was not a cloud in the sky but the horizon glowed fiery red for ages.



Then the drive back to Normanton in the dark, a bit slower than usual, all senses alert for pesky wallabies who had not learnt right-of-way rules. We saw quite a few right beside the road but they just sat and stared. Our lovely bull-bar is still pristine but we were glad we had it.

This is the turning point for us in Queensland, from now on we will be heading east rather than north and west.

152. Normanton.

On the way to Normanton I was keeping a sharp eye out for the Flinders River, which Geoff and I had crossed in the MGTF in 1971 with some difficulty. (See Blog 141 – An Earlier Tour of the Outback).


Flinders R., J.Ck.jpg

What I wasn’t prepared for was the enormous new bridge – and the size of the little floodway which we had negotiated with some trepidation all those years ago. Foolhardy perhaps but we were young and invincible (?).

My camera batteries were both flat by then, they are one of the few things we can’t recharge on the road, so Dave took all these photos starting with where we left Grandy and Westie parked beside the highway and walked back towards the new bridge. Note the new flood signs on the left (relative to flood height above the new bridge) and the old sign in the third photo.



The old floodway was nearby, with a free camping ground at the top of the hill. We were tempted, but pushed on to get nearer to Normanton and a camp with power and water so we could recharge everything and have some showers. DSC02905DSC02907DSC02909DSC02910DSC02911


We’d been concerned about all the campsites at Normanton and Karumba being reportedly chock-full but discovered the newer one on the southern outskirts of Normanton had plenty of room. Initially we booked in for two nights but found ourselves staying for five. That included two day trips to Karumba (next blog) and an interesting train ride.


I find myself liking some country towns far more than others, I’m not sure why, sometimes it’s the people we meet there, sometimes it’s the general appearance of the town, sometimes it’s one special feature or just the general atmosphere. Normanton seemed to have it all. Yet my memory of it from 1971 was of a singularly uninteresting dusty town.






It was obvious that the local residents (mostly) took great pride in their town. Apart from the usual notice boards explaining historical features – which seem to be in just about every country town now, at least those on the main tourist routes – old buildings have been spruced up and native plantings are everywhere, but particularly around the old Burns Philp store …..





…… and the railway station.








As in NZ, many towns have a large ‘something’ – mango, salmon, pineapple, L&P bottle – not to be outdone Normanton has a huge crocodile. It is a full sized model of a croc shot some years ago by local  woman Krystina Pawlowski. We were to learn more about her later.


The old jail and trackers’ quarters.



Here’s a road train parked in the main road through town, between one of the historic pubs and the bank. The main road is very wide indeed – as in other country towns presumably so bullock trains could turn around.



One morning we managed to get up in time to catch the 8.30 am Gulflander ….. Here’s Dave’s story.

We have been hearing about the Gulflander for quite a while with several people recommending the trip just for fun. The original railway was supposed to be built between Normanton and Cloncurry but when gold was discovered at Croydon shortly after construction started, it was decided to divert the railway there. Built on a system using steel sleepers instead of the usual wood to frustrate the termites and white ants, the low profile of the lines also allowed flood waters to wash over them without doing damage.

We arrived at Normanton a day too late to do the full trip from Normanton to Croydon and return but were lucky enough to find that there was a short trip scheduled to Critters Camp and return on the Monday after. We were at the station in plenty of time for the 0830 start and I was amazed at the number of people waiting to board the train, it seemed to be a pretty popular thing. The train itself consists of the motor unit and 2 carriages, the motor unit is built on in AEC bus chassis and has about 20 seats and the carriages look to be standard Railway type carriages.


These were all built at the Queensland railway workshops in Ipswich and refurbished in the 1960s and are still in remarkably good condition today. The line itself uses a very light rails more like a tram-way and the ride was very interesting, I’m not sure if my father would be horrified or amused but I’m sure he would have been able to give them some tips on how to smooth the ride out.






We had a great morning out anyway on a very interesting trip and a good commentator. The marker showing the flood levels for various years was astonishing…..


Nancy: Much of that rail trip was over a vast floodplain, the soil was sandy and the anthills were smallish but very numerous. The Norman river looked quite different from the train.


And the rail bridge also looked different from the road next day.


Arriving back at Normanton:



That afternoon, leaving Westie behind, we drove 33 km down a dirt track to visit Burke and Wills’ Camp 119, their second-last camp. Throughout our travels around western NSW and Queensland we’ve been coming on more and more mentions of Burke & Wills, maps of their journey, artefacts (like a waterbag at Cloncurry) and monuments (like the highway rest on the way to Mt. Isa). But this particular Camp 119 is of particular importance. Plus I’m a bit of a tree-hugger 😉




We delayed our departure from Normanton for one more day so we could attend the prawns and film evening at the camp. A free plate of Gulf prawns, a free drink and a chance to see an old film about the local woman crocodile hunter Krystina Pawlowski – who could resist. The film was an old black and white one produced by her husband, and there were some quite hilarious staged ‘scenes’ – e.g. in demonstrating her care of other reptiles we saw her driving along dirt road, a snake appears, she stops, and lo and behold emerges from the big dirty truck in a pretty flowered dress (with a rope petticoat?), tenderly lifts up the huge python and puts it by the roadside. In another scene on her small boat, after we’d just seen her wading around in thigh-deep mud and wrestling with a dead croc, she emerges from the cabin in a freshly ironed blouse holding a cigarette and a cup and saucer (yes, really)….. But other parts of the film were more serious and very interesting, showing her setting baited lines and catching a huge stingray instead and retrieving the hook and bait; hauling a giant dead croc out of the water and then skinning it, salting the skin and rolling it up very neatly and putting it with other rolls…. It was a lovely evening and of course everyone started chatting, ordering more drinks, etc etc. We were glad we’d stayed.

Postscript: Facebook tells me:

Onewomanwandering  is now at Barkley Homestead, Tennant Creek, NT ·  (6 August 2016)… “Shower, cold drink, laundry and bath for stinky dog coming up!!!”

151. The Gregory River and Lawn Hill.

Leaving Cloncurry (again!) we knew we couldn’t make it to Gregory Downs via the Burke & Wills Roadhouse before nightfall so spent the night at a free camp by the roadside, in company with about 5 other caravans. We nearly missed it, we couldn’t find the free camp we were looking for but eventually came upon another just as dusk was falling. Another van arrived just after us – they couldn’t find the earlier camp either. Dave has already told (previous blog) of changing a flat tyre here.


Next morning after avoiding some jaywalkers on the highway we arrived at Gregory Downs at the end of the bitumen; from then on it was unsealed to both the Boodjamulla National Park (Lawn Hill) which includes Adels Grove and to Burketown. One dusty motel, one dusty little shop with a fuel pump, a few houses along a dusty side street, and some quite good public toilets …. was that really all?



But just a few hundred metres away was another world, the banks of the Gregory River. As we approached the bridge all we could see was a huge dusty space marked ‘preferred camping ground’ and no caravans at all. Yet we knew this was a favoured stopping spot. All became clear as we went over the bridge – it looked like 50 or more caravans were parked on one side of the river bank below. How to get down? A likely looking track was labelled Stop – No Caravan Access but a passerby assured us it was the way down to the river, everyone went that way. So we went.


This is the way caravans used to get to the riverside. No wonder a newer ‘driveway’ had become necessary. The day after we arrived a bulldozer blocked off this old bridge with some large rocks.



We were soon set up on slightly higher ground than the immediate bank, all places there being taken, under the shade of a large tree. There we stayed for four nights, and even then were reluctant to leave.


We went for several walks including one over the bridge. The very next day a sign appeared – No Pedestrians Permitted on the bridge(!) First the bulldozer then the sign – surely we were not responsible?!




The river at this point was very cool and clear, not very wide and infinitely inviting. We joined a couple of children and adults drifting down the river feet first until fetching up near a small sandbank were it was possible to stand upright again. The pebbles were very sharp underfoot so our elderly feet were pleased we carried our crocs with us while drifting … but thankfully didn’t see any real crocs. No photos of us swimming, alas.



Someone was feeding the kites which swooped and soared above the camp. At one point there must have been 20 or so, the word soon spread. They were being fed with pieces of meat or chicken including fat and bones, thrown as far up as possible. A few adventurous kites would swoop right down to retrieve the pieces that had been missed or dropped. Here are Dave’s photos – the one with a rounded tail is a whistling kite, the others are black kites:

Here’s an outback setup which seems to be very popular … just a smallish trailer which folds up and out and includes a large BBQ, etc. We’ve seen many of these since reaching the outback proper.IMG_0890

We became friends with two of the nearest neighbours, enjoying pre-prandial drinks and even a small fire on the last night. We marvelled at the fact that the river never runs dry even during summer. And that during the Wet, it can rise over 2 metres in less than an hour! (The photo of the old bridge taken from the new one plus the 1M flood sign  will give some idea of just how high the Gregory can rise).

The “small dusty shop” proved surprisingly well stocked. They offered cafe style coffee on a little verandah outside next to a book exchange and clothing rack. Notices everywhere asked for glass jars (I was able to offload several), help with Excel, and apologies because they had run out of coffee beans, so no coffee (!). On our last day there the weekly (?) food truck arrived from Burketown and I was able to get some fresh vegetables and a pot of sour cream (essential for potato salad). A peek inside the covered truck showed a number of large and beautiful potted ferns as well as boxes of food for outlying stations. The spunky young guy driving the truck (why didn’t I have my camera with me) had to write everything down in painstakingly neat figures, so many lemons etc weighting x at y per kilo, total z dollars. I think he stocked up in Burketown but everything came from Cairns probably by huge road train.

We still had a flat tyre to contend with, and the Gregory Downs roadstop couldn’t help, so we left Westy by the river and drove to Adels Grove in the Lawn Hills National Park for the day. Luckily they thought they could fix the puncture there, as indeed proved the case.

A bit of bitumen before the dust started. The distant hills beckoned.



So we were at fabled Adels Grove at last! Named after a French naturalist who established a sort of oasis there, it’s now a business running a holiday park, canoe/kayak hire and solar-powered boat trips up the gorge. Usually you have to book for the latter and initially we were told we’d have to wait two days, but luckily there was a cancellation. Here’s what the gorge looks like from the air.


It was surreal gliding along the Lawn Hill River, no motor discernible, with a knowledgeable guide explaining various features. (This is the boat with the previous load of passengers).


Gregory Adels 07


Through the gorge we went, admiring the huge cliffs with ferns and trees clinging precariously……. (the sun was very bright, difficult to take good photos with the deep shade)

Gregory Adels 08



….. spotting a lone croc sunbaking and a couple of Leichhardt trees…..


….. and finally coming to a barrier, the Indarri Falls, formed by calcite concretions called Tufa which had slowly built up over the years. The river is very high in mineral content, much higher than most other rivers. Some people were swimming near this barrier, apparently a fairly safe place compared the rest of the river! It was a very hot day and I quite envied them, but we were relatively cool on the boat under a canopy.





An explanation of tufa, for those scientifically inclined, as gleaned from a series of noticeboards:

Rainwater falling on the Barkly Tableland, a large area of limestone to the SW, soaks into the porous rock. Rainwater combines with carbon dioxide in the soil to form a weak acid which dissolves the limestone. the water now rich in calcite and dolomite flows through aquifers (underground springs) of the Georgina Basin which underlies the tableland. Where the honeycomb-like limestone meets the less-porous sandstone, underground water is forced upwards as springs which fed into the creeks and rivers.

In the creek, as water flows over obstructions such as rocks or debris, a reaction similar to unscrewing the top of a soft drink bottle takes place and carbon dioxid e gas is given off and a skin of solid calcium carbonate (calcite) is deposited on the obstructing surface. With time the calcite forms a porous brittle rock known as Tufa.

As calcite is deposited in the creek, plant and animal matter can be trapped and  fossilised within the tufa….. Scientists believe that in ancient times calcite rafts played role in fossil formation.

Indarri FallsWater at work:M.yrs

Back down the gorge to our starting point. Nobody wanted to leave the boat, but another  group of passengers was waiting.


Time to move on. We packed up and left the river with regret, heading back the 148 km to the Burke & Wills Roadhouse, then north towards Normanton.

150. Mary Kathleen.

A previous blog (No. 144, Another Postcard – a Wee Mishap) has covered the events in between leaving Camooweal and returning to Mt. Isa. Briefly, we set off via dirt road for Adels Grove in the Lawn Hill National Park, but some way along a caravan spring broke, Dave did a marvellous jury rig job and we limped back to Mt. Isa. Next day Dave managed to obtain the necessary materials to do a proper job. Mt. Isa was hot, the camp was hot and uninteresting (although it did have $3 washing machines), the caravan was fixed … time to move on.



One thing not mentioned in the Postcard was the remarkable lady who we met at the Barkly Highway-dirt road turnoff where we’d stopped for a cuppa before the long slog back to Mt. Isa. We had spotted her some days earlier, walking along by the highway pushing a well-laden … something-on-wheels. Unfortunately with the caravan in tow we couldn’t stop then, so it was a delight to meet her in person with time to chat. A lovely friendly and very fit looking person with a friendly little once-white-and-fluffy dog called Dexter as her only companion. Dexter rides in state on top of everything else but under a canopy, so remains relatively cool. They sleep under the stars most nights.


The tricycle has a small solar-powered motor to help her get up hills, plus she has a mobile phone, a good camera, a CB radio, and an EPB (emergency personal beacon) so is well equipped. The whole weighs about 350 kg, still not enough to prevent being blown over by a road train thundering past. Tracy righted it on her own.


She has been on the road for over one year and intends to continue for another two or so! She is basically trying to raise money for mental health awareness. Her website can explain it better than me: www.onewomanwandering.com.au.


To resume the blog:

We thought it would be a good idea not to go too far from Mt. Isa until we were confident all was well with Westy the caravan. We still had hopes to get to Adels Grove but by a different route, Cloncurry to Gregory Downs (all surfaced) and then, perhaps, the last 90 km or so unsurfaced to the Grove.

The 180 or so km between Mt. Isa and Cloncurry seemed a good testing ground, with a planned stop at the old Mary Kathleen uranium mine, where there is now free parking in the abandoned township. After stocking up on groceries etc in Mt. Isa (and taking some more photos for Ross F. who once lived there) we set off. All went well and soon we were at the entrance with its very rough looking track. Oh well – spring testing time!




The area is not well signposted and we missed the turnoff to the camp and lurched along a winding bush track for some time until finding the back entrance. Once in the ‘township’ – all that remains are concrete slabs, a few rock walls and some plantings of hardy oleander –  we found a suitable slab to serve as our front patio and were soon set up with our lovely big awning providing welcome shade on what was one of the hottest days we’ve encountered so far, barring the one when the spring broke (!).



That evening we were entertained by a mob of cattle wandering past; it seems the township is part of a private property. A few years ago the owners were greatly agitated at the news that the mine might be revived, but it seems their fears were unfounded. They were fearful that stirring up the old tailing dumps would mean radioactive and/or poisonous chemicals would be blown all over the property and would contaminate water and vegetation. This did not seem to worry all the campers we saw, some had obviously been there for some time.


We decided to try and find the mine itself, leaving Westy behind. More lurching along innumerable bush tracks, finding a couple of old ruins and then by good luck we spotted a tiny little sign saying Mine and an arrow. (Later we were to direct several other lost explorers to that little sign!).


IMG_0815We parked where the top of the open cut mine was just visible, then walked. What a surprise was in store.


A lake! Our photos do not do justice to the colour. Not for swimming though – the water conceals and/or contains a multitude of sins such as poisonous chemicals and mine tailings.

cloncurry Camooweal 37


The temptation to try to walk all around the ‘lake’ on one of the terraces was overwhelming. Dave finally found a reasonable approach and we were off along the third terrace from the bottom, which for some reason has a low outer wall of large boulders and thick wire and also appeared considerably wider than some of the other terraces. I’m proud that I did that walk.


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The colours were amazing … and so many minerals visible in the rocks. IMG_0839cloncurry Camooweal 38IMG_0845

One shrub seemed predominant everywhere, and I finally found out what it was – Calotrope – a “priority weed” for the Burke Shire in fact. (We’ve been seeing more and more of it as we move east). 


We decided not to stay more than one night but to head for Cloncurry and then north. We called in at the scene of the Stockman’s Challenge on the way – what a difference a week makes. The grounds people had obviously taken full advantage of the well-tilled earth and planted lots of new shade trees. Grass was springing up everywhere in the well-fertilised red soil.


Dave’s version: Mount Isa to Cloncurry to Gregory Downs

After putting everything back together at Mount Isa and hopefully locking everything in place with  large quantities of Loctite we left early-ish and drove quietly down to the Mary Kathleen Mine village. After setting up there and having lunch we went for a walk through the mine, or rather we walked around a large hole in the ground that had been the Mary Kathleen uranium mine. Uranium was discovered here in 1954, the mine started production 1958 and closed in 1982.

The Spring rebuild seemed to be holding up so we carried on through Cloncurry and up the highway to Gregory Downs. We topped up tanks at the Burke and Wills Roadhouse…..


….. and while doing so I noticed something shiny in one of the tires, drove forward to clear the pumps and stopped to inspect the wheel, unfortunately the bull dust was coating everything and I couldn’t find the shiny bit. Keeping my fingers crossed we drove off towards Gregory Downs and stopped at a free camp beside the highway.


Checking the tire again I found there was a nail in it although the tire was not flat. This brought on the old dilemma, had the nail gone through the carcass of the tire or had it gone sideways in the tire and should I pull the nail out or should I leave it in. Guessing from the angle of the visible part of the nail that it had gone in sideways I decided to pull the nail out and found I had guessed wrong. So I changed the tire to the spare and the next morning we carried on to Gregory Downs where we are now camped in the bed of the Gregory River in company with about 20 or 30 other vans.

Tomorrow we will head up to the Adel Grove where I have to get the tire repaired.

149. Camooweal

Another place I couldn’t wait to visit. Nowadays it is considered a sort of outer suburb of Mt. Isa (!) But it has a total different character; it’s the OUTBACK.

The 189 km of Barkly Highway between Mt. Isa and Camooweal (“Tojo’s Highway”) with its varied scenery and thousands of red anthills, was broken at one point by an unusual feature – a section of the old highway which was built during World War II with American funds. It was originally designed as a link between the southern states and the theoretical ‘front line’ in the NT. Before 1940 it was just a track which ran close to the telegraph line erected in 1897 and meandered from waterhole to waterhole. The new road, commenced in 1941, was ten miles shorter. By the end of 1941. Australian and American traffic on the road was up to 1,000 vehicles pre day! (That’s a section of the old road in the foreground of the second photo.)



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Nowadays it is a useful resting/camping place for many caravans, and sadly the place where one dog had to be left behind. No not this one …



This rest place was not far from the turnoff to the station “Calton Downs” where my grandfather d’Archy worked as a stockman aged 22 according to the Queensland electoral roll of 1905.  Ten years later he was managing  “Headingly” station and three years later, now a married man, he was managing “Chatsworth”. Perhaps not the easiest country for mustering.



Our first stop on the outskirts of Camooweal was the Drover’s Camp. My great grandfather having been a drover in this area in the late 1890s and 1900s I was especially keen to visit. However, the focus is on the 1920s-1940s and the volunteers who care for the place were once real drovers themselves.



It was a fascinating display and Dave found the long talk very worthwhile.Tales of the Canning Stock route and of setting up camp with everything done in orderly fashion including lining up all the pack bags in precise order so the could be grabbed by the correct person and loaded on the correct packhorse next morning.IMG_0491



A fascinating demonstration of how to make and light a carbide lamp (oh the horrid smell!).



And an extraordinary portrait gallery of drovers, including several women.



Then on through the town – very small with one general store cum post office and a couple of roadhouses and two fuel stations.


Road trains thundered along the main street…


The township of Camooweal does not have a great many attractions but one which does get attention is this statue of a stockman. I like the way he looks backwards.



He is beside a lovely old building, once the shire hall, said to be a fine example of colonial architecture and currently being restored. It was a beautiful pink colour which Dave said was merely undercoat but which I hope will also be the final colour.




We were heading for a free camp on the banks of a large billabong just outside town. It had been raining in the area recently and the ground was quite soft so we were a little nervous about venturing too far from the main camping area.




Later on we wished we had – there are several kilometres of dirt track bordering the waterhole, with caravans and other camping vehicles spread far and wide. It looked like some had bedded down for a long stay. And why not? Absolutely glorious scenery, peace and quiet, water and necessities available not too far away …. we could definitely have stayed there for much longer. And all free. The birdlife along the river was amazing. Brolgas, egrets, pelicans …. and beautiful white and purple waterlilies. I make no apology for the number of photographs.

This is what I saw the first morning.The waterhole at this point is narrow with a small number of waterlilies.



IMG_0544Early next morning I went for a short walk:IMG_0546


IMG_0525Some of Dave’s bird photos:

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Further down the track, so to speak the waterhole widened and the waterlilies exponentially multiplied – as did the birdlife.



IMG_0660More of Dave’s birds:

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More camping as the far end of the waterhole, where it starts to narrow:IMG_0696IMG_0674IMG_0670IMG_0669


Apart from an occasional sortie into town to get bread and milk, we made one short trip, as one does – to the Northern Territory. Only 12 kilometres down the road. The effects of unseasonal rain were still in evidence.IMG_0646

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Here’s map showing Camooweal and its relation to some other places we’ve passed through. We will be heading for Normanton soon.


We didn’t visit the Camooweal Caves National Park, as the caves are closed to visitors and camping is not permitted within the park.

Next blog: an Adventure! Actually it’s already been covered  by Blog No. 144.