Thursday, July 7, 2016

July 7th. 8th & 9th

It was an excellent bitumen road for the last 30 km into Normanton from the Burke and Wills site. It is hard to imagine how Burke and Wills and their team travelled such long and remote distances without any support. It is 155 years ago since they set out from Victoria on this Epic Expedition.

We have enjoyed a restful day at Normanton and are now camped on the Norman River just out of town.

In the main street of the town there is an amazing life size model of the largest estuarine crocodile ever killed It is huge! The size of its mouth and body have to be seen to be believed. The host , Jason, in the Info Centre told us there is now another very large croc living upstream from Normanton. It has been seen from a helicopter and appears to be a similar size although not quite as large as this original giant.

'Krys' the world's largest crocadile
. It was shot by well known crocodile hunter Krystina Pawlowski hunter in 1957 and measured 8 metres and 63 cm long. The 'look alike' was made to measure. I found it to be truly frightening and quite sickening.

A meal out at the Albion Hotel was enjoyed by us all.. a night off cooking is always appreciated.

The morning of July 8th John and I enjoyed a half hour walk on the 'Shared Pathway' which crossed over the Norman River. Sometimes it is difficult to fit a walk into our day so this was very pleasant.

Taken from the bridge over the Norman River

Late in the morning we boarded the Gulflander train. The rail line actually goes to Croyden which is 5 hours away. We only toured as far as Critters Camp and return. There is no station out here so steps are lowered to climb on and off the train. This 2 hour trip was long enough as the little train gave us a very rough ride. Having said that, it was fun and the commentary interesting.. The Gulflander train is owned and operated by Queensland Rail.

Gulflander train at Critters Camp.
There are many different birds in this part of Queensland. We are now seeing brolga quite often and a couple of Saurus Cranes flew over our camp this morning. They are very similar to brolgas. Jabarus and Royal Ibis live up hear as well. I think the little blue winged Kookaburra is the oddest of all. We have heard him lots of times. He is only able to make a cackling noise unlike our Laughing Kookaburras in Victoria that are known for their hearty laugh.

This evening we have come up to Karumba to camp for 2 nights. We are in a very big camp with some enormous rigs. I think many of these people are keen fishers of barramundi. We do not fish but this evening Geoff cooked some very delicious barramundi for us.

I have written Normanton and Karumba on the same post because the two towns are quite close together. They are both on the Norman River about 70 km apart.

We explored Karumba this morning, yes, did some shopping because most shops close at Midday Saturday. Lunch was enjoyed looking over the waters of the The Gulf of Carpentaria. It has been hot so very easy to enjoy R & R.

Jabiru enjoying fish for dinner
About 4.00 pm we found the wharf where we boarded a small craft for a sunset cruise. One croc was spotted sunning himself before evening. The bird life was wonderful to see and quite close up as well. A pair of Jabiru, a black kite and several whistling hawks enjoyed the fish which was thrown to them. A surprise siting of the unusual Great Billed Heron was very special. It is grey in colour and so well camouflaged that only a few people have the opportunity to see it in the wild. A large flock or creche of juvenile Royal Spoonbills was also impressive to see for ourselves.
The sunset and village lights completed our cruise.

Setting sun across the Gulf 

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