Queensland Road Trip, May 2022
Let’s go on a road trip! Come with us to Townsville and west on the Savannah Way to Karumba on an adventure in far north Queensland.
Welcome to Karumba!
Located at the mouth of the Norman River, Karumba is famous for fishing and sunsets. While we were there, the sunsets lived up to their reputation and we got up close to every fisherman’s dream catch, the barramundi.
We stayed out of town at Karumba Point, where the Norman River flows into the Gulf of Carpentaria. The beach where the river meets the sea is a popular spot for those hoping to catch a barra or a king salmon.
Salt water crocodiles also favour this area. We didn’t see any but we heard stories in town about a very large croc who had recently been coming closer than he should.
Karumba is one of just a few places in Queensland where the sun sets over the ocean so, on our first night, we joined the crowd on the beach. Staying well away from the water’s edge in case that crocodile was lurking, we watched as the setting sun burnished the sky.
The golden glow lingered long after the sun had slipped below the horizon.
The next morning we learned about Karumba’s other claim to fame, at the Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre. Originally established as a venture to restock the waterways around Karumba with barramundi fingerlings, the centre now houses an interactive educational display focussing on the barramundi and its environment.
Entry to the centre is free but we chose to buy tickets for a behind the scenes tour of the barramundi hatchery. We learned how the breeding stock is kept strong and healthy, and followed the process from gathering fertilised spawn to caring for fingerlings before releasing them into the waterways around Karumba and elsewhere in northern Queensland.
We also had the chance to hand feed the huge silver fish. Glen found out that big fish make a big splash when they’re focussed on snatching their dinner.
In the afternoon we joined a Ferryman Gulf Sunset and Wildlife Cruise to see Karumba from a different perspective. First we sailed upriver towards the town, passing buildings constructed as part of northern Australia’s defence system during World War Two.
At the wharf a ship was preparing to carry freight to islands in the Gulf.
Further along lay an another boat, long ago abandoned to the elements.
White egrets perched on overhanging branches, intent on catching a late afternoon snack.
Just before sunset the boat turned, sailing back downstream and into the Gulf of Carpentaria.
The sun set as quickly as it had the day before, slipping below the horizon in a matter of minutes.
Everyone sat in silence, watching the play of colour in the west. Behind us in the east, the moon rose in a dusky sky.
Back on land after our cruise, we went in search once more for barramundi – at the local fish and chips shop!