23.08.2009 - 30.08.2009
This email is being sent from Georgetown Queensland where we've just set up camp for two days.
Last Monday (24 Aug) we left Longreach and decided to travel through to Cloncurry, arriving there at about 1400 after travelling just over 540 Km. The weather continued hot and at times windy. We stopped briefly at McKinlay Road house. Lots of road-trains carting mine concentrates to the railway line East of Cloncurry.
We spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Cloncurry, generally sweltering in 35 + temperatures. The town itself is not particularly remarkable but does have some huge old pubs. We looked in on the Home Hardware store there and were greatly impressed by the enormous range of items stocked there. As the manager said, they are the only thing around for 100 Km and they have town, pastoral and mining customers.
Thursday (27 Aug) we packed up and left for Karumba. Sections of the 480 Km road were as good as any we've travelled but other parts were the original 'ribbon' type. A narrow strip of black-top with wide gravel shoulders. With a cross-wind and a considerable amount of dust it was a bit hairy when we had to move over for oncoming trucks. It was hard to imagine that the whole area was covered in flood waters only about a year ago. We stopped for 'smoko' at the Burke & Wills roadhouse and again for a break at Normanton, arriving at the caravan park just before 1300.
We packed a fair bit into the three days in Karumba. We had Barramundi & Chips at Ash's and watched the sun set over the Gulf of Carpentaria. We bought some freshly cooked Endeavour Prawns and some Barramundi fillets. We visited the Barramundi Discovery Centre where the breed barramundi for a re-stocking program. On Friday evening we went on a sunset cruise and enjoyed about 2 1/2 hours on the water. The skipper and his mate were most informative and provided a running commentary on the history, the wildlife and the fortunes of the town. Many of the local fisherman have parked up their boats because the cost of diesel has risen more than 10% since the Queensland Gov cut the subsidy.
In addition to being a fishing port, Karumba ships out live cattle (about 6 times a year) and zinc concentrates from the Century Mine almost 300 Km to the South West. The mine concentrates are pumped through a 36 inch pipe as a slurry which is then settled, dried and palletised in Karumba.
Saturday we dropped into the general store next to the caravan park. Doesn't look like much from the outside but stocks a good range of just about anything you could need. Food, clothing, fishing and camping gear as well as more general hardware. The business is for sale and it will take the buyer a month to count all of the stock on hand !! Spent the rest of the day relaxing at the caravan and preparing for today's departure.
Sunday, left Karumba early and headed off into a damp fog. Lasted at least two hours until we were well clear of Normanton. Stopped briefly in Croydon - really a very tidy town will most of the old buildings tarted up and painted. The road was generally good but deteriorated to a narrow strip as we got closer to Georgetown. Fortunately there was very little traffic so the single lane was fine.
We're set up in the Goldfields Caravan Park for two nights - we're off to Cobbold Gorge tomorrow then head further East.
We hope this finds you as it leaves us, in good health and remember, if the thought of reading this boring stuff for the next 8 weeks isn't to your taste, just let me know and I'll drop you from "the list".