Towards Karumba - Burke and Wills

Wild Carol does Australia
John and Fiona Fraser
Mon 13 Aug 2018 13:00
19 13.640S
140 20.831E

By the time we’d finished our coffee and muffins and compared notes with our fellow travellers it was after 12:00 so we needed to get going to reach today’s destination, Karumba, on the Gulf of Carpentaria.

We get occasional feedback from our readers and the more persnickety like to know the finer details. So, for them, our route took us along the Wills Developmental Road to Four Ways where we found the Burke and Wills Roadhouse. Our phones hadn’t been getting a connection for a few days so we went in to ask if Telstra worked there. This time there was no couple from Liverpool - by their accents they were from Essex, somewhere not too far from London, anyway. There may not be many Poms on the road like us but there are certainly plenty of Pom backpackers (and German, Spanish, French) working in the remotest of outback places.

We then turned north along the Burke Developmental Road, towards Normanton. Messrs Burke and Wills came to a sticky end. They led an expedition in 1860-61 to cross Australia from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria but died on the return journey without ever reaching the north coastline, although they were within spitting distance.

We passed through Normanton, a pretty outback town with many fine old buildings and took the Gulf Developmental Road towards Karumba, crossing an area of wetlands, flat as far as you could see, with many different species of birds. One of the striking things about Australia is the numbers and variety of birds, everywhere we’ve been. Our daily alarm is the sound of the birds tweeting, squawking and screeching as soon as the first hint of light appears in the eastern sky.

We arrived quite late in Karumba, and set up our camp. We’d selected the campsite on WikiCamps based on the fact that it had WiFi as our phones still weren’t working.

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