Wild Carol does Australia
John and Fiona Fraser
Tue 14 Aug 2018 10:00
The original plan was to stop in Normanton but we decided to go to Karumba because Fiona wanted to see the sea. It’s only a 160 km detour there and back!
We arrived and checked into the campsite in the town then went for a drive around. No sea! Only the river which we assumed did eventually go to the sea. A small place with a couple of shops but surprisingly well stocked. The supermarket was out of fresh milk but we were assured they’d be getting a delivery at 5 in the morning.
Our campsite was right next to a small camp kitchen and as it was still quite windy we decided to do our cooking there. We normally prefer to cook at our own site as all our stuff is to hand and the camp kitchens can become a bit of a free-for-all, but this one was convenient and there was nobody else there.
As we were setting up camp a family arrived in a Discovery 4 pulling a massive and very dusty camping trailer. Mum, Dad - both around 40 - and 4 boys ranging in age from 7 to 12. They’d just come from Cape York and had done 6 hours on dirt roads that day to reach Karumba. They were from Ballarat in Victoria and had been on the road since May, aiming to be home by Christmas doing an anti-clockwise circuit. They’d crossed the Simpson Desert (no roads) and been to all kinds of wild places. Mum, a teacher by profession, was home schooling the boys in the car on the road!
Most of this info we got from the 12 year old in the camp kitchen but we had a good chat with Mum and Dad the next day. Of course I asked about the Discovery, reliability etc. It hadn’t put a foot wrong, their only problem being a puncture in the Simpson desert. It wasn’t wildly modified from standard apart from some underbody protection and a snorkel. His view was that the standard car was extremely capable and doesn’t need lots of mods. He’d had water over the bonnet on some of the river crossings in Cape York and the car coped fine. Of course I was delighted to hear all this, being a bit of a Land Rover fan.
Next morning we packed up, got our fresh milk, which had duly been delivered, and headed for the ‘Undara Experience’ which we’d been told was worth seeing, but mainly because it was about the right distance and had a decent campsite.
Bird life in the wetlands between Normanton and Karumba
Finally, the sea!
This is the rig you need - they were carrying 6 bikes too!
There seems to be a fashion of dressing up the termite (or teramyte, as Fiona calls them) hills at the side of the road