The sleepy little town of Normanton is a step into history. It is a lovely inland port along the Norman River and the town offers many of the amenities that the Gulf community needs. Its greatest claim to fame is it was the home of Krys a croc’ and also the home of the magnificent Gulflander… a train leaving from somewhere and going to nowhere but what a wonderful ride!
We camped out at the Freecamp, as being freecampers we are fully self-contained and don’t require the often excellent services of some caravan parks much of the time. We live something which is actually a lifestyle not a holiday. I never could understand the common council push to have freecamps limited or restricted in favour of caravan parks. It is like restaurants complaining about picnic’s… Insane!
Normanton is considering opening up its show grounds to freecampers when possible, likely for a gold coin donation. This will offer an alternative to freecampers with dogs, as camping alongside the Norman River with pups is always a concern with the dirty big lizards they have here. You can offer them you opinion and support by contacting them on their feedback link and express an opinion, the link is HERE
Anyway… this post is about the wonderful little Outback towns that Normanton and Croydon are. We found Croydon a friendly little place but with no freecamp available we moved onto Normanton. We also called into Karumba, the gulfside port that sits on the edge of the gulf waters, but with no freecamp available we returned to Normanton. If it wasn’t for the freecamp we wouldn’t ever have made it here in our travels.
At Karumba, the gulf-side town, we indulged in fish and chips by the sea. Ash’s restaurant/cafe does a lovely barra… the only barra I have caught so far and the little fish and chip shop down the way nearby also does a great blue salmon as well. I am told that the interesting candle shop in the business end of town called Midnight Emporium is a wonderland for women, and that’s on the agenda for tomorrow. Though I can honestly say that Karumba have the best and most well organized services and dump spot in Aus. Not only was there ample room to move around, but they also provided a well appointed, free bathroom block with a great fuel stop across the way as well as potable water on a convenient tap.
The township of Normanton however offered true hospitality to the traveller. The little town had all that we needed and it is such a great little stop that we extended our stay. Mainly to explore the promise of the Gulflander which was taking out its ancient RM60 hand cranked engine. The line as opened in 1889, and still operates as a life line for the community in the wet season as the only reliable transport.
The old train is going out for a spin and they were offering rides to those interested in these things. We couldn’t pass that up and it is my next post.
We loved the local Purple Pub for its eccentricities and the meals were generous and excellent too. Everyone we spoke to was friendly and interested and I have no hesitation in recommending it as a stop for the intrepid traveller.
One thing you don’t want to miss out on though in Normanton is the memorial to Krys-the Savannah King, the biggest croc confirmed ever captured in the world. She was shot downstream in Normanton in July 1957 by Krystina Pawlowski a renowned crocodile shooter and the statue is a true representation of the croc’s size and might. Krys measured 28’ 4” (8.63 metres) and is the largest authenticated crocodile ever shot. It was estimated that she weighed in over 2 ton, and I think I have a weight problem!
You will find this in the main street and it is truly awesome! It took some coaxing to get Scotty dog to sit still for the photo shoot but I hope you enjoy the shot. I am still dreaming about that monster and as we travel on through dinosaur country, simply the reality that the beast was shot only some 50 yrs ago is enough to give you nightmares.
I also love sitting quiet and watching the diversity of the birds of the savannah region. The brolga’s who dance to the tune of love, and the Karumba seagulls, those beautiful black kites who menace the skies and can perform the most magnificent of ballet’s on the wing. It is a bird lovers paradise and a photographers dream.
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