Sand Island in Gulf of Carpentaria off Karumba, Far North Queensland

Friday, July 1, 2016

25 MILLION YEARS OLD (Savannah Way 7)

After Lunch we left Leichhardt Falls and continued our long drive to Adels Grove near Lawn Hill National Park. (see map)

 We drove across more plains, rivers and cattle stations.

 Due to the late rains this year some of the roads were closed. We had to detour through Burketown. The only thing of interest here was the bore, which was drilled by the government in 1897 for stock and irrigation. However, it was found to be unsuitable for drinking or for crops. It has been bubbling hot water ever since. During the early 1900's a shower was built for weary, dusty travellers.

After another detour through a mining site we eventually arrived at Adels Grove, which is a beautiful holiday park with cabins, permanent tents, a camping area, a store and repair shop. This is the restaurant. Adels Grove was originally a station homestead and then an experimental Botanic Garden set up in 1939  by Albert de Lestang, hence the name Adels. He planted over 1000 species and supplied the worlds botanic gardens with seeds.

The next day we went on excursions. George and I are waiting for the coach. Our cabins are behind us. Ann took the photo.
The morning tour took us 52k south to Riversleigh. Riversleigh is a world heritage fossil site. There are over 200 sites but only one open to tourists. Riversleigh is famous because the fossils are 25 million years old and extremely well preserved because of the calcium rich water and limestone that they are formed in. Not only that but the fossils spread over a 20 million year span and so they show the evolution of the species that were in this area.

 We climbed this hill shrouded by Kite birds flying overhead. Ann and I enjoy the view. (Photo by George)

The gulf Plains stretch for miles.

Our local guide shows us where fossils are embedded in the rocks This one is part of a huge bird.

 This is a fossilised stromatolite, millions of years old.

On the way back to Adels Grove we stopped for morning tea by a river which, covered the road.

Our little 4 wheel drive coach ploughs through the river. After lunch we went on a cruise through a beautiful gorge. (The subject of next post, which maybe in a few weeks time because we are going to Melbourne to see the grandchildren and their parents)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

THE BIGGEST CROCODILE IN THE WORLD (Savannah Way 6)

We left Karumba on the north coast of QLD (see map) and returned to Normanton before continuing along The Savannah Way towards Lawn Hill National Park. 
 This building is a bank in Normanton. It is a typical example of "The Queenslander"  architecture,  where the house is built on stilts above the ground and it has a wide verandah all the way around to keep it cool.

 The Carpentaria Shire Council building is unique in that it was designed like a hotel but it never has been one.

 This is Krys the crocodile. It is a replica of the largest crocodile to be shot in the world. It was shot in 1957 by Krystina Powlowski on the MacAthur Bank, Norman River near Normanton.
 It measured 28ft 4in (8.63m) and estimated to weigh 2 tons. My friend, George, poses to show the scale compared to a man.

 Then we drove for 2 hours to our next stop, Camp 119. It is the camp site of the famous explorers, Bourke and Wills when they almost reached the north coast of Australia after leaving Melbourne on the south coast 6 months before in 1860. It was a tragic expedition. 19 men started with horses, wagons and camels but by half way many had pulled out and only four continued. On the return journey they all died of starvation except one, John King, who was rescued by aborigines. It was the custom to 'blaze' trees with an axe. It was a signature to prove where explorers had been. The blaze is still evident over 150 years later, on many trees at this campsite.  However, they appear low on the trunk but that is because the ground level has risen through years of silt being deposited in wet seasons.

After morning tea it was back in the coach for many more miles. We passed through dry plains and....

we crossed many rivers and,,,,,

 we passed through many cattle stations. American Long Horn cattle have just been introduced.

 Our picnic lunch stop was at Leichhardt Falls. The tour guides were very excited because this is the first time they had seen water flowing. They have done the trip for many years but these tours can only occur during the dry season as the roads are under water in the wet season. However, this year the wet season was very late so we were lucky to see the falls still running.

After flicking off flies while eating a wrap for lunch, we continued on the long journey to Adels Grove near Lawn Hill NP.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

CROC AND CRAB CRUISE, KARUMBA (SAVANNAH WAY 5)

After our historic train ride from nowhere to nowhere, the coach picked us up and we drove to Karumba. (see map). A port town on the north coast of Queensland in the Gulf of Carpentaria. No sooner had we booked into our motel, our guides walked us to the beach. We were reminded to keep a look out for crocodiles. We climbed aboard a little boat for a sunset cruise to a sand island where we had a crab and prawn dinner.
It took about 30 mins to arrive at a small sand island only inhabited by a flock of pelicans.

 As we disembarked we were handed a souvenir wine glass with "Croc and Crab Cruise" etched on it.

Soon we all had it filled with our choice of wine.

 As the sun was setting the organisers set up tables and chairs and a buffet of prawns, crabs, chicken, barramundi fish, salads and quiche.

I didn't take any crab as I find them difficult to eat and I wanted to take photos of the sunset. It was hard enough balancing the plate, the glass of wine and a big camera.

 After the delicious picnic washed down with more wine, I danced to the end of the island to see the pelicans.


It was so peaceful watching the sun go down over the gulf in the warm, balmy, tropical evening.