Exploring the Savannah Way

I had two days off work. We decided to go exploring. Further west, along the Savannah Way, the familiar stretch of outback before us… Stopping at Croydon, then onto Normanton, we were welcomed by a purple painted pub! Well if it’s purple, you kind of have to have a drink in it ;-). After a Canadian Club and dry (these Australian drink combinations rub off on me) and some confused banter regarding the ‘mangoes’ and ‘no mangoes’ toilet signs, we found Krys the Savannah King! A replica of the largest saltwater crocodile ever caught in the world. Shot in July 1957 by Krystina Pawlowski, measuring 8.6m, an estimated weight of over 2 tonnes, you certainly wouldn’t want to find yourself in the water with that!! Obligatory photo shots taken of course, we headed onto Karumba.

Eagles and cranes flying alongside and the beautiful open road in front of us, reaching Kurumba, finding the Gulf of Carpentaria, it was pretty cool to get to the western side of the tip of Queensland. Time to relax and have a schooner of beer :-). Hot, and not too keen for a night in a tent, we upgraded our night’s stay to a night in a motel cabin. Enough room to fit a family of four quite comfortably, I would have been pretty content with just a bed and some air con ;-). Sunset over the gulf, dinner and some drinks, it wasn’t too shabby a day off at all! Though just staying for one night, packing minimally, I left half my toiletries… Including my bite cream and my pack of tablets. I should have known better. I ended up with five mozzie bites and a very sore leg that missing ibuprofen couldn’t help… Silly… Some Belgian pills that I had never heard of were taken in good faith and along with a good sleep helped a lot.

Spending the morning in one of Karumba’s main tourist attractions, the ‘Barramundi discovery centre’ we learnt a bit more about the ever popular Australian fish. The name ‘Barramundi’ an aboriginal term, it means “big scale”. We learnt that the Gulf of Carpentaria has five out of the sixteen genetic strains of barramundi. That there’s a distinct difference between Eastern and Western Coast barramundi. That the discovery centre is the only place to breed the southern gulf strain. That the nine day old 9mm ‘baby’ barra are called ‘fry’, then by day 18, named ‘fingerling’. Maturing first as functional male fish, between five and seven years, in the presence of salt water, the males change sex into female barramundi and of the importance of the seasons, in particular of the wet season, in order for these fish to develop. Good to know some facts about Australian ‘barra’ ;-).

A little bit more learned and after one of the hottest chai latte’s I have ever drunk (15 mins and only a third managed she must have actually boiled the milk) we began the 371km journey back. The dry, open road, stopping back in at the purple pub, we took a message from a broken down truck in a mobile reception black hole to the nearest town and also found the remains of a very expensive fridge freezer that had fallen off someone’s truck. The margarine and lasagne still frozen, we knew it hadn’t happened very long ago and that they perhaps had not even realised… Big oops. Clearing it off the road we headed on with sunset colouring the land around us a beautiful muted red with kangaroos bouncing alongside us.

Enjoying exploring as always, posting some job adverts on the way, Ben is now off working on a cattle station. Good effort to him with temperatures in the 40’s this week. I couldn’t do it… More time to myself, I’m trying to use my time to enjoy chilling out, have become quite involved in ‘The Big Adventure‘, I’m making plans for onward journeying and working through my pile of books. Now onto Bill Bryson’s ‘Down Under’, apparently called ‘In a Sunburned Country’ in the rest of the world (perplexing), enjoying his tales, he’s inspired me to travel the Indian Pacific from Perth to Sydney one day. It is certainly a more enjoying read than the lifeboat, even if I don’t agree with his words about Canberra… Should have hired a car mate ;-).

Certainly very hot, plenty of sunshine and warmth to go around, sending some across the miles for a nice warm autumn :-).

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