Monday, 17 April 2017

Gulf and Savannah

Every day presents us with a new perspective of Australia, and yesterday's run through the Gulf of Carpentaria and Savannah country was truly breathtaking.

Karumba was a short 70km hop from Normanton, and as soon as we rode out of town the brackish water tributaries and wetlands were teeming with birds - cranes, egrets and other wading waterbirds. Looping back we followed the railway line which is still in use today by the Gulflander rail car. The line was unique for being laid on steel sleepers with no ballast, and which was capable of surviving the frequent floods which would have washed away conventionally built track. The Black Bull siding is maintained as a 'tea and cake' stop for the Gulflander.

A lot of the Savannah Way is sealed with a single centre lane with wide gravel shoulders. We were lucky with Easter that traffic was light, and there were no road trains, as they stick to the centreline and all other has to pull off onto the shoulder to pass. It made for a nice photo though sitting in the middle of the road.

We pulled of the Savannah Way, just outside of Georgetown, at site of the Cumberland Gold Mine and settlement. The mine was famous for extracting capital from it's London investors for ever diminishing gold for each ton of ore mined. Just the chimney for the boilers and lake remain as a reserve for birds (and a few cattle). A curious lizard came out of the undergrowth to check us out.

The pub's kitchen in Georgetown was closed for Easter and so we cooked up a storm in the campground, washed it down with a bottle of red and half a bottle of Johnny Walker around the mini-fireplace. Today's destination is Atherton Tablelands behind Cairns.

The Antipodean Mariners 

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