Some places we've been and some places we're going.

Archive for July, 2022

Day 25 Leichardt Falls to Hells Gate

We’ve decided we should be on commission for Pioneer Mitchell Camper-trailers. When we were in Barcaldine a woman came up before we’d even opened everything out she was asking questions and putting her head inside to see the interior dimensions. She went away and checked out prices and availability online. At Aramac she turned up right next door and was dubbed, “Alex’ Stalker”. That time she was glued to our packing up operation in her PJs with her morning coffee! At Karumba the night-arriving neighbours were very taken with our set up, it was obviously more appealing with indoor sitting area and attached kitchen etc. The man was going to investigate Pioneers. Last night it was a neighbour who had a Tvan, the “standard” for hybrid campers, who preferred ours and was going to modify his to get some of our kitchen features. His wife has told him if she sees a secondhand one she’ll buy it for the headspace alone.

This morning early it was obvious those campers who’d chosen their spot for its river view, serious looking people were heading from their vans etc across to bushy private areas in the opposite direction. Before we left the Falls we walked around the camp areas then crossed to the other side of the river to see if any falling water was visible but it wasn’t. Many birds were out and busy while the croc we could see was lying low near a bank, maybe hoping some dozy bird would come to the water’s edge.


The road from the Falls to Burketown was bitumen of varying widths and condition. Brahman cattle were often on the road, apparently they like the heat it still holds in the early morning.

Burketown was another place we’d been told that had a full Caravan Park but it clearly hadn’t. We think the best part of the town is the central park area and the Morning Glory Bakery and Cafe.

We were surprised to find one of the river crossings actually had water across the road.

The next community was Doomadgee the only part of it beside the road is the Roadhouse and we didn’t need anything so we continued on. It’s difficult to know the criteria used to determine which sections of road are renewed, they seem to be random. Sections of both sides of the road had been strategically burnt and in places logs were still burning.

We’d decided that Hell’s Gate would be an interesting place to stay for the night and I didn’t have high expectations but it’s a nice place. In the 1800s police escorts would see travellers to a gap between high rocks but travel no further towards the NT. The gap was called, “Hell’s Gates”.

The Roadhouse and camping area is a section of a cattle station and the owners have made a real effort to make it attractive. The new Amenities Block is interesting for two reasons, firstly it’s all corrugated iron with an open corridor down the middle. Showers are on one side and toilets the other, secondly it’s all unisex. When I went for a shower I was ready to step into nice warm water when a man’s voice boomed out, “Have you got hot water?” I think there were three female responses all negative. It was only minutes later I could hear banging right beside my tin wall as a gas cylinder was moved out and a new one rolled in. Too late for me though, I had a cold shower!

Wildlife seen today, there are lots of birds visiting the birdbath here at Hell’s Gate.

We’ve had a tasty meal over at the Roadhouse, the trees and area nearby are lit by moving lights.

Day 24 Karumba to Leichardt Falls

As we walked back from our last delicious drinks at the Spiltmilk Van this morning I noticed that some of the Corella feathers that carpet the ground were different shapes.

Alex managed to show off to our night arrival neighbours, parked right behind us, when he connected up the camper unaided with only one realignment. With 4288 kms on the clock since we started we left Karumba, passing the line-up of boat trailers outside the pub on our way out.

About half the road between Karumba and Leichardt Falls was bitumen. Alex had to FOCUS to cross some of the creeks and rivers that had no guard rails or edges to stop you going off the side. Brolgas became a familiar sight.

Because we came here last year we’re familiar with the rocky, difficult access from one direction so we made sure to use the alternative one. Instead of camping on the rocky area we also continued past most of the campers to a much more spacious spot on mostly sandy ground. We haven’t seen any water cascading over the rocks but there is plenty in the river so it is coming in somewhere.

I deserted Alex and Fergus to sit down on a rock and take in the scenery, it was wonderful.

I’m using “the brick” to power the computer because this is strictly a self sufficient campers only site, remarkably we do have phone coverage.

Tomorrow our intention is to move on to Burketown then Hell’s Gate. That should be interesting.

Day 23 Karumba

This morning we went to see “Bunratty Castle”. It was built by a local man, Johnny Walker, using bricks from the town’s old meat works. He carried the bricks home on his pushbike, four bricks at a time so it took a while to build his place.

A later owner is said to have picked the winner of the Caulfield Cup in 1968, the horse’s name was, “Bunratty Castle” maybe he used his winnings to buy what has become known as, “Bunratty Castle”.

Apart from visiting a castle our day has been unremarkable. We did our laundry and unlike last time when the clothes came out far worse than they went in this time they came out clean! Fergus has also come out clean and bright after a visit to the Doggy Wash. On the way back from our dry-the-dog walk Fergus pounced on a locust that landed right in front of him and before I could get to it he had it in his mouth. I’m sure the thing gave him some nasty whacks with it’s legs and eventually Fergus did spit it out. Yesterday when we were near the Sunset Tavern one flew out of a tree and whacked Alex on his top lip, that made sure Alex didn’t open his mouth again for a while!

We went back to the Boat Ramp at Karumba Point and watched people fishing, a tourist boat go out, boats being launched etc. We heard one man being asked if he’d caught anything, his answer was that he’d been there for a couple of hours fishing, caught nothing and it was a perfect way to spend his time. We didn’t see anyone catch a keeper.

The tractor came down from the Caravan Park and filled tanks with water to spray around the Park to settle dust.

Alex saw another of the vehicles that just about make him salivate!

I saw some interesting shells and rocks that looked as though they were covered in bird droppings but it was actually tiny shells.

Brolgas and a Jabiru put in an appearance today and I also managed to catch a Kite in flight. The Campground seems to be the place for the little Wallabies at dusk.

There’s only one road in and out of Karumba so tomorrow we’ll go back to Normanton before heading towards Burketown but we might stop at Leichardt Falls for the night, where I expect there will be no mobile coverage so no internet.