Finally, we’ve had one of those hot, still days you get in the outback. So, like all sensible people, we spent a couple of lazy hours by the pool at the Normanton caravan park.
And it was good!
The drive from Karumba to Normanton is only 72ks, but it’s beautiful. Floodplains which are mostly dried out now, but which in the wet season would be amazing to see. We might need to plan another trip back up this way, as there’s a lot to see in the area and unfortunately we’re running out of time.
I can see why the grey nomads – and there are lots of them up here – spend a week or more in each place. It gives you time to relax and really see an area. We could spend much more time in Carpentaria, as we could have on the Cape. And there are so many different directions and roads to take. Every time I look at a map, or get brochures from the local information office, I decide I want to head back home via another route.
But that may be because we’re getting our grey nomad credentials ourselves.
When I mentioned to my parents that we were heading towards Normanton, mum gave me the goss on which park to stay at – and here we are! Sign number one that we’re turning into grey nomads – taking my mother’s advice on where to stay.
My parents have been grey nomads for a while. They’ve got their caravan and their 4WD, with camping equipment for when they want to leave their van and go out somewhere for a couple of days. They know all the van parks, and have their caravan and camping magazine to tell them where the best bargains are.
But not only are we taking their advice on where to stay, we’re also taking their advice on where to go. Mum’s been trying to get to Adel’s Grove for a while. Their last two attempts have been washed out – too much rain to get through. I must admit, I’d never even heard of Adel’s Grove before mum mentioned it to me, and had no idea where it was.
Now I know. It’s in the Gulf Country. So of course, while we’re here, we’re going to visit.
My sister and I used to joke together all the time because mum’s emails to us all would invariably include the price of fuel wherever they stopped, and a rating of the local fish & chips.
Since being on the road I can understand the obsession with the price of fuel. On the drive up to the Cape it got more and more expensive, until we were paying $2.20/litre for diesel in Bamaga and Seisia. As fuel is our major cost on the road, it can add a lot to your expenses. So much so, that I’m now working on adding a page to my site showing the price of fuel in different areas. Sign number two.
And sign number three that we’re turning into grey nomads – Doc now does the fish & chips ratings.
Due to a lack of luck in catching fish on the Cape, he got to try the fish & chips at a lot of the places we stayed. Even before we got to the Cape, probably as soon as we got north of Brisbane, he started on the fish & chips thing.
And despite all the fresh barra that many places had on offer, his best of the trip so far goes to Cardwell Beach truck stop. We almost didn’t stop there, but the big “fresh fish & chips” sign and the number of trucks that were stopped made him slam on the brakes and pull in at the last minute.
Cardwell is still feeling the effects of Cyclone Yassi. Many of the buildings were still covered in tarps, or worse. The truck stop itself had acro props holding up the roof.
Despite that, it was buzzing, with the front of the shop completely open to the view across the road straight to the beach. Hinchinbrook Island was so close you could almost swim across to it, if it wasn’t for the crocs that is.
And the fish & chips were, according to Doc, superb. Nothing else has measured up all the way up the Cape and back down again.
Until Karumba – where I cooked blue salmon that he caught that day on the fishing charter. He said it’s the best fish & chips he’s had so far on the trip!