FRIDAY, 17 JUNE 2016
|Front end of Kris|
|All of Kris|
|Local landmark - The Purple Pub|
|Town well and original street lamp|
|Reading - War Memorial|
|Vehicle grill decoration|
|Wreck and sea eagle|
Another warm start to the day and it wasn’t long before the temperature soared to 32 degrees. We did the Cooks Tour of Normanton this morning, walking to the old Burns Philp building which now houses the library, visited the Post Office, had a photo opportunity with Kris, continued walking to the old well which was Normanton’s fresh water supply until 1965, stopped at the lovely old homestead building which is now Westpac and checked out the price of diesel.
After an early lunch, we headed to Karumba for the afternoon (in the Pajero, this time). After crossing the Norman River, we saw a number of brolgas as we drove through the scrubby countryside and the salt pans – it is so flat! Our first stop in Karumba was at the Barramundi breeding centre, where we took part in the afternoon tour with five other tourists. Our guide, who was originally from Bothwell, explained the life cycle of the fish in the wild and how they are bred in captivity before we had the opportunity of hand feeding some of the larger fish. As this is a breeding centre, only breeding stock are kept and the fingerlings are sold to restock rivers, dams, etc. Then it was out to Sunset Point (where we stayed in 2009) for a look at the beach and boat trailers before returning to Karumba’s foreshore and reading about the Catalina Flying Base situated here and used by Qantas and also the RAAF during WW2.
Then the highlight of the day –the Ferryman Sunset Cruise. We departed at 4.30 pm and headed down (?) river past the fishing boats and wharves, with Alison giving a very good commentary on the life and history of the town. After feeding the kites, it wasn’t long before a large crocodile was spotted on the mud and enjoying the sun. By the large number of slides and tracks in the mud, he wasn’t the only crocodile in the area. Across to the other side of the river was a jabiru, which seemed to enjoy an easy fish feed, and then we headed towards the mouth of the river, passing another couple of crocodiles on the bank, as well as an osprey nesting on one of the navigation lights. While all this was happening, we were plied with drinks (no standard measures on this cruise!), cheese platters, freshly cooked prawns, fruit platter and chocolate biscuits. We then spent 15-20 minutes enjoying the sunset and taking lots of photos before heading back to the boat ramp. Our skipper even managed (in the dark) to spot a crocodile lurking in the water – the spotlight showed only his eyes visible above the surface. The cruise was excellent value for $45 each.
The drive back to Normanton in the dark was also interesting, as we were worried about the possibility of hitting a kangaroos. No kangaroos but hundreds and hundreds of wallabies who had all been trained not to cross the road if a car was coming! The same couldn’t be said for the multitude of cane toads playing on the road and I am happy to report that we did reduce the toad population somewhat. There were also plenty of insects and locusts to add to our collection on the Pajero
Amazingly, there are no flies in Normanton – they are all visiting their friends in Cloncurry!!!