Normanton and Karumba, where the desert meets the sea

Normanton and Karumba, where the desert meets the sea

The Norman River flows through the trading town of Normanton before emptying into the Gulf of Carpentaria at Karumba.

Karumba Point provides a popular place to view the sunset across the Norman River estuary.

Normanton was original port town

The home of the Gulflander, the vintage train the runs the old line to the once gold town of Croydon.

The route passes little siding in the sparse outback.

Normanton as the old port town has a collection of historic buildings.

These days Karumba is the main port

And home to large prawn and barramundi fishing industry.

While the model of a replica of a huge crocodile caught in the Norman River announces that this is Croc Country.

It is the waterbirds that fascinated me.

At Mutton Hole Wetlands.

And in the mangroves flanking the river at Karumba.

The powerful raptors

Sea Eagle
Osprey and Kite

And the little mangrove birds

Red helmeted honey eater

Darting around the mangrove

And down around the waterline

The campground at Normanton offered the luxury of a pool and spa

And at Karumba the campers included a group of classic cars from the 1920s that had driven all the way from Melbourne

And a nightly concert of harp and guitar from my neighbouring campers.

Tomorrow I head deeper into the Gulf Country along a dirt road to the remote town of Burketown.

Goldfield towns of the Savannah Way

Goldfield towns of the Savannah Way

I’m staying at the Club Hotel in Croyden as I write

Indulging in a cold beer in the lush green beer garden.

But I’ve jumped too far ahead.

The discovery of gold was important in bringing colonial development to this remote part of Australia.

After leaving Einasleigh my next stop was Forsayth.

Built as a mining town its now a tourist destination with the Savannahlander train running to Forsayth from Cairns.

I could even find an espresso and hummingbird cake. Rare in the outback and a treat for a city boy piecemeal adventurer.

Georgetown is home to Ted Elliot Mineral Collection.

An amazing collection of fossils, gemstones, petrified and fossilised wood and minerals of all types.

Georgetown also has samples the distinctive Queensland outback buildings.

Croydon was very successful gold mining centre so successful special train line built from the port town of Normanton. Now jokingly called the train from nowhere to nowhere the Gulflander is a tourist ride.

Croydon’s Historic Precinct contains a number of official building from the height of the 1870s gold rush.

The road to Einasleigh and Forsayth are off the main Savannah Way so include some unsealed roads till Georgetown.

The travelling is beautiful

Through savannah woodlands,

Across river causeways, where the rivers roaring floods in the tropical wet season is reduced to a feeble flow.

But still hold water in lagoons full of water lillies and birds.

And one can see a magpie goose on the wing

On the way to Croydon the Steinbock clocked over 22,000km since I purchased it in January this year. It’s been a crazy 6 months of travel.

The poster girl

Next the landscape changes again. The Gulf Country – the Gulf of Carpentaria. The rivers are big estuaries full of big salt water crocodiles. Normanton, on the croc infested Norman River is my next stop.

Rivers hot springs and gorges – heading west on the Savannah Way

Rivers hot springs and gorges – heading west on the Savannah Way

It was good to get off the beaten track, away from the hot tarmac and lines of caravans.

Out on the lonely backroads.

But there is comforts to found off the beaten track!

Tallaroo Hot Springs https://www.talaroo.com.au/ where I took a soak in a private hot pool. The new Talaroo Hot Springs Complex is being being newly renovated.

My next stop was the little town of Einasleigh site of the beautiful Copperfield Gorge.

With the Einasleigh Pub a welcoming place to visit at the top of the gorge.

The Savannah Way is dotted with beautiful springs, rivers and waterholes

Like Jacobs Lagoon

And the Einasleigh River

Which I had to cross.

The sun is getting higher in the sky. Time to go for a swim in the gorge !!!

Followed the river over the rocks and little rapids to a beautiful beach at the northern end of the gorge. The perfect spot to strip off for a swim!

Off the Tableland and onto the Savannah Way

Off the Tableland and onto the Savannah Way

Waterfalls, like the Millstream Falls are are true feature of the Atherton Tableland.

The falls lay between Ranenshoe

Queensland’s highest town and

Innot Hot Spring there are thermal waters in the creek or spa centre to ease an adventurers tired bones.

Past the Springs the land opens out to the savannah at 40 mile scrub.

Not for on I found a spring fed water hole for a cooling dip.

Before stopping at the little town of Mount Surprise.

An old gem stone fossicking town close by the Undara Volcanic National Park and its amazing Lava Tubes.

This is my second visit to the Lava Tubes. Back in 2015 returning from Cooktown I stayed at the Undara Resort. This time I chose the Bedrock Village at Mount Surprise.

The lava tubes are remnants from volcanic eruptions 190,000 years ago.

And are inhabited by little micro bats about the size of your thumb

The scale of the tubes can be seen here. Look for the guide in the bottom left hand corner.

The National Park is home to hundreds of extinct volcanoes.

The Kalkani Crater is accessible for walking.

With informative interpretation signs.

If you walk quietly you may see pretty faced wallabies

The beautiful Wonga Vine

And amazing views over the savannah.

As I write a new covid 19 outbreak has emerged in Australia and who knows how that will effect my travel plans across the continent.

One has to be flexible while travelling in the time of Covid 19.

Last supermoon for 2021.

Last supermoon for 2021.

It’s the last supermoon for 2021

The air is clear and crisp on the western side of the Atherton Tableland in tropical Queensland

And the moon slowly emerges from the clouds that hang over the mountains.

Heading west into the outback over the next few weeks the moons glow will wane

The bright stars of the Southern Hemisphere will then shine at the brightest.

Occupying the night

In the dark sky of outback Australia.

Time to Say Goodbye to the Pacific Ocean and head West, back to the Outback

Time to Say Goodbye to the Pacific Ocean and head West, back to the Outback

Wongalinga Beach on Queensland’s north coast is a beautiful place to rest and regenerate before heading inland again.

The clear water is warm and being inside the Great Barrier Reef the waves are gentle.

Perfect for daily swims to ease the muscles tight from three and a half months on the road.

Scotties Hostel, which is only a few hundred metres to the beach was a perfect place to find a bed and give the tent a rest.

But I wanted to see the Reef again before I needed inland.

Kings Reef is the closest part of the Great Barrier Reef to the mainland.

So I found myself a camp site right beside the sand at Kurrimine Beach.

A good travelling friend had recommended it.

Here, when the moon is coming onto full and the very low tides fall during the day

One is able to walk out to Kings Reef

I walked past the yacht sitting at rest on the sand

And out to the reef

Being exposed so much the coral is sparse but there are beautiful patches

So it was goodbye to the Pacific Ocean.

The next Ocean I will swim in will be the Indian Ocean on the other side of the continent

It was a beautiful ride up onto the Atherton Tableland past the waterfalls and rainforest to historic Herberton, just off the Savannah Way and the route to the west.

And the Outback

In Queensland it’s coal vs nature on the FrontLine Action on Coal (FLAC)

In Queensland it’s coal vs nature on the FrontLine Action on Coal (FLAC)

In North Queensland only a few hundred kilometres inland from the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef is some of the most intensive coal mining in the world.

The Stop Adani Campaign has been the headline battle to try and stop the coal behemoth swallow up the fragile land water and wildlife churn it and just spit it out as tailing and pollution

Bob Brown Stop Adani convoy 2019

And the fight still goes on at FLAC https://frontlineaction.org/

The west of Queensland is dry and outside the wet season the riverbeds are dry sand

And farmers, animals, birdlife and native flora rely on water stored underground.

It bubbles up in springs across inland Australia. The springs I swam in on the Oodnadatta Track, thousands of kilometres away are linked and fed water by the Queensland springs.

Springs like Doongmabulla Spings https://www.defendourwater.org/springs#:~:text=The%20Doongmabulla%20Springs%20complex%20is,very%20dry%20landscape%5B1%5D.&text=These%20springs%20are%20like%20oases,They%20also%20support%20remarkable%20ecosystems.

Source https://news.flinders.edu.au/blog/2019/06/12/groundwater-plan-flawed-experts-warn/

An oasis in the harsh outback of Queensland which could likely be drained to wash the coal extracted from The Adani Mine.

Water is essential to preserving the beautiful things of nature.

Beautiful birds

None of the birds above are threatened but at the Adani site, there are endangered species of birds that could be wiped out.

In outback Australia, water is life. For people, for food production, for Australia’s unique fauna and flora.

We don’t need to use it to waste it on a new coal mine when the future is in renewable energy not coal or gas.

If you can support FLAC. Visit https://frontlineaction.org/

Camped at Camp Binbee Under the Milky Way at Night

The road north into Queensland

The road north into Queensland

It was a well worn path along the Lions Road over the Border Ranges back into Queensland.

Back into the Sunshine State on the first day of winter in Australia

It’s amazing that no matter how often a route is travelled there is something new to find.

The first find was Goomeri on the western side of the Great Divide.

The pear danish would rival any patisserie in the world and the Goomeri emporium and saddlery a blast from the past.

But my aim was the sea again.

To 1770, named after the year of Cooks landing, was where I came back to the Pacific.

Back at the long sandy beaches and the fisherman casting into the sea after Australian Salmon

Sunrise heralded the dawn of a glorious day.

Perfect for some sight seeing on the estuary

Or a walk in the coastal forest

And good weather even for a swim.

Ah nice to be in warm water.

And heading north in winter

The Pacific Ocean Beaches of Northern NSW

The Pacific Ocean Beaches of Northern NSW

The ocean beaches of Northern NSW are the most beautiful I have seen.

The broad sweep of sand

The rolling blue ocean

Town beaches like Byron Bay (above) and Yamba (below)

The beautiful lighthouses on the capes

Sentinels for the sailors as sea.

But its the quiet,

The wild

The largely deserted

The hard to get to beaches on the coast that I love

Beaches like…

Ah you have to search for your own tranquillity!!!!

Where the surf pounds in

And the you can stand alone on the sandy beaches.

Image by Clare Rynhart

With a sea eagle circling overhead as a companion.

Set up the little tent

And at night be bedazzled by the Milky Way.

But the Pacific isn’t always peaceful

It doesn’t always contain its power

The a big swell expoding against the south wall at Coff Harbour a testament to the power of the sea.

It was beautiful spending the last of a mild Autumn on the NSW North Coast.

But the southern hemisphere winter is here and the temperatures are falling.

I’m sitting with my friend in South East Queensland

Tomorrow its time to head back north to the tropics.

Towards the start of the Savannah Way and the ride across the tropical North of Australia.

May 26 2021 -Southern Hemisphere Luna Eclipse – the start of a new adventure.

May 26 2021 -Southern Hemisphere Luna Eclipse – the start of a new adventure.

The total eclipse is the big daddy of Luna shows

The stadium superconcert

All the wow factor

At Cape Byron, the Eastern most point of Australia

Sunset played the support act

Warming up the crowd

Luna finally emerged staying a little coy

Using the Cape Byron Lighthouse to tease the audience

Peaking cheekily around the stone edifice

Soon, though, the show warmed up Luna out on full show casting beams of gold and silver across the sea.

Dancing with her band the clouds

Then in the second set the magic started

The amazing disappearing act

The giant white orb shrinking away to a tiny orange sliver

To the eye no bigger than a star

Only to re emerge in a new red costume

Image courtesy of Clare Rynhart

With an edge of silver bling

What a show

The wind was cold on the Cape so I missed the final act of return to silver.

I sailed the coasts before the days of GPS

The light of the moon and the coded flashes of lighthouse welcome companions

Like a brother and sister guiding the night sailor.

But now I’m not on a yacht but on the Steinbock again, my BMW adventure bike

I’m on the Eastern most point of Australia, heading north then West and later this year will be at the continents Western Point

Traversing the Savannah Way right across topical Australia

Thanks Luna for your blessings and for a great show to start the new adventure.