Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day 34 Karumba to Gregory Downs (travel day) - 12 July 2009

We did over 400km driving to Gregory Downs, our stepping stone to Lawn Hill National Park. Normanton was the main town of which the main attraction was Krys the saltwater crocodile, a replica of the largest caught in the world. He was 8.63m, or 28’ 4”. A serious piece of dinosaur.
Next stop was Burke and Wills camp 119 – their last before getting as close to the Gulf as they could before returning on their ill fated trip home to Melbourne. The trip was an epic tale of adventure and folly – an ill prepared group tried to be the first to walk up to the top end. They left from Royal Park, right opposite our house in the run up to summer and the wet season in 1860. We don’t try that game in a 4WD even now – utter madness. Four of the forward party died tragically at the Dig Tree site – King survived, thanks to local aboriginals. They marked their path with blazed trees – axe marks that still exist today. Bloody vandals!

The caravans have thinned out now, it is only the hardcore 4WDers left. Most of this drive was on dirt roads – we are well and truly in the bush. Gregory is not a lot to write home about – the bar had no draft beer, only very expensive cans. There are more aboriginal people in these towns.

Having had a dip in the river, we had a beer at the pub. The barman told us the river had salties, then after we went a few shades lighter, he adding the minor detail that they are 150km away! We debated the accuracy of these measurements when lying the river.

We found a bush camp by the Gregory River – a bush camp is where you set up with no facilities, ie no caravan site, no loos, no power, nothing. The poo shovel was christened!

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