After 7 nights/8 days and over 2,000 kms of Hwy 1 (dirt, bitumen, sand and something in between) we’ve arrived in Cairns. We can now say we’ve completed the ‘Savannah Way’ which goes from Broome to Cairns (or Cairns to Broome)!
After leaving Kakadu we spent a night in Katherine re-stocking, a second night at the Daly Waters pub with over 70 other Grey Nomad vans, we headed off towards Borroloola. We spent a couple of nights out on the Macarthur river at King Ash Bay about 40 kms from Borroloola. The fishing club runs a camp ground out there and is very popular for the fishing types. It has a club facility with the cheapest bar prices we’ve encountered so far on our trip. On the last evening one of the local fisherman dropped by and gave us some of his catch that he wouldn’t keep. It was 5 fillets of trevally already skinned ready for the pan. It was lovely and fresh and very tasty. The best fishing we’ve done all trip!
Next morning we set off on Hwy 1 -the part that is still dirt road and traveled back into Queensland. The 400 kms or so of dirt was in fairly good condition except for the bit just over the border when back in Qld and we were aiming for Adels Grove campground just outside Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) NP. On that leg of the road somewhere we damaged the stone guard and charging plug on the camper. Nothing too serious that a bit of patching can’t fix, and we’re on our final leg of dirt road anyway. Must of been on one of the wash-outs/dips with rather large rocks that we encountered that just pop up in front of you! Adels Grove campground is very good. No powered sites but that’s OK because we have our own solar panels. Damn, they’re not working either. I think we getting the message to start heading home!
Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) NP is very pretty. The are several walking tracks in the park but most visitors canoe through the gorge for the spectacular views and it didn’t let us down for our paddle on the river. With the water being fairly still for most of the paddle the reflections of the gorge walls were magnificent. Everybody had sore arms when we woke the next morning!
Next stop for us was planned to be Karumba Point Sunset Caravan park at the bottom of the Gulf of Carpentaria. After re-fueling in Normanton we drove the extra 70 kms out to Karumba. It was very flat, a bit like the Mitchel plains and 9 metres above sea level. If you didn’t know any better you would think the ocean was close. On our way there we saw lots of Brolgas feeding in the waters along side of the road. There were at least a couple of dozen of them in about a 10 km stretch. Arriving at Karumba Point we were a little surprised to see the first caravan park packed to the rafters with Grey Nomads. This didn’t bode well for us as I knew the Sunset caravan park was the most popular. Sure enough the park was full. In fact, all 3 parks were full at the point and even in Karumba itself 10 kms up stream on the Norman rive,r the only park was full! So we had some late lunch, stuck our toes in the water to acknowledge we’d been there and headed back to Normanton for the night. We weren’t too disappointed to not stay at Karumba because unless your a keen fisherman, there’s not much else to do there.
Last stop on the Savannah Way (except for Cairns) was Undara NP. There is a resort/campground on the park boundary that has just about exclusive access to the park and it’s lava tubes. The resort is well setup with a great well spaced out campground and good dining facilities. They’ve purchased some old Qld Rail carriages and converted them to accommodation and dining facilities.
The 2 hour tour of the lava tubes was very interesting. There are currently 6 sections of the tube that are open to the public and 20 more that have been explored, but there is over 100kms of tube that hasn’t even been researched as yet! The largest section of tube that is open to the public is 38 m wide and 22 m high in one point!
After some great entertainment around the camp fire we finished off the Savannah Way and ended up in the Cairns at the very impressive Coconut Resort/Caravan Park. From here we’ll start our final 1,700km/2 week leg south home to Brisbane, although we’re having second thoughts because Brisbane is having night time temperatures of only 8 degC! Oh, by the way, today was our first day of below 30 DegC daytime temperature for the whole trip (75 days so far)!
Did you know … #18?
The lava flow that has formed the lava tubes from Undara volcano is 162 kms long and was created about 120,000 years ago!
King Ash Bay (Borroloola)
Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) NP