Tuesday 21st May 2013
Day 28 - Cloncurry to Normanton, Qld - 382 kms.

It was departure day with a 382kms drive to Normanton.
We had a bit of packing up to do, so I was up early and we, sorry I, emptied the 'shitter' and then we were off, leaving camp at 8:33am. Our 1st stop was at Terry Smith lookout (82kms from Cloncurry), which just happens to be the 1st free camp that we ever did way back on Wed 2nd Jul 2008. Our next stop was at the Burke and Wills Roadhouse (184 kms from Cloncurry), where I topped up with fuel $1.719 diesel, even though the mighty Navara can do about 400kms per tank, it is less stressful to top up when we can. From Burke and Wills RH to Normanton, there were 6 sections of single lane bitumen (2 x 5kms, 2 x 10kms, 1 x 15kms and 1 x 20kms). Our last rest stop was 77kms from Normanton. The traffic was very light, as usual. We arrived in Normanton at 1:50pm.

We setup camp and then walked over to the CP's pool, it is 25m x 15m and bloody magnificent. We spent a 'good' hour there, all to ourselves, then I went back later and took some photos. I told the 'grey noamds' in the pool that I was stalking them.
I then walked upto the Info Centre and took my cameras. As I approached the Info Centre, I noticed a sign 'Coldest beer in town', I continued onto the Info Centre and took a few brochures and left. But that sign caught my eye again and as it was warm, just a cool 33°, I thought that I had better prove that the sign was correct, so I walked the 50 meters from the main street to the Albion Hotel, where I bought a stubby of XXXX Gold, cost $4.50 and yep it was cold. That has proved nothing unless you can compare it to something, so I called into the Central Hotel and did the same, cost $4.60 a stubby, and it was cold and very nice. I was on a roll so I visited 'The Purple Pub' cost $5 a stubby. In summary, Albion Hotel had the best 'feel', only 2 people including me, Central hotel had 4 people with me and the Purple Pub had about 15 people. After I finished my 3 stubbies, I took photos and walked back to camp, where we sat in the shade in 34° heat and relaxed, until a fellow camper walked over to talk and we couldn't get rid of him, he was worse than me, we talked for probably a hour, before he left.

Dinner was ham steaks with vegies. Yumma as usual. I did forget to mention that as soon as we finished setting up, we ran the Air Con in the fiver, which was nice and cool.

Tomorrow, we are doing a day trip to Karumba on the shores of the Gulf. We will visit the Sunset tavern, it has great views over the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Our route from Cloncurry to Normanton, Qld - 382 kms.

Terry Smith Lookout - Our 1st Free camp.

Burke and Wills Roadhouse.

Part of the single bitumen.

Nice rig. No left mirror, thanks Eddy.

Normanton Tourist Park - site 74.

The Pool - it was so refreshing.

Kris the Croc.

Normanton's main street.

Albion Hotel - $4.50 stubby.

Central Hotel - $4.60 stubby.

The Purple Pub - $5.00 stubby.

Wednesday 22nd May 2013
Day 29 - Day trip to Karumba - 155kms round trip.

A pleasant drive to Karumba to see all the fishos and have lunch at the Sunset Tavern.
What an absolutely 'shithouse' nights sleep. We have the Air Cond while watching Tv, then turned it off and put the fans on us while trying to sleep. It didn't work, I got up around midnight and turned the Air Cond back on, I don't know why I turned it off in the first place. Consequently, I slept shithouse and got up about 5:45am, so I was a grump for some of the day. Marg may have slept just as badly, but she 'no complain'.
As we planned to visit Karumba (71kms frrom Normanton of the edges of the Gulf of Carpentaria) for lunch, there was no point in leaving early, so we left at 10:50am and arrived out the front of the Sunset Tavern at 11:40am. Lunch was from 12 to 2pm, what will we do for 20 minutes, well hawkeyes aka Marg noticed that there were pokies there, so I lost her for 20 minutes. She put in $5 and won about $15, but I still paid for lunch. Go figure. Lunchtime arrived, I ordered beer battered fish and chips and washed it down with a chilled refresher, only one as I was the designated driver, Marg ordered prawn cutlets and washed it down with a lemon juice. Sorry my photo was blurry, I didn't check it thoroughly. As we were having lunch 2 red tailled black cockatoos landed in the trees near us, I tried to get a photo of their red tail, but the buggers weren't co-operating. Just as we were leaving George and his mates flew past, so I was rapt to get a photo of one of his mates landing on water, I have been trying for 5 years to photograph them landing on water. Now I will try to take a better photo. We left Karumba Point and drove about 6kms over to Karumba to check it out. All the caravan parks at both locations were full with fishos and their tinnies everywhere, with 'no vacancy' signs displayed.

We casually drove back to Normanton where we topped up with fuel, as tomorrow we drive to Croydon. The rest of the arvo was spent with me having a nanna nap, it was great.

Dinner was a real scratch meal, I had weet bix.

Tomorrow, we are off to Croydon for 2 nights, 155kms away.

The view from the Sunset Tavern Beer garden.

Beware of the 'big snapping lizards'.

The Sunset Tavern.

Our 'blurry' lunch. It was still yumma.

George is coming.

He is coming into 'land'.

Yes, I got him.

Red-tailled black cockatoo.

The Sunset Tavern beer garden.

A Brolga just feeding near the Tavern.

Thursday 23rd May 2013
Day 30 - Normanton to Croydon, Qld - 155 kms.

Well, the thunderstorm arrived at 9:30pm last night dumped 37mm of rain over the next 3 hours, meanwhile, we were sleeping with the Air Cond on and occassionally listened to the rain.
We awoke to a beautiful sunny skies with no rain clouds in sight. We laid in bed and watched Sunrise and finally got up about 7am and checked the internet before starting to pack up. We left at 8:54am and headed to Blackbull, when we arrived there were two other caravanners there and then out of the blue, came the 10:20am Gulflander, so I took some photos, just to be different. We waited until it stopped and there were only 3 people on board, the driver and two passengers, there were six of us in the welcoming committee. We only had 60kms to go to Croydon, so we set cruise back to 83kph and away we went, arriving at 11:13am. I went to the Office but it was unmanned, so I called Robbie on his mobile and we booked in and setup camp, just near the amenities block, while checking in, we confirmed that we would be attending tonight's sausage sizzle.

We are here for two days, but I still connected the skirt on the front (Marg's special room) and setup the Sat Dish, as local TV was analogue and I had clear vision to the satellite, read No trees blocking us.
During the afternoon, we walked over to the Info Centre where I took some brochures and then to the local cafe for a coffee, but the service was too slow, so we walked back to camp and watched our two new neighbours arrive and setup camp. Small things amuse small minds.

Dinner tonight is a sausage sizzle at the fire pit, consisting of slice of bread, sausage, onions and cheese for $2, I will probably have 3 or 4, I'm feeling peckish.

Tomorrow, we are sightseeing around Croydon, as there are no fossicking areas nearby, so no fossicking for us.

Update: I ate 4.5 as Marg couldn't finish all her sausage in bread. They were BLOODY YUMMA.

Our route from Normanton to Croydon, Qld - 155 kms.

We will be either staying or visiting each of those places.

Are we there yet? Not really.

Blackbull siding.

Are my eyes deceiving me or is that.........

It can't be.

Yes it is.

It's the 'world famous' Gulflander in all its glory.

Packed to the rafters with passengers... well two anyway.

We are in the middle at the back. - site 25.

The sausage sizzle around the fire pit.

Isn't fire so mesmerising.

Your Croydon sunset. Very nice.

Friday 24th May 2013
Day 31 - Chillin' in Croydon, Qld.

We awoke about 7:30am, so we had a sleep in. We laid in bed and watched Sunrise and finally got up about 8:30am and went on the internet. After brekky we buggered about camp, I was updating our website, while Marg did her crossword books. After lunch, we drove up to the lookout and then over the hill to Lake Belmore, it is a surprise to drive over the hill and see such a beautiful lake.
The afternoon was the same as the morning, except that we did top up with fuel. Around 4;30pm, Billy who we met at Yowah and lives and works in Mt Isa, joined us at the Caravan park for the night, he is driving to Agate Creek tomorrow.

Dinner was curry and rice. Very yumma. The rest of the night, we watched TV.

Tomorrow, we are driving to Georgetown for 3 nights, about 150kms away.

Taken from the end of the jetty.

Croydon from the Lookout.

Croydon from the Lookout.

Views of Lake Belmore.

Views of Lake Belmore.

Saturday 25th May 2013
Day 32 - Croydon to Georgetown, Qld - 148 kms.

It was a cool night and when I awoke and went outside at 6am, it was still dark and we were surrounded by Wallabys(not the rugby players).
I went on the internet until 8am, Marg slept until after 7am. I started packing up a bit after 8am, I noticed that Billy (our Mt Isa geologist friend) was still asleep as there was no movement in his tent. I started to pack up, as we were only driving to Georgetown we were in no hurry to cover the 150kms. We finally left at 9:36am, after Rob the 'young' manager said if we stay any longer, he will charge us another day's fee. We said our goodbyes to Billy and Rob, Billy was going to top up with fuel before setting off after us. I xpected him to catch us along the route, but he didn't. Again, the traffic was light to non-existent, we drove the 73kms to Gilbert River, where we stopped and I 'risked death' by walking out along the very narrow single lane bridge to take photos. Just for this website. Gee I'm good. Still no sight of Billy.

After risking live and limb, I wandered back to Marg and away we went to Georgetown. When we were 55kms from Georgetown, this is when the single lane bitumen started. This lasted the majority of the way to Georgetown, we were lucky that we encountered only one oncoming Road Train, which we pulled off and waited until he passed us plus a few cars. There was one area of road works with traffic lights, but it only lasted a kilometer. We arrived in Georgetown at 11:54am. Still no Billy. We found the Goldfields Caravan Park, but there was no manager there, only a notice saying to check in at the Ampol Roadhouse, so I walked there and back, the young girl said that we are on site 8. Site 8 was the largest site in the park, it is a ripper. We setup camp with power, water, Marg's special room and the Sat Dish.

After Marg made my lunch, I drove to the Info Centre, where there was a familiar car parked out the front. Billy had arrived and was inside taking photos of the Ted Elliott Mineral collection. I spoke to Jo (female Info centre worker) about Agate Creek, and she was very helpful. I asked her if Billy was inside checking out the Collection, she said a young man with a camera, I said "Yep, that's him". She showed me what agate rocks looked like, I said that I would bring Marg back later in the day, to check out what we are looking for. On the way back to pick up Marg, I topped up with fuel and then picked up Marg then we arrived back at the Info Centre about 3pm and we spoke to Jo for a good 30 minutes. She said that Billy was surprised that Jo knew he was going to Agate Creek, I wonder who told her. I also left my card on Billy's car, so he knew that I had been there. Anyway, Marg and I did a quick view of the Ted Elliott Mineral collection, as we will be coming back on Monday to take photos etc. Ted's collection is bloody fantastic.

Back at camp, there is a cyclist who is just riding around Oz, as one does, he's bloody mad, I spoke to him for over an hour and he is bloody mad. Marg and I sat outside while we spoke to some of our neighbours, it appears that 4 sets of neighbours drove out to the Cobbold Gorge for a tour today. We will see how our fossicking is going, if no good, we may do Cobbold Gorge on Monday.

Dinner is macaroni cheese, it was YUMMA. Just a quiet night watching TV, before an early start tomorrow.

Tomorrow, we are fossicking at Agate Creek only a 140kms from here, that's 280kms round trip.

Our route from Croydon to Georgetown, Qld - 148 kms.

In the darkness before sunrise, we had visitors.

The Gilbert River bridge, very narrow.

The Gilbert River rest area.

Views from the Gilbert River bridge.

Sunday 26th May 2013
Day 33 - Day trip to Agate Creek - 244kms round trip.

It was a cool night and for some unknown reason, we slept pretty shithouse, we were both awake before 6am.
We went on the internet for awhile and were all organised and left at 7:31am, heading for Forsayth (40kms away with 15kms of corrugated gravel), where we turn right and drive a further 70kms on gravel.
We are off and at 15km mark, we hit the gravel road and parts of it shook our fillings out, thank god for the 29km mark, we hit a beautiful sealed section with painted white shoulders, everything you want in a road. At about 1km from Forsayth, we turned right and headed towards the Cobbold Gorge and Agate Creek, after 1 km we were back on the gravel road, but it was not as bad as what we had just experienced, there were still more corrugations, but not as bad as before. Our only problem was the number of cattle that decided to cross the road in front of us on numerous occasions. We arrived at the 1st Agate Creek Caravan park just inside the fossicking area at 9:22am. We decided to drive right through the Agate Creek area to its southern boundary then visit each area on the way back to here. SO we drove another 11kms to the Safari Camp. We passed a sign saying that the Safari Camp was Closed and when we arrived there, there was another sign saying that it was closed, so we were a bit surprised to find 2 camps all setup with generators going, but no humans about. We walked around an overgrown camp, the 'deluxe' cabins were falling down we found a few bits of agate, then we started driving back to the Northern side of Agate Creek, stopping frequently to have a 'scratch around'.

After just on 4 hours of fossicking in the sun, we decided that we had found heaps of agate bits and some other rocks, so we started to head homewards. Just as we were passing Crystal Hill, I noticed a 4WD right on top of the Hill, it looked like Billy's, so we did a U turn and drove up this rough track. To get to the top I had to use 4WD LOW and we managed to fit beside Billy's 4WD on the summit. Billy was about 50 meters away fossicking for some crystals. He walked back to us, we chatted for a few minutes, then Billy, who is staying Agate Creek for a few days, was off heading towards Safari Camp to keep fossicking, Marg and I had lunch on the summit and then continued on our journey homeward.

When we arrived at the turnoff just outside of Forsayth, we decided to visit downtown Forsayth, now don't forget that it is Sunday, as far we could see there weren't any shops open, so we parked under some trees and had a short break before driving the 40kms back to Georgetown and those 14kms of bloody awful corrugations.
We arrived back at camp at 3:58pm and were absolutely knackered, after I had a very refreshing shower in the amenities block, I got a 'second wind' and emptied all our haul into buckets of water to soak, while tomorrow, we will sort out our rocks.

Dinner was warmed up macaroni cheese leftovers from last night and absolutely YUMMA. Marg is in bed and asleep by 8:30pm.

Tomorrow, we are re-visiting the Ted Elliott Mineral collection, so I can take photos and after that we will sort out today's haul of rocks.

Only 79 more kms to go - This sign is just outside Forsayth.

Move your bums.

The gravel road.

We made it.

The Northern Camping Ground.

11 kms to the Safari camp at the southern end.

One of the 'modern deluxe' cabins. Maybe not.

Pyramid Rock.

This bull refused to move, so we drove around him.

Billy and Marg on the summit of Crystal Hill.

Billy leaving us.

Crystal Hill in the background.

View from the summit of Crystal Hill.

Monday 27th May 2013
Day 34 - Visited the Ted Elliott Mineral collection and buggered about camp.

It was a mild night and we slept better than last night, and awoke about 7:30am, which was great.
We did a couple of loads of washing and then went and viewed the Ted Elliott Mineral collection. This collection I am sorry to saay is a tad better than revor's in Broken Hill. It was well worth the gold coin donation. After veiwing the collection, we stopped to top up with fuel and air and then back to camp for lunch, which was Spam and mustard sangas. I love spam! It was YUMMA, I cannot get over how fresh the bread has been while we have been in the Outback both NSW & Qld, it is exceptionally fresh.

After lunch, we washed and sorted our agates from Agate Creek and packed the tray with all our bags off rocks. Again we were very happy with our haul from Agate Creek yesterday. I am starting to have a major dilemma, we are running out of room to store our rocks. Problems of the 'gray nomad rock hounds'. I spent the afternoon sitting outside in the shade speaking to our new neighbours as they arrive. How lucky were they, while Marg had a nanna nap.

Marg made her 'world famous', well 'Georgetown famous' hamburgers. They were YUMMA.

Tomorrow, we are driving to Mount Surprise, a long haul of drive of 93kms.

Part of the extensive Ted Elliott Mineral collection held at Georgetown, Qld.

Part of the extensive Ted Elliott Mineral collection held at Georgetown, Qld.

Part of the extensive Ted Elliott Mineral collection held at Georgetown, Qld.

Part of the extensive Ted Elliott Mineral collection held at Georgetown, Qld.

Part of the extensive Ted Elliott Mineral collection held at Georgetown, Qld.

Part of the extensive Ted Elliott Mineral collection held at Georgetown, Qld.

Part of the extensive Ted Elliott Mineral collection held at Georgetown, Qld.

Part of the extensive Ted Elliott Mineral collection held at Georgetown, Qld.

Part of the extensive Ted Elliott Mineral collection held at Georgetown, Qld.

Part of the extensive Ted Elliott Mineral collection held at Georgetown, Qld.

Part of the extensive Ted Elliott Mineral collection held at Georgetown, Qld.

Part of the extensive Ted Elliott Mineral collection held at Georgetown, Qld.

Our side street looking Northwards.

Our side street looking Southwards.

Goldfields CP - site 8.

*2013 - Index page*

Heading to Mount Surprise.