Our first campsite on our way around the Gulf of Carpentaria was at Old Roper Crossing. Its not on the Wikicamps app. A traveller at a rest area told us about it. It was magic. I’ve sent the site details to Wikicamps for the admin to add it, but on 2nd thought wish I hadn’t. Too many people here might ruin it. The Roper River runs over the weir, making a continuous waterfall sound, and spreading placidly through the eucalypt forest on the other side. A white heron has its favourite spot to sit, and two whistling kites are building a nest in the tree next to us. Some indigenous people came down to the river to have a wash at night, as did the lady traveller Lorraine who’s been here for 4 nights so far. She’s been travelling for 34 years, and is the 2nd one to tell us we shouldn’t be taking our vehicle through the Limmen National Park road because its too rough.
Well the road was not great that’s for sure, with bulldust craters and horrendous corregations but we made it. We also brought plenty of the road with us!
While in the National Park we visited the Southern Lost City and Butterfly Falls. The different rock formations never cease to amaze me. Mark got his drone up for some great photos. The pool at Butterfly Falls was a bit low but good for a dip.
We were told about Lorella Springs and thought we’d better check it out. It is a million acre property with enough things to do to keep anyone interested for a week, with fishing on the coast or rivers, rock formations, warm and cold springs, 4wd tracks, bush walks and a lot more. We stayed for a couple of nights and met some great people, Blinky, Teeny and Greg, at the hot spring and then continued on at the bar later.
We enjoyed the warm spring pool near the bar, but the open air cold showers were actually welcome in the heat.
We crossed into Queensland without any border checks, stopped briefly at Hells Gate roadhouse, and then stayed at Adels Grove which is the campground near Lawn Hill National Park.
The drive was again dusty and dry, but was worth it for the oases around Lawn Hill. It gave us an excuse to get the inflatable kayak out of the rear storage and paddle up the creek to the Middle and Upper Gorges. Despite there being freshwater crocs in the creek, they don’t bother anything too big. Archer fish inhabit the waters here. They get their name because they can accurately spit water at insects that then drop into the water for them to eat.
The Gulf Savannah roads pass close to the Gulf of Carpentaria, but you only get to see the gulf itself at Karumba. It’s a fishing town with boats large and small in everyone’s front yard. We didn’t stay because it was too windy and the caravan park was too full for our liking, but took some photos of the Gulf of Carpentaria water to prove we’ve seen them! Normanton is close by and has a replica of a crocodile that was shot by a woman in 1959. The croc named Krys after the woman, was 8.6 metres long, a world record.
After talking to the information centre at Normanton about the road condition up the peninsula to Musgrave, we decided we will take the road more travelled and interesting, traversing across the Gulf Development Road to Cairns to replenish supplies before heading up to Cape York.