Tuesday morning I continued my drive to the West. The landscape West of Croydon is pretty flat. Hence, all the water from the rainy season is still in the flood plains, which is a paradise for mosquitoes, as I’ve discovered the night before. I briefly stopped at Black Bull siding, a former water refilling point of the Gulflander locomotive, nowadays it’s only a breakfast morning stop, if the train would operate. The railway just goes straight and follows the road…or vice versa, not clue which one was first. At the railway bridge across the Norman river, I spotted two crocodiles. The first was pretty sure a freshie, the second disappeared to fast that I could spot it precisely. When I went back to Normanton, I finally finished my circumnavigation of Australia!, which I did in four stages:
- Sydney – Broome (clockwise direction in 2008)
- (Darwin-)Katherine-Broome (counter-clockwise)
- Normanton-Katherine(-Darwin) (clockwise)
- Sydney-Brisbane-Cairns-Normanton (counter-clockwise)
It’s probably a very uncommon place to finish a circumnavigation of Australia, but as I already expected, the road to Burketown and further on to the NT border was still closed. I guess during that time, still due to the flooding due to the cyclone, which went through a few weeks earlier.
I met again the woman from the Croydon visitor centre near the Norman River. She was with Kenny the train driver from the Gulflander looking for the river. We had a short chat before I went to Karumba in the afternoon, the end of the road to the North, as the gravel road to Chillagoe was also still closed due to the rainy seson. In Karumba I visited the Barramundi breeding center, where the young woman gave me a nice overview of their work, which basically is to stock up the Barramundi in various waters, in order to keep the numbers up so that recreational and commercial fishing can continue. After a short walk through the town along the waterfront with the prawn boats, I went to Karumba point to finally see the ocean again. This area was first sailed to by Jan Carstensz already in 1623 (almost 150 years before Cook went to the other side of the Cape York Peninsula, and 20 years before Abel Tasman went to Tasmania and discovered New Zealand) from Ambon. During that voyage he sighted also the highest mountain of the Australian continent, which is now situated in West Papua and belongs to Indonesia, and named “Carstensz Pyramid”. Back in the days, nobody wanted to believe him, that this peak was covered with a glacier. Nowadays, this glacier is almost gone. The first ascent was made by Heinrich Harrer in 1962 together with three other climbers (yes, he also did this first successful ascent of the Eiger North Face, and went 7 years to Tibet).