On a western Queensland adventure, there’s really only one place where you’ll see the ocean, and that’s Karumba Point. Part of its beauty is the fact that the sun sets across the sea. So you don’t need to go all the way to Western Australia for brilliant sunset-and-sea photos. This little spot in Queensland has all the glorious technicolour anyone could ever wish for … truly, it’s worth visiting for this alone!
The smell of salt is a welcome change when you’ve been inland for so long. Karumba Point is in fact the only stretch of beach that can be accessed from the Matilda Highway and Savannah Way by bitumen road, which makes it even more special.
Of course, the real attraction is the fishing. If you have your own boat, you’ll find ramps at Karumba and Karumba Point. Otherwise, tour operators take fishing trips. If you’re not keen on fishing, you can still have a wonderful time out on the water with a sunset cruise on the Gulf or a birdwatching and wildlife cruise along the river.
This part of the world is the last word in casual relaxation. The locals are friendly and many people come back winter after winter to bask in the gorgeous weather away from their chilly southern homes. These ‘winter locals’ are usually keen fishermen.. While you’re here, learn the story about the Karumba tide, for the area has only one high and one low tide every 24 hours.
Karumba Point and Karumba are 8km apart by road, but only half that distance by foot when you take a special walking path created between the two settlements. This walk is very popular with visitors and takes you past mangrove landscape where you can often see the birds and fish that live here. You don’t even get your feet wet, because bridges have been constructed at the creek crossings.
The Karumba township hugs the Norman River and is a major port for the export of live cattle and minerals. Historically, it has also been headquarters for prawning and commercial fishing industries.
A walking track between Karumba and Karumba Point has become popular with visitors. The 4km route is an easy walk past mangrove landscape and a variety of fish, plants and birdlife. Two little river crossings are bridged. People like to do the walk then relax over a coffee or a meal before setting off on their return journey.
While in Karumba, visit the Karumba Visitor Information Centre and Library to pick up a bird list and use their reference books to check any birdlife or mammals you’ve seen. One of the animals you are quite likely to see in the district is the agile wallaby (Macropus agilis). It has black-tipped ears, fore-feet and tail and white stripes at jaw and thigh.
One of the trees that always sparks interest is the kapok tree, known as the ‘wild cotton tree’. And why call a tree a ‘cabbage tree’? Find out at the library.
Take Karumba’s heritage walk. Along the way you will discover pioneers, commercial fishing, World War 2 squadrons and the Catalina among the history of the region. Signage tells some of the stories from the first inhabitants, explorers, environment, economy and community.
Sunderland Park and cenotaph were established in honour of the 43rd Squadron that was based here in the Second World War. Anzac Day is usually commemorated here. Signage gives information about the war, flooding and the Morning Glory cloud phenomenon.
Take a tour at the Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre to discover the secret life of barramundi.
The centre exists to ensure a fishing future for the Southern Gulf strain of barramundi. This is the only hatchery in the world that has succeeded in breeding this strain and last year was particularly successful, with a record spawning of more than 120,000 fingerlings. Of course, it takes a couple of years for them to grow to legal size, but it’s looking good for years to come where the fingerlings have been released in Lake Moondarra, Lake Belmore and the Albert River in Burketown as well as 70,000 for the local Norman River.
Tours are conducted by experienced guides and usually run for about 45 minutes. Part of the tour is a video on the farming practices of raising fingerlings. In peak season tours run from Monday to Friday at 10.30am and 1.30m and on Saturday and Sunday at 9.30am.
Karumba Visitor Information Centre and Library
Phone (within Australia) 07 4745 9582