Karumba QLD

Karumba was on our “places bucket list”. W were not too sure what we’d find here but “just had to have a look”. Not disappointed at all with our choice.

Karumba Gateway
Karumba Gateway

In 1937 Karumba became a refueling point for Qantas and BOAC flying boats travelling from Australia to London. During World War II the town was an RAAF base for Catalinas flying into New Guinea, Timor and Indonesia. Parts of the infrastructure still exist today.

It was a wild old town back in the 1970’s when there were over 40 prawning trawlers operating from Karumba. The local pub was known as the Animal Bar which was pretty wild. They say that everything had to be bolted down even the ashtrays, so it couldn’t be used in the many pub brawls that occurred there. Today it is still home to extensive prawn, mud crab and the barramundi fishing fleets.

Karumba Caravan Park

There were 2 main choices for caravan parks in Karumba – Karumba Point Tourist Park OR Karumba Sunset Caravan Park (over the road from the Sunset Tavern) – maplink. We selected the 1st one as we’d heard a lot of bad reports about the sunset one, which we soon discovered were incorrect. Well there’s always a chance of staying there on our next trip.

Karumba Sunsets at the Tavern

There’s one place that you must pay a visit to experience an awesome sunset and that’s The Sunset Tavern (Facebook). We paid two visits to the pub to experience the sunset and each time stayed to experience their mouth watering grilled Barramundi.

1st sunset

2nd sunset

Karumba Barramundi Centre

The recently completed Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre is a fantastic place to visit. You must take the tour of the centre to learn more about the iconic “Barra” (maplink).

Merrisa even attempted to hand feed some of the barra but they weren’t hungry but it was still pretty exciting waiting for a 1 metre long barra to snaffle the tiny squid she was holding above the water.

Kerry D Fishing Charter

You must take a fishing charter out of Karumba when you’re in town. The natural choice has to be Kerry D Charters. They have been in business for ages and know all the right spots. Their price was very reasonable too at $140pp for about 4 hours.

Our trip was great with Paul (skipper) & Mick (decky) looking after us really well. The fish weren’t all that friendly. The water was just 19 degrees so a bit cool for a great catch but Paul & Mick tried so many spots trying to improve our chances.

We were about 1.5kms from shore and the water depth was about 1 metre on average. Could not believe that it was so shallow.

Merrisa was successful with 2 lovely blue threadfin salmon and I caught 4 catfish (throw back fish).

Sunset Cruise

Karumba’s Croc & Crab Tours run a sunset cruise, so we thought “why not” and booked in for our final night in Karumba.

They begin with a bit of a tour up the Norman River informing us of the history which surrounds the port. They spoke of the cyclones and floods they regularly get, where a young boy once caught a 25kg Barramundi on the main road out the front of his house (half a km from the river). Another was about this massive croc which came out of the Norman River, walked down the main street and settled on the doorstep of a house. They had to get professionals out from Cairns to remove and relocate him.

More history – In 1938 a flying boat base was built in Karumba to provide a refueling point for the Sydney-Singapore legs of the Empire Air Route to Britain. During WW2 the RAAF stationed a fleet of Catalina ‘Flying Boats’ out of Karumba.

Lot’s more info was provided about the town and it’s port. We already knew about the fish & prawn part, but there was also a ship, called Wunma in town which carries Zinc & Lead Ore from the Century Mine 304kms away at Lawn Hill, via a ‘slurry’ pipeline to a Karumba refinery. After processing the Wunma takes the ore out to mother ships for export.

Following the very informative talk about Karumba’s history we set sail for a small sand island to witness yet another brilliant Karumba sunset. Drinks and nibbles on the sand as the sun went down was totally beautiful. Then it was back to the boat ramp to finish up a really nice tour.

Normanton and Georgetown

Leaving Karumba we refueled in Normanton (maplink) at the local BP. It was a bit of a classic experience with 3 old blokes sitting around in dilapidated armchairs next to the fuel pumps, giving advice about travel & life in general – very funny. We checked out some of the historical buildings’ like the Purple Pub (Facebook) and the Burns Philp building (a bit of family history – my mum worked for Burns Philp in Madang PNG in the early 1960’s)

Then it was off to Georgetown for a couple of nights stay. We decided to stay here as a base for the trip into Cobbold Gorge due to the reported poor road conditions on that leg of our trip. We pulled into the Goldfields Caravan Park (Facebook) and were happy to find out that they have a happy hour every night – nice.

Summing up…

  • Accommodation the Karumba Point Caravan Park is pretty dusty park with lots of “rules”
    • Cost per night$39.00 (@ 25-Aug-2020)
    • Facilitiesclean but pretty outdated
    • CP Location have to drive about 3 kms into town (maplink)
    • Our rating/score6/10
  • Was it a nice town to visit? yes – a bucket list item ticked off
    • Activities & places of interest plenty to do but you have to look around for it
      • The sunsets from the pub are absolutely fantastic
      • Barramundi Centre is great – plenty to see & learn about the famous “Barra”
      • Kerry D fishing charter was fun – only $80 per head
      • Sunset Cruise? – take it or leave it
    • Tourist info centre?149 Yappar Street, Karumba (website)
    • Would we return?no – been there & done that but still totally recommend it as a must do location
    • Overall Score 8/10
  • Summing upLoved our stay here and made some really great friends too.

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