Karumba is a town which epitomizes the Outback spirit
It sits proudly in the heart of Queensland’s Karumba where the Matilda Highway’s meet. Karumba is a town which epitomizes the Outback spirit.
Normanton to Karumba
It’s a good stretch of road extending the 71 kilometres to Karumba, a town right on the Gulf of Carpentaria. Although it seems to take the longest of any previously travelled section of the highway, it’s all to do with the excitement of finally reaching the ‘end of the road’ and the Gulf of Carpentaria. Its very location makes Karumba an excellent place to get a ‘feed’ of fresh seafood including excellent prawns, for which the town is noted. Visit one of the many vibrant bars at night and you’re sure to run into somebody from the prawn trawling fleet. Speaking of bars, music buffs may know the Red Hot Chill Peppers’ song ‘Animal Bar’, from the album Stadium Arcadium, which is written about Karumba and named after one of the town’s bars. Around Karumba it’s relatively flat country, but it’s the birdlife that excites. Saurus cranes, similar to a brolga, are in abundance. If you’re in Karumba in September or October, keep an eye out for the ‘morning glory’ a unique cloud formation that sometimes forms in the early morning. Congratulations for making the full length of the Matilda Highway.
After sitting in pitch darkness for five minutes, our eyes finally adjust to the night and overhead the sky turns on a show of sheer brilliance which is unique to this part of the world.
The stars, and the Milky Way in particular, burn bright and the twinkling mass of colour extends to a seemingly endless horizon in every direction. As each person gets their night vision, it’s punctuated with an “Oh wow!” or “Oh look at that!” and similar variations.
The night session at the Cosmos Centre and Observatory in Karumba has that effect on most people, experienced astronomers included, who are moved deeply by this introduction to one of nature’s greatest shows.
Karumba’s unique location in the Outback with no pollution and very little city lights, combined with the fact that the area is populated with wildlife which covered hundreds of kilometres around and has amazing sunsets days, means it’s one of the best locations to view the stars and systems that make up our universe.
Over the next hour, our small group takes turns at looking through the three powerful Meade telescopes which are each pointed at various stars and galaxies – we look at star clusters, binary stars, nebulae, coloured stars and planets as our trained guides explain why they’re there, and how they were formed.
It’s an overwhelming and humbling experience and it’s just one of the highlights of a visit to Karumba. With a population of 600 it’s the magnificent town in the north of the state and has become a major hub for an exploration of the Queensland Outback.
The modern innovation of the Cosmos Centre aside, it’s a town steeped in rich history set against an unbreakable bond with the land, and to gain a real appreciation of what makes Karumba “tick”, you need to take to the air. Down at ground level, the town is a quiet and pleasant place with the tropical view.
See the Barramundi Restocking Farm, take a scenic flight, board a river cruise for
some croc spotting, catch a few fish during a fishing charter, meander
around town and dine at restaurants and cafes. There is a lot to do.
Outback Trail Walking
BOOK NOW! for September, October, and November You may also do advanced booking for December, January, and February.
Postal Address: Karumba Point Sunset Caravan Park, PO Box 61 Karumba Queensland 4891
Tel: (07) 4745 9277
Fax (07) 4745 9480
Tags: Karumba Point, Sunset Caravan Park, Karumba, Matilda Highway, Karumba Point Sunset Caravan Park, Tour, Travel, Holidays, Sunset, Star Gazing, Cosmos Centre and Observatory, Meade telescopes, Outback spirit