Free camping Queensland
Normanton scroll down for pictures
Normanton A fantastic town situated on the Norman river, on the edge of civilization and well worth a visit.
There are many long and dusty kilometers between Cairns and Normanton. But an excellent sealed road, with miles of 110Km stretches and many free camp sites to visit. My name is James Hamilton and I travel this wonderful country of ours with a 1973 york caravan, seeking out free campsites for my Grey Nomads “oztrekkin.com” web page. This quest took me to the top of Queensland this year and across the Gulf country along the Savannah way. The road from Cairns goes up the Kuranda range into the air-conditioned climes of the Tablelands
Past Mareeba, where there is a great place to camp at the Mareeba rodeo grounds. Then up through Walkerman and Tolga, with free camps at Rickey Creek and Kari. Atherton a bustling town of about 7000 people is the last place with a supermarket, and the other trappings of civilization. Then ever up more ranges to Ravenshoe. Where there is a great cheep camping place. (power,hot showers and dogs welcome and only $6 May 2010) On ever west there is another good free camp spot at Archer creek some 16km to the west.
After that you have crossed the ranges and the country starts to flatten out.
Mt Garnet is an interesting place where there was a lot of tin mining in the past.
Then west to the turn off just past the 40 mile scrub, onto the road past the Undara Lava tubes and on to Mt Surprise. Where the Rock hounds all head for to get the Topaz found on O’Brien s creek'
. Next stop is George town, a gold mining “almost City” of the past now cattle and not a lot of people. There is a free campsite on the Gilbert river crossing on the north side of the road, this has to be one of the remotest camp spots I have ever been in, at night the stars look like diamonds on black velvet..
Croydon is next Terminus of the Gulf-lander train from Normanton. A rail line put in to supply another bustling gold mining town of the past. Then on to Normanton. This town is something else, it is one of the most isolated towns in Queensland. People here do their grocery shopping in Mt Isa, There are two general stores and two butchers,a pink one and a blue one. There is a good bakery and three pubs of which the purple pub is the most famous. It is on the banks of the Norman river, itself once a fairly large sea port. And home of big crocodiles, one spotted just a month or so and, estimated at 8 plus meters. And of course the replica of the “biggest crocodile ever shot in the world” Guinness book of records. This was known as Krays savannah king 8.63 meters shot in 1957 by Krystina Pawloski.
Normanton is also the home of the Croydon rail motor A train that has run for over a hundred years. Tourists can take the trip to Croydon and back with a night in Croydon at the hotel. There is a museum at the station and an information and tourist shop, where you can get crocodiles that glow in the dark T shirts for the grandchildren and all sorts of other interesting stuff. A must while you are there is a trip to Karumba the prawn capitol of Queensland. Another fascinating “ outback town by the sea”
On the way there is a free camp at Walkers creek where I cot a picture of a crocodile on the river right next of the camp site. Camp there if you dare, but I wouldn’t be taking any moonlight walks..
2011 TRIP PLANS
The plans for next year 'All going well' are to travel down to Canberra via the inland route and using the country roads where possible, looking for nice camp spots. Then on down to Aubrey and along the Murray for a couple of hundred Km's then back up through western NSW to Burke and across to Lightening Ridge. Then up through north west Queensland via Longreach and Cloncurry to Normantown, (again) then across to Cooke town and back down the coast to Brisbane. About a nine month trip.