The Outback to the Gulf Safari started in style on 7th July 2011 as 22 motorhomes made their way through the Queensland outback to arrive in arguably the best fishing spot in the world, Karumba, in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Our hosts Peter & Renate Mohringer from Winnebago Townsville and the WRVC members arrived at the Nindigully Pub where they were welcomed with a sausage sizzle, followed by a feast of monstrous burgers designed to feed 15 people each.
After a night spent in Nindigully it was off to Mitchell for our first stop and dip in the artesian pool. The enjoyment of our swim was short lived when we awoke the next morning to a very chilly 2°C with a thick coating of ice covering our campsite. After thawing out we set off for Charleville and a visit that night to the Cosmos Centre. The sky was a spectacular sight in the darkness of the outback. We spent the night discovering just how big the universe really was and will never forget Saturn and its rings in a winter night sky.
After a brief overnight stop in Blackall with a very tasty campfire oven dinner, we arrived in Longreach the Home of Qantas. With nearly 50% of our trip distance covered in only five short days a two day stop over was a welcome distraction. Many of us started the day with a visit to the Qantas museum. The highlight of our Longreach visit was our Christmas in July River Cruise along the Thompson River in the old paddle wheeler it really was a fun night with a fabulous bush poet entertaining us all.
Dinner was delicious, though not without catastrophe as poor Peter spent the next morning at the dentist. We then set off to the birth place of Waltzing Matilda, Winton. The temperature in Winton was a stark contrast to the chilly start just a few days before, and it was still shorts & t-shirt weather the next morning as we left for Middletown. Though we had seen some breathtaking scenery, nothing could have prepared us for the drive to Middletown. The landscape was the most spectacular formation most of us have ever seen. Our arrival at the Middletown Pub was the pinnacle of the year for the owner of the pub in the middle of nowhere.
The great weather we were having was about to give way with heavy rain clouds filling the sky, we made a quick decision to leave Middleton and head for Boulia and the camel races. For many of us it was a very difficult 187km drive with two motorhomes getting stuck in the mud. The wind and cold continued that night in Boulia, luckily we found a dry spot to set up the hut and celebrate the races in style with our Funny Hat dinner. Our Funny Hat dinner winners Paul and Irene Plowman took the briefing very seriously and looked very funny indeed. The next morning the bad weather continued and the camel races were cancelled. Again we made a group decision to move onto Mount Isa to avoid being stuck in the mud. Money received back from the Camel Races entry fee was then donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
After leaving Boulia we stopped in a little place called Dajarra and after the cold & wet time in Boulia we looked forward to happy hour around the camp fire. A game of bingo was lots of fun and a plan was set in place for dinner on our arrival at Karumba. On Monday after yet another spectacular scenic drive, we arrived in Mount Isa. A visit the next morning from the local news paper, had us headlining the front page declaring a tourist boom for Mount Isa. After yet another hearty breakfast cooked by Peter and Renate, many of us joined one of the numerous tours on offer to discover Mount Isa’s colourful and significant history in building the Queensland outback.
A visit to the local lake for a picnic was a relaxing way to spend the afternoon. The evening was spent again enjoy a rowdy game of bingo and we had many happy winners. Time to say goodbye to Mount Isa after a two day stop over and head towards Cloncurry. The evening held a surprise dinner at the local Post Office Hotel, a delicious buffet which we all enjoyed. The night ended with a walk back to our Winnebago’s to work off the extra calories.
A quick breakfast the next morning saw us fuelled up and on the road for an exhausting 373km drive to Normanton. All the hills were left behind and we entered flat outback country with the hope of mild temperatures all day long. A monster Barramundi welcomed us at the Normanton Caravan Park along with some unexpected gardening, as some tree trimming was required to fit some of our motorhomes to their allocated sides. It was warm for some, even hot for others. The weather definitely let us know we had moved a lot further north and we only a whisper away from the Gulf.
The next day we went on the historic Gulflander Railway. The Gulflander train was celebrating 120 years since its maiden service began between Normanton and Croydon. The train ride was an enjoyable two hour journey taken us back into the outback bush for a very nice lunch by the lake and under the gum trees. This evening most of us had dinner at the Purple Pub where we were lucky enough to win the pub raffle. Our last day’s travelling was here.
A quick 71km drive saw us arrive early morning to our final destination, Karumba. This is a quaint fishing village and we received a warm welcome at the local caravan park. The sunshine provided us with a glorious 27°C day, and it was now time to set up our hut for the last time. Happy hour that evening was spent discussing the serenity. The next morning we experienced yet another cold morning but it didn’t stop Peter and Renate from cooking a lovely bacon & egg breakfast to warm us up.
A short drive to the Point allowed us to visit the local Sunday market and enjoy a lunch at the famous Sunset Pub. Our bad taste dinner night was on his way and by around four o’clock the first couples arrived at the hut. Karumba didn’t disappoint when it came time to deliver a perfect setting for our final night, never before had a sunset seemed quite so colourful or vibrant. The local fish & chips shop supplied a bountiful feast for our “Bad Taste” dinner that evening, bringing with it lots of laughter, good humour and retelling tales of our adventures. There was only one more thing to do and that was to crown Tony and Jenny Edman as the winners of the worse-dressed couple.
Peter & Renate from Winnebago Townsville would like to thank all the club members for a wonderful experience in leading the 2011 Outback to the Gulf Safari. They wish all of you a happy and safe travel and hopes you may see each other one day on the road again.
per couple per RV.
$1650 / single per RV.
See the planned stops along the way.
Sorry, you've missed out! =(
Registration for this event closed on the 5th Jun, 2011!
Bring your four legged friends along for the ride!