If the journey is all part of the adventure for you, take the road less travelled and drive the fully sealed road to the Gulf.
Travelling by car or caravan is one of the best ways to explore the Gulf of Carpentaria giving you 24/7 appreciation of the landscape and rich history.
Driving the Australian Outback has never been easier, with upgraded and sealed roads, better maps, phone reception (in towns) and more self-sufficient caravans and campers.
You can choose to stick to the highways or to take your thrill-seeking spirit off the beaten track.
Immerse yourself in the outback surroundings exploring kilometres of deep red sand, jaw- dropping gorges, monuments and ruins that nod towards the rich history of explorers and Indigenous communities.
Keep your eyes peeled out the windows for the chance to spot native Australian wildlife, like dingoes, emus and of course, kangaroos.
While the majority of the roads in Normanton and Karumba are sealed, expect some unsealed roads on your travels. Please take caution when driving on unsealed roads.
TIPS BEFORE HITTING THE ROAD
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Whether you’re a first timer or you’re an old hand on outback roads, we recommend familiarising yourself with the outback landscape before departing on your travels.
CHECK YOUR VEHICLE AND BOOK IN FOR A SERVICE
If it’s your first time hitting the
red dirt, be sure to inform your
mechanic of your travel plans.
MAP OUT THE DISTANCE OF YOUR TRAVELS
Plot out your itinerary and the estimated distances between towns. Don’t solely rely on your GPS system – printed maps still reign supreme out here.
PACK THE ESSENTIALS
Be prepared for anything and pack a first aid kit, water, food, blankets, rubbish bags, spare tyre, tool kit, tow rope, shovel, maps, toilet paper and additional communication equipment, such as a 2-way radio.
CHECK TRAVEL CONDITIONS DAILY
Are the roads ahead sealed or unsealed? On unsealed roads, slow down, turn on your headlights and look for potholes or loose gravel
TIPS WHEN ON THE ROAD
TAKE REGULAR BREAKS
To reduce fatigue, pull over to rest at least every two hours. Pull into rest areas and stretch the legs at points of interest along the way.
Keep headlights on low beam during daylight hours to ensure other vehicles can spot you on the road.
CHECK YOUR VEHICLE REGULARLY
Pull over to make regular mechanical and tyre checks. Travelling with a ‘caravan convoy’? Leave at least 60m between vehicles in a built-up area and 200m in a road train area, to allow other drivers to overtake safely without frustration.
ROAD TRAINS AND WIDE LOADS
You will encounter a road train or wide load while travelling in the outback. If the highway is narrow, you may need to pull off the road completely to let them pass. Not only will you allow the truck to pass safely, you’re more likely to protect your paint work and windscreen from stone chips.
WILDLIFE AND CATTLE
Take care when driving and look out for cattle and wildlife on the road. Reduce the amount of driving you do at dawn, dusk and after dark,
as this is when animals like kangaroos, come to the side of the road to graze.
Expect a variety of weather conditions when travelling, especially during the wet season (November to April) when heavy rainfall is expected.
MOBILE PHONE RECEPTION
Telstra is the only provider with mobile reception in Normanton and Karumba. Phone reception is limited when travelling out of the townships
Not into long days behind the wheel? Outsource the driving and visit the Gulf by bus.
Not only will you have unlimited time to enjoy the surroundings and relax, you will have the chance to meet new people and enjoy a laugh with new-found friends.
Who knows? The bonds you forge in the Outback could last a lifetime.
Did you know you can tailor your Gulf holiday itinerary to include all four iconic Queensland trains; the Spirit of Queensland, the Gulflander (aka the Tin Hare), the Savannahlander Train (aka the Silver Bullet) and the Kuranda Scenic Railway?
Alternatively, you can just include the Gulflander Train in your itinerary which connects Croydon with Normanton.
A working tribute to the early pioneers, the Gulflander is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Perhaps the most care-free, but not necessarily the quickest way to travel to Normanton and Normanton is by plane.
Regional Express Airlines (REX) offers flights connecting Normanton to major airports, however, expect a mail-run style service with a number of stops along the way.