With 500 acres of land right on the banks of the McArthur River in the Northern Territory, King Ash Bay is practically a small self-sufficient township. It generates its own power, supplies good quality drinkable bore water and provides many of the other services you would expect in a small community, like a pub and little store. With a caravan park run mostly by volunteers of King Ash Bay Fishing Club and an incredibly relaxing vibe, we thought we’d share our top five reasons why you should go check it out too.
1. The journey
Part of King Ash Bay’s charm is in the adventure you’ll have getting there! Depending on which way you’re heading from, you’ll have a vast array of outback to explore on your way in. Think corrugated roads, changing landscapes, numerous water crossings and creeks and the good old smell of the country coming in the car window.
If, like us, you’re travelling along the Savannah Way from the Queensland side of the map, you’ll pass icons such as Hell’s Gate Roadhouse and some remote outback towns like Borroloola which will provide some necessary fuel and treats for the car ride. With many an off-the-track camp to pull up for a night or two, your adventure will start as soon as your foot hits that pedal in your 4WD.
2. The fishing
Now, the barramundi fishing is something that draws most visitors to King Ash Bay — and even though their waterways are home to a wide range of different fish, the thrill of hooking a ‘Barra’ is definitely one huge reason why people keep coming back. With opportunity to fish off the banks right out front of some of the campsites here, you can land a fish without having a boat which is a huge plus for the kids. Particularly at dusk and dawn, you’ll witness countless queen fish torpedoing out of the water as they smash through the schools of bait fish.
If you do have a boat, you can choose to head down the estuaries for shelter from the weather or make your way further off shore and chase those reef fish. Those with bigger boats can even seek information about camping out on some of the islands surrounding King Ash Bay. You’ll be surprised at how happy the staff and locals are to share their knowledge of some epic fishing spots around the area. Be prepared for the midgies down those windy creeks and be sure to take the Aeroguard to help prevent an attack!
3. The community
King Ash Bay has an inclusive community atmosphere. From the locals that have set up their homes here, to the keen fishermen and other travellers passing through, you’ll find plenty of helpful people and friendly chit-chat — particularly if you head up to the Groper Bar at happy hour! The bar also doubles as a grill, which puts on a decent feed with various specials throughout the week.
During its busier times (generally the colder months given its intense tropical weather in summer), you’ll find a number of planned events enticing you to mingle and make new friends. From line dancing and darts to bush bingo, trivia nights, golf, tai chi, and of course fishing — you’re bound to find something to get involved in. Even in the off-peak season there are some events on, so be sure to check with reception when you book.
4. It’s affordable
At under $100 bucks per week for an unpowered bush camp with plug in water, it’s an absolute steal. With some sites right on the water, we’re pretty sure King Ash Bay is some of the cheapest water-front living on offer in the country!
The caravan park has powered sites and villas on offer too, along with clean and well-serviced amenities like a dump point and toilets, showers and laundry blocks as you’d expect in a caravan park. For the ‘free camp’ option, Batten Point a few short kilometres away has various sites and if you need any water or supplies you can purchase them from King Ash Bay’s well-stocked servo/shop, or pay a small fee to use the caravan park facilities.
5. The views
Oh My Goodness — those views will leave you speechless! There’s just something about flowing water that adds a new element to the incredible colours of the sky on sunset at King Ash Bay, particularly if it’s a calm day and the sun’s reflection glistens over the glassy water.
The local wildlife is super cool to check out too. King Ash Bay is certainly home to many crocodiles, some of which you’ll see simply cruising past in the water. You’ll see cockatoos, black kites, jabirus and blue winged kookaburras soaring the skies. Little wallaroos happily graze around the property, and you might occasionally spot some of the reptile species getting around the grounds too.
If you choose your time of year wisely around your preferences, be that for the weather, camping popularity and even seasonal fishing, you’re bound to have an enjoyable and relaxing adventure out here in King Ash Bay — just like we have!