What an incredibly charming little town! Despite only having around 500 permanent residents, this little town in the Carpentaria region of Queensland can boast up to 3000 tourists during its peak months. June and July are when tourism hits its annual high, and keen fishermen and women flock to Karumba’s waters, chasing the monster fish of the Gulf who will challenge their fishing skills and provide that ‘Insta-worthy’ pic.
It’s not all about the fishing in Karumba though, with plenty of ways to relax, and ample opportunity for the budding photographer to capture images of the phenomenal sunsets and unique wildlife of this side of Australia’s Gulf Country.
During our weeks exploring, we ventured to the free splash park and public pool in town, where we were treated to free swimming lessons for our kids. Shopping was thankfully better than we’d thought and groceries were more reasonably priced than some of the other outback towns we’ve visited, with fresh produce being easy to come by too – thanks to a fruit and vegetable truck visiting each Thursday for restocking your fridges.
In Karumba, you’ll find the friendly staff at the information centre also run the Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre – an interesting stop to learn all about the Gulf’s breeding program, which was put in place to help restock the surrounding waterways with barramundi, both for commercial and recreational fishing.
If shore-side fishing makes you nervous up here with the often murky waters and known saltwater crocs lurking below, then there are a heap of charters and boat hire options around town.
For us, having our own tinny was certainly handy in that regard, as it allowed us to venture into some of the various river channels and not have to fight the tides and wind that seem to have their own mind up here – particularly when your vessel feels like an esky-sized flotation device and you’re trying to emerge from the mouth of the Norman River into the Gulf!
Golden hour done right
One thing you cannot miss out on when you come to Karumba is experiencing one of the incredible Ferryman cruises.
They have a few different tours to choose from depending on your interests and budget, but I think their slogan of ‘You haven’t REALLY done Karumba until you’ve done a Ferryman Cruise’ is pretty damn spot on!
Choosing their Gulf Sunset and croc spotting cruise, I was impressed with how thorough Glen and Alison were with their generous catering and hilarious commentary of the town. They have a unique relationship with some of the wildlife too – which makes for some interesting photo opportunities.
Of course, eating the most delicious banana prawns and sipping a glass of champagne with a stunning Karumba Point sunset as a backdrop is an incredibly blissful way to end your cruise!
The perfect location
We spent our time in Karumba at the Karumba Point Sunset Caravan Park. Its location within walking distance of the beach and jetty was perfect for us, allowing the older boys to wake up as early as they wanted to start their fishing day with minimal fuss – and without really bothering those of us who like a sleep-in!
With it being croc country, we loved that the caravan park had a pool, and many an afternoon was spent cooling off from those mid-thirty degree days, while watching the sky change colour between the palm trees that line its fence as the sun began to drop below the horizon.
The staff at the caravan park are super friendly and the amenities are well looked after. Oh, and they make a mean wood fired pizza – which they take orders for on Wednesdays, so be sure to give them a try!
There’s a heritage and nature boardwalk a few metres from the entrance to the caravan park which if you follow, will take you into town with signs relaying the town’s history along the way, and on low tide you can walk along the beach around the point as well.
Staying out at Karumba point we were pretty spoilt for choice when it came to treating ourselves to a meal with a view as well.
The Sunset Tavern, as the name suggests, provides a great viewing platform for those amazing Gulf Country sunsets. They have a varied menu and as you’d expect, a highly recommended seafood menu.
If you like a quieter and more relaxed picnic feel, we recommend you try the tasty fish and chips from Ash’s @ The Point, and take a rug down near the jetty or along the beachfront past the pub to create your own perfect sunset dinner.
Either way, just be sure to make time for at least one Karumba point sunset and night of stargazing – they are seriously next level up here in the ‘Outback by the Sea’.