Jun 8, 2016
Although Normanton is a small town, this is the noisiest caravan park yet. We're parked next to the road, and with people having a chat as they walked past, trucks and general road noise, I didn't have the best sleep. But then, I knew we had to leave here by 7.45am, and I usually spend half the night worrying that I won't wake up, so a combination of things. Anyhow, we were up and ready to go to the station to check in at 8am for the trip to Croydon on the Gulflander. We joined the queue.
The Gulflander - commonly called "a train from nowhere to nowhere"!
Normanton to Croydon is 151k/94miles, and the weekly service departs at 8.30am, arriving at Croydon at 1.30pm. The line was completed in 1891, and now runs at a loss, but brings $'s into the Savannah region. The driver is also an accredited Savannah Guide.
There were 79 passengers today, which we understand is quite a lot. It can carry 100.
The train departed on time, rocking from side to side with no let-up for the whole journey. The scenery was mostly what we'd seen from the road yesterday, but this time there was commentary. We passed a huge inland lake which to local knowledge has never dried up, a marker showing the height of floods over the years, an enormous area of flood plains covered with water up to 10 metres in the wet, remains of old gold fields and abandoned machinery. We also passed through a plague of locusts.
We stopped for morning tea at Black Bull Siding, then continued our journey to Croydon, arriving at 1.30pm. Who should we see at the station but Ron, our guide from Cobbold Gorge. We had a quick chat with him - he was collecting passengers from the train to take back to the Gorge - and walked to the pub for lunch, but only one person in attendance and lots of people waiting, so we went back to the cafe/shop where we ate yesterday.
We departed Croydon at 3pm by bus, taking 1h45m to Normanton, during which time we all had short naps! A big day.
We just had time for a mouthful or two of a cuppa before walking around to the Main street for the annual Rodeo parade. The Rodeo festivities start tomorrow, and it was interesting to watch the parade. I only saw one white child in the small group of children from Normanton State School, and only a handful of black children in the larger group from Gulf Christian School. The services were well represented with floats.
We walked up the main street to have a look around - the right time to do it, as it was lovely and cool, after a very hot day. The walk didn't take long - not much to look at except a replica huge crocodile, a park and 3 pubs. Time for dinner and bed.