On our way to Karumba we'd seen miles and miles of termite mounds and came across more of the phenomenon we'd seen before - isolated pockets of strong little whirlwinds that whipped up the dry leaves and grasses, and gave Annie quite a jolt when we were unfortunate to drive through one.We also had the odd sightings of a few Brolgas - a large bird similar to cranes and storks which are quite common in the north of Oz.On the road between Karumba and Normanton we were treated to many sightings of numerous flocks in the fields by the roadside - in fact there were nearly as many as there are pigeons in Trafalgar Square! See Savannah photo album. At this point in our journey we were travelling the Savannah Highway which runs between Broome and Cairns.Much of the route we were taking was just a strip of tarmac up the middle similar to the road to Karumba.We'd promised ourselves that on our way back from Karumba and before we turned on to the Savannah Highway, we'd stop at Normanton for coffee and fuel, and to have a closer look at some of the interesting buildings.One of the 'big' attractions is Krys, a life sized statue of the, supposedly, largest saltwater croc ever captured.It was over 8 metres long and was caught in the nearby NormanRiver.However, there are disputes as to whether it was caught or shot but there is no dispute as to the size as there is photographic evidence in the local museum.It did bring a certain je ne sais quoi to the grounds of the Carpentaria Shire Council Office.Normanton is known for one other thing - the Gulflander railway which runs once a week between Normanton and Croydon some 150 kms away.The journey takes four hours on Wednesday and another four hours return on Thursday - so a shopping trip to Croydon (which incidentally has the oldest store in Australia) would necessitate an overnight stop!See Savannah photo album.After an overnight stop at MountSurprise we made an early arrival at Undara Lodge.This sits on the edge of the UndaraNational Park which is essentially protecting evidence of ancient volcanic activity.Interestingly the Lodge comprises many railway carriages which have been converted into accommodation, restaurant, bar etc (the original reason for choosing railway carriages was so that the 'buildings' could be demountable and removed easily should the lease be cancelled).It's all done really well and the whole set up at Undara Lodge seems to work.We were very pleased with our pitch right on the edge of the bush (although it was bloody noisy at about 5.30 in the morning when all the birds came to life!).There are a number of walks around the Lodge, and we did a couple, which were pleasant but not particularly challenging nor did they give us much opportunity to spot wildlife (everything seems to hang around near the campsite).The main point of our stay here was to visit the National Park and see the volcanic evidence at close quarters. Our tour (the only way you can see the main attraction) took us on a walk up around the rim of one of the volcanoes (thankfully extinct) and underground to the amazing lava tubes,These are immense tunnels which were formed by the lava as it flowed from the many volcanoes in this area and are really fascinating.Wonder if there's anything similar elsewhere in the world.
Having had lunch included in the tour we weren't up for a meal at night so moseyed over to the bar.At 8pm one of the tour guides puts on a fun one hour show around the camp fire.Naturally we headed across and, with the encouragement of the guide for audience participation, we eagerly took up the challenge.We were both in good form and, even if we say so ourselves, our input was noticeable and added considerably to the entertainment.M was convincing as a jumbuck (sheep) and had never done the Highland Fling in flip flops before (maybe it should be called the Highland Flingflops).