July 27 We make a day stop in Normanton on the way to Karumba to take a ride on the historic Gulflander train, a rail journey unlike any other. Originally built to connect the once bustling river port of Normanton with the rich gold fields of Croydon, today the Gulflander is a tourism icon and working tribute to the early pioneers of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Affectionately said to go from “nowhere to nowhere”, the Normanton to Croydon line was never connected to the state rail network. This isolated railway is heritage listed and the only line in Queensland still measured in miles.
The Normanton to Croydon line was laid in a fashion not found anywhere else in the world. With an innovative sleeper design, seasonal flood waters flow over the line to lessen flood damage. Testament to the ingenuity of this design is that today much of the line is still the original rail and sleepers laid between 1888 and 1891.
Note the flood markers along the line – take a look at how high the 1974 floods were.
Normanton is also home to a Big Barra and the largest crocodile ever shot. It is 8.63 metres long and was shot by a female crocodile hunter in July 1957.