From there we headed out east-ish towards Lakefield NP and stopped in at a few spots along the way towards Kalpower Crossing campground. The first lagoon was pretty dry but the second had good open water and lots of birds – we saw Spoonbills, Magpie Geese and Jabirus all in a 5 minute stop.
We reached Kalpower Crossing on the Normanby River and we were surprised how busy it was. We chose a good shady site and drove a few minutes back to a large ranger station that had a campsite booking kiosk to book the spot. The river has a large concrete causeway which is the road out to Bathurst Head and Cape Melville. A resident crocodile patrols the area – not huge but we weren’t dipping our toes in the water!
With a river of beautiful, clean freshwater, the campground has cold showers which were very popular in the afternoon as fellow campers tried to cool down and rinse off the days sweat – we were in there as soon as we had the chance! There’s a short walk near the campground through the woodland and along the river with some information signs mostly about the wet and dry seasons.
We crossed the river for a day trip out to Bathurst Bay which is a beautiful spot with half a dozen campers set up. With a long calm beach, you can launch your boat directly into the bay and be out in the deep ocean in minutes. The drive was slow but that was perfect for the changing scenery as we wound around the estuary and through small pockets of rainforest amongst the woodland.
We spotted some brolgas dancing around and stopped to take a photo – only then did we notice there was actually a procession of brolgas – hundreds of them loping along together across the dry saltpans. We had to get a video of them just to capture the sheer numbers we were seeing.
The Aboriginal owners of the land were out with their cattle mustering rigs – basically you just need to attach an old tyre to the front and sides of your vehicle and you are set to go bush cattle hunting. They had rounded up a bull and tied him to a tree and when we stopped for a look he was very, VERY angry and the dust he stirred up as he scraped his hoof was pretty menacing.
The strangest thing we saw along the track was a fox, which was actually a dingo, which now we’re not sure because it had the fattest fox tail but as it came up to our car it was definitely a dingo (we think). As we were getting back to camp some ominous storm clouds were lurking and we got nervous that our nine months of travel so far with almost zero rain could be coming to an end. The thunder rumbled off in the distance but we were spared as the storm took a course off to the south of us. As we started to pack on our last morning at Kalpower, one dark cloud came over and unleashed a good solid morning shower which had us rolling out the side awning off the car and hiding under while the rain we aren’t used to fell. A bit damp but we packed up and hit the road.