Ahhh the serenity… Karumba, a hidden gem in the mouth of the Norman River is home to the only beach accessible by bitumen road where you can watch the sun sink into the Gulf of Carpentaria. The smell of salt air is a welcome change when you have been inland so long, with Karumba offering a truly unique ‘Outback by the Sea’ experience.

Karumba Sunset

Amongst the natural treasures on offer are spectacular fiery sunsets, blazing starlight nights, coastal wetlands teeming with rare migratory birds and of course barramundi. It is world renowned as ‘Barradise’, a dream come true for those seeking a fishing adventure.

Karumba really is a place of many landscapes where the vistas are as unique as the people. This is one of the few places that can boast a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker in the main street – really, we’re not kidding!

On a western Queensland adventure, there’s really only one place where you’ll see the ocean, and that’s Karumba Point. Part of its beauty is the fact that the sun sets across the sea. So you don’t need to go all the way to Western Australia for brilliant sunset-and-sea photos. This little spot in Queensland has all the glorious technicolour anyone could ever wish for … truly, it’s worth visiting for this alone!

Sea-change to Your Matilda Adventure

The smell of salt is a welcome change when you’ve been inland for so long. Karumba Point is in fact the only stretch of beach that can be accessed from the Matilda Highway and Savannah Way by bitumen road, which makes it even more special.

Of course, the real attraction is the fishing. If you have your own boat, you’ll find ramps at Karumba and Karumba Point. Otherwise, tour operators take fishing trips. If you’re not keen on fishing, you can still have a wonderful time out on the water with a sunset cruise on the Gulf or a birdwatching and wildlife cruise along the river.

This part of the world is the last word in casual relaxation. The locals are friendly and many people come back winter after winter to bask in the gorgeous weather away from their chilly southern homes. These ‘winter locals’ are usually keen fishermen. While you’re here, learn the story about the Karumba tide, for the area has only one high and one low tide every 24 hours.

Sea-side Walk to Karumba Point

Karumba Point and Karumba are 8km apart by road, but only half that distance by foot when you take a special walking path created between the two settlements. This 4km walk is very popular with visitors and takes you past mangrove landscape where you can often see a variety of fish, plants and birdlife. You don’t even get your feet wet, because bridges have been constructed at the creek crossings. People like to do the walk then relax over a coffee or a meal before setting off on their return journey.

The Karumba township hugs the Norman River and is a major port for the export of live cattle and minerals. Historically, it has also been headquarters for prawning and commercial fishing industries.

Nature and Heritage Trails

While in Karumba, visit the Karumba Visitor Information Centre and Library to pick up a bird list and use their reference books to check any birdlife or mammals you’ve seen. One of the animals you are quite likely to see in the district is the agile wallaby (Macropus agilis). It has black-tipped ears, fore-feet and tail and white stripes at jaw and thigh.

One of the trees that always sparks interest is the kapok tree, known as the ‘wild cotton tree’. And why call a tree a ‘cabbage tree’? Find out at the library.

Take Karumba’s heritage walk. Along the way you will discover pioneers, commercial fishing, World War 2 squadrons and the Catalina among the history of the region. Signage tells some of the stories from the first inhabitants, explorers, environment, economy and community.

Sunderland Park and cenotaph were established in honour of the 43rd Squadron that was based here in the Second World War. Anzac Day is usually commemorated here. Signage gives information about the war, flooding and the Morning Glory cloud phenomenon.

Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre

Take a tour at the Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre to discover the secret life of barramundi.

The centre exists to ensure a fishing future for the Southern Gulf strain of barramundi. This is the only hatchery in the world that has succeeded in breeding this strain and last year was particularly successful, with a record spawning of more than 120,000 fingerlings. Of course, it takes a couple of years for them to grow to legal size, but it’s looking good for years to come where the fingerlings have been released in Lake Moondarra, Lake Belmore and the Albert River in Burketown as well as 70,000 for the local Norman River.

Barramundi Discovery Centre and Hatchery

Discover the amazing secrets of the mighty barramundi. It is the only hatchery to breed the Southern Gulf strain of Barramundi. General admission is free and includes access to the interpretive centre, art gallery, theatre, café, gift shop and accredited Visitor Information Centre, offering plenty of caravan parking.

Book a Feed-A-Barra tour to get up close and personal – hand feed metre plus barramundi in our 10 metre diameter feeding tank. Or join the Behind the Scenes Tour, a comprehensive tour of the hatchery, including the feeding experience, delivered by an expert guide with access to all areas including the “Love Shack”.

Outback by the Sea Festival

Join the week-long festival celebrating the legendary barramundi, live music, arts and crafts. The festival will kick off on September 13 to the 21st 2024 with a range of workshops and activities, such as birdwatching, stargazing, ghost net art workshops and painting sessions.

The Festival will also incorporate Australia’s newest short film festival the Outback and Ocean Film Festival on September 13, 2024.o

Sunsets and Croc Sightings

A sunset cruise with The Ferryman is guaranteed to be relaxing, entertaining and spectacular. The Ferryman has been giving people an introduction to Karumba’s water delights for more than two decades, catering for various sized groups and offering daily tours.

The Ferryman Sunset Cruise

Karumba Sand Island Sunset Cruises, operated by Croc and Crab Cruises Karumba, offer a unique sunset experience. Sunsets in this part of the country are famous for their beauty, so make sure you have your camera with you. The cruise begins with a port tour, and while not specifically a croc spotting tour, should any happen to be seen along the river, the cruise will certainly stop for you to have a look. Seven kilometres out into the Gulf of Carpentaria you will reach the Sand Island, Karumba’s best spot for viewing the sunsets. Here you will disembark, where you have the opportunity to dip your feet into the waters of the Gulf or enjoy a stroll along the beach before enjoying fresh cooked local gulf prawns, platters, fruit platters and drinks.

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Visitor Information

Karumba Visitor Information Centre and Barramundi Discovery Centre
Phone (within Australia) 07 4745 2211

Karumba Shire Events

June 27 to 2nd July — Outback by the Sea Festival


Neighbouring destinations to explore