Reached from Normanton along a 70km sealed stretch of cracked, burning saltpan, patrolled by saurus cranes and jabiru storks, KARUMBA sits near the mouth of the Norman River. The town mostly survives on prawn trawling and fishing, though a major landmark is the huge sheds storing slurry from the zinc mine near Lawn Hill Gorge; the slurry is fed through pipes to Karumba, then dried and shipped overseas for refining. Declining stocks of barramundi in the Gulf have inspired the opening of the Barramundi Discovery Centre (Yappar St), which raises fish for release into the wild. During a one-hour tour, you have the chance to hand-feed the fish and learn about their regeneration.
Central Karumba is along Yappar Street on the Norman River’s south bank, with a supermarket, café, post office, and a smattering of places to stay. Karumba Point, 10km downstream, overlooks mudflats and mangroves along the river mouth where it meets the Gulf’s open seas. It’s the nicer of the two areas and has more places to stay.