Gulf of Carpentaria | Where the outback meets the sea


The Gulf of Carpentaria is brimming with amazing birdwatching, fishing, wildlife and Outback events.


There is plenty to see and do in the spectacular Gulf of Carpentaria in North Queensland. It is the kind of place that makes you want to linger longer and embrace the best of Mother Nature.

The Gulf represents a majestic union of two distinctly Australian worlds: the rusty red dirt, rocky outcrops and fine Savannah soil of the Outback, and the mesmerisingly beautiful wetlands, mangroves, saltpans and open ocean. In these parts, nature reigns supreme, so wherever you go, you can take a front row seat to absorb the vistas and wildlife action.   

Opening image: Couple enjoying a crab dinner at sunset. Tourism and Events Queensland. 


Aerial of Normanton River. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Natural wonders

The area is particularly significant for the extent and continuity of its wetlands and its importance as a rich breeding habitat for many waterbird and shorebird species.

Carpentaria Shire is the traditional country of many Indigenous groups and encompasses areas of high cultural significance to Traditional Owners. The townships of Normanton and Karumba are the traditional land of the Gkuthaarn, Kukatj and Kurtijar people.

The spectacular natural environment of the Southern Gulf Region ranges from eucalyptus woodlands and inland areas, through to lowland coastal plains, pristine wild rivers and seasonal wetlands and the rich, marine resources of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Extensive mangrove forests, vast salt pans, estuaries, beaches, rocky shores, large seagrass beds, reefs and other marine areas offer stunning views across the ancient landscape.

After this year’s long wet season, the rivers and wetlands are full, with an abundance of birdlife for avid birdwatchers. The increased rainfall also promises an excellent fishing season for those who love to throw in a line. While some local roads have recently been closed, the council crews have been ensuring that roads are safe for all travellers in and around the region.


Heritage listed railway station for the Gulflander line. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Must-do events

There are some fantastic events planned for 2023, with the Karumba 150 years celebration between 25 June and 1 July, the Outback Queensland Masters in Karumba on 15-16 July and the Outback by the Sea Festival will be held from 25-29 September in Normanton and Karumba, with a week packed full of a variety of events for all.

While in the region, a must-do is a visit to the Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre, which is the only hatchery in the world to breed the gulf strain of this iconic Aussie fish.  The highly immersive state-of -the-art interpretive centre enthrals visitors with the history, stories, life cycle and habits of these much sought-after fish. You can watch amazing short films about the morning glory cloud phenomenon, operation fish lift and the value of barramundi to the Karumba community. Hear firsthand stories from the commercial fishermen who catch barra, and also learn about the wetlands, mangroves and the array of wonderful birdlife that calls this stunning region home.


Aerial of the Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland.

For more to do in the ‘saltwater outback,’ check out this article on the Carpentaria Triangle. 


How to get there

Rex flies to Normanton on the Gulf line. Book your flights here.

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