Sunset at Karumba Point reveals hidden beauty of travel
I'm no stranger to beautiful sunsets.
I grew up with them.
So as I sit on the beach at Karumba Point, stacking stones toward the sky - as is tradition in this part of the world - and watch that shining ball of bright orange light dip below the horizon, a host of happy childhood memories come flooding back.
Memories of doing the exact same on Australia's west coast many years earlier, with slightly smaller stones and much less co-ordination; of stuffing my face with salty fish and chasing my black labrador through the soft sand.
That's the hidden beauty of travelling to new destinations. Sometimes they remind you of old ones, too.
A bark in the present-day brings me back to my senses - Karumba in early August is a destination you will have to share with other sunset-seeking adventurers, and occasionally their best friends.
But that only adds to the majesty of the moment.
When the sun finally sinks below the Gulf of Carpentaria and the eagles retreat back to their nests for the evening, so too the assembled crowd retreats back from the beach to the cosy confines of the aptly-named Sunset Tavern.
It is here I sample some of the best seafood to touch my taste buds in 25 years - barra better than any from my old home town, at least if memory serves correctly.
When the prawns hit the table and I start fumbling my way through the soft shell, another memory crosses my consciousness.
This time of my childhood neighbours who, for one month of every year for as long as I could remember, would trek north to the Gulf on their fantasy fishing adventure.
I always marvelled at how they could spend so long in one place; waking, fishing, eating and sleeping, then rinse-repeat and do it all again the next year.
In this moment, with shellfish splayed out in front of me and the dull roar of laughter drowning out the rhythmic to and fro of the waves below, I finally understand.
In Gulf country, it is easy to let time get away from you.
It's one of those not-so-hidden parts of the world that lets you hide away from the rest of it for a while.
Time is of little concern when you can steal away to your own private room mere metres from the beachfront.
For this one-time country boy turned city slicker, the chance to marvel at a sky full of stars is worth the five fewer minutes of
At Karumba, what sits high above the horizon is just as impressive as the sea the sun sank under hours earlier.
If I wasn't so enamoured with stacking stones down below, I could have instead enjoyed my barra and a beer in comfort from on-high.
Tomorrow, I tell myself.
So I set an alarm and settle in for the evening, keen to go again tomorrow.
Tomorrow comes and I'm up before the sun, eager to test my theory - the rise will always beat the set.
As I return to the same stack of stones I had piled high the night before and watch the now-yellow shining light peek out from the horizon, I get my answer.
Perhaps one day soon a similar beach, with pebbles piled high and dogs dashing by, will spark another memory. This memory.
That's the hidden beauty of travelling to new destinations. Sometimes they remind you of old ones too.