Alice Springs at sunset - MacDonnell ranges
Day 8 Monday 20 July 2009
We are still in Alice Springs today as the long awaited lock for the van hasn't arrived and we now have been told that Express Post means nothing in Alice Springs. If the plane has too much mail on board then they just offload it and it comes on the next flight!! So we wait again. The plane arrives in the afternoon and the PO sorts it and delivers it the next day to the private boxes. The caravan park private box deliveries are then sorted at the park and we will have to check after 11 am. We will have to get used to NT time. Ron went out to the Transport Hall of Fame to have another look as we went there last trip and it was really interesting but I didn't think I'd go again so I stayed back and did some reading. Its quite a bit warmer today and its hard to believe that only a week ago we were setting off in the cold and rain. The extended stay in Alice Springs has given us an opportunity to get the van organised a bit more as now we are actually living in the van we have found that some things are not being used as much as we thought and others are in places that are difficult to get to. I think we are now remembering where most things are and it is becoming necessary to make sure we put things away as soon as we use them. The amount of time spent looking for things is frustrating so we are getting used to being more organised. I thought I was organised but realise that I am not when it comes to the caravan.
Tropic of Capricorn
Day 9 Tuesday 21.7.09
we have the new lock for the van, it arrived at the Caravan Park this morning and Ron has fitted it so we are on the road again. We fuelled up LPG 72 cpl at Alice Springs - not a bad price with 8 cent discount. It is windy and hot today so our fuel economy will not be very good. Stopped at the Tropic of Capricorn for some photos. There are some changes in the scenery now with small anthills scattered through the low bushland. Drove into Aileron in the Ammatjere lands, just a shop, and fuel pump and some interesting metal sculptures 0f an aboriginal man and a woman with a child. These are huge and can be seen from quite a distance . We stopped for the night at the John McDouall Stuart roadside stop. This is a good rest area and about 6 vans stayed for the night.
Day 10 Wednesday 22 July 2009
Today the weather is warm and overcast but it will be good for driving. We drove to Barrrow Creek - a bit unnerving as I couldn't help but think of the terrible events of the area - but we stopped for fuel (no gas here) and ULP 1.73 cpl. There is still no change in scenery and no animals to see. We passed a lot of trucks going south to Alice Springs with the Moscow Circus. We stopped again for fuel at Wycliffe Well - still no gas again- ULP 1.69 cpl. At Wauchope we didn't refuel as we still couldn't get LPG and we had enought ULP to last. Arrived at Devils Marbles around 12 noon and decided to stay the night here in the campground $3.30 pp so it is good but no power or water but we are self sufficient. The Devils Marbles are truly magnificent and we had a wander around, they cover quite a large area and it was easy to walk up and around them, but was very hot so we went up later in the afternoon just before sunset. Loads of people camped here and some haven't been able to get a park for the night. What a wonderful sight to wake up to from our bedroom window!
Day 11 Thursday 23 July 2009
We left Devils Marbles and travelled to Tennant Creek. We stopped here for a few supplies and some ice cream - its really hot here and I really needed ice cream, so now I'm happy. Tennant Creek is another neat town with green parks and a few tourist places to visit. We went to Battery Hill LookOut and then onto the Bill Allen Lookout which provided a really good view of the old mining sites. We were going to go to the Devils Pebbles as we thought they would be worth looking at but we only got a few hundred metres down the dirt road before deciding to turn back as there were so many corrugations and we didn't think it worth any more hassles. There were lots of tracks where others had the same idea. We drove on to Mary Ann Dam which was like an oasis. What a lovely picnic area with lots of trees and park benches so we had lunch and enjoyed the view and Ron walked across the dam wall. We drove on to Banka Banka Station where we stayed the night. They have a huge grassy area with water supplied to all sites and they provide a very interesting slideshow of the stations owned by the Kidman family of which Banka Banka is one.
Day 12 Friday 24th July 2009
Happy Birthday Jettie!
We left Banka Banka and stopped at Renner Springs for LPG $1.03 cpl. These little places are all well kept and grassy areas which are really a surprise in such dry, scrubby landscape. We got to Daly Waters in time for lunch and couldn't refuse their Barra Burgers - a specialty of the Pub. Its quite a place with all kinds of decoration - nickers, bras, hats, nametags all over the walls and ceiling! I got a few photos here as it was such an interesting place. We stopped at South Warloch rest area for the night. It was really quite crowded when we arrived and then more vans, motorhomes etc came and by nightfall there wasn't room for anyone else but we heard some driving through during the night but only one managed to find a spot to stop. We can't believe how busy everywhere is.
The famous Daly Waters Pub
Day 13 Saturday 25th July 2009
We left the South Warloch rest area after a restless night as we heard vans driving through the night and discovered this morning that the other noises were flying foxes in the trees above us. We arrived at Mataranka Thermal Pools and walked around but a busload of tourists arrived so we decided to go on to Bitter Springs thermal pools for a swim. The pool was lovely and warm and clear as crystal so we stayed quite a while enjoying the break. Drove on to Katherine and have booked into the Riverview caravan park for 2 nights. We can now charge up all our batteries and I will do some washing. Ron is going to fix the pressure pump which he thinks has an airlock.
Bitter Springs thermal pool
Day 14 Sunday 26th July 2009
I have done the washing and Ron has fixed the pressure pump so now our showers will be much better when bush camping. We drove down to Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk NP) and did a 2 hour cruise of 2 gorges. It was a lovely cruise with spectacular views of the river and huge cliffs either side and we saw a couple of freshwater crocodiles - our first this trip!! I am sure we will see many more but it was exciting to see them. We then drove to the Lower Level Bridge and had a quick look at the pretty recreation area there with the local kids jumping off the bridge into the river. Back at the caravan park now and will catch up with my emails and Skype the kids back home. Having a cold beer as we are really feeling the heat here.