Katherine NT

Katherine is an unusual town. A bit overrun by tourists and you could tell that by the mood of the staff as we arrived at the G’Day Riverview caravan park. We were lined up way down the street and when we finally pulled in and I was about to walk into the reception to book in, a lady stormed out the door pushing me aside and told me only two people were allowed in at a time. I stumbled backwards but regained my balance. So, I stood a bit shocked while she called to the lady from the car behind us and said, you’re next, follow me. I again, step back to get out the way of this hostile staff member while she ushered the lady in telling her of rude people that kept trying to jump the queue (meaning me) and first up went in first. What! We were next! So with that, the door was shut in my face. Good start. Hubby is looking at me like… What’s going on. I shrugged thinking, my time will come.

So, the lady behind us leaves and I go in while watching the car with the van behind us squeeze past hubby in a foul mood cause we are in their way and haven’t moved yet. Seriously! The reception lady stares at me. That’s why people shouldn’t jump the queue. It causes all sorts of problems. I stare back. “Well, if you hadn’t rudely pushed me out the way and grabbed the lady behind me, I’d be gone by now and that wouldn’t have happened.”

Yes, she apologies but it didn’t prevent that feeling of… I don’l like it here in Katherine. Even the second visit I can’t wait to move along.Β  Not sure if it’s the people, but yes, so far it’s the people. So with a confused outlook and not feeling at all at ease here hubby took me to visit one of their local tourist sites, Katherine Gorge. “You’ll love Katherine once you see the gorge he tells me.”

So glad when we got to the gorge there was a muck up with caravan parks and we found we had booked in town by accident. It was Bat Central. The caravan park out here would have been like living in their toilet. Bat shit everywhere. Chuckle.

In the park, every tree was thick with Batman’s little friends. Could just imagine the noise at the caravan park once the day darkened and their wake up time sounded out. Flappy little night feeders would be pooping on every inch of cars, vans and campers.
But they stayed hanging upside down while we were there, not turning us off a cut lunch and cuppas.
Later, after a nice walk, we stopped at the cafe come gift shop to look at the nick nacks before heading home. The boat ride up the river would have been nice but we are still licking our wounds from forking out so much for tyres and car service in Darwin so instead, looking in wonderment is the best we could do. And as for the walk, I I did try to get up the sloped gravel track but my knee decided to play up so turned back. Maybe next time, after I get it looked at. Been a bit annoying for about 10 years now. Guess if I ever want to see pretty scenery I best get it looked at. Can you tell I don’t like going to the doctor. πŸ₯΄

Took some photos of the signage outside the cafe. Thought it was quite interesting. Inside, it was new and the viewing deck was quite pretty. We talked to a tourist who said she had gone on the sunset boat cruise and had a lovely time. They had dinner served on white linen tables which impressed her and did recommend it to anyone who enjoys a cruise with a bit of fine dining.
For those who love to walk and climb it would top off the day with the views above the gorge. For those who struggle, best enjoy it from the bottom level. It’s all uphill and has lots of steps.

The dust once back on the road was a nice change from the bat smell as we got held up by roadworks on the way home.
With the washing and shopping done, we went back to pack our supplies away, ready for moving day in the morning. As you have guessed, Katherine is not one of my most favourite spots so don’t mind moving on just after a couple of days. It’s very dry and gone are the huge mountain ranges and lush massive trees we raved about before Kakadu. It has been a massive change of scenery and the town itself is miss-matched and I can’t fib and say it is pretty, yet it’s not ugly, just a bit plain after seeing the top left-hand side of NT, which is stunning. Sorry to offend.

Mataranka NT

When we first set off on this trip the only place on my bucket list to see was the hot springs. Nothing else interested me as much as they did. Why? Well, I imagine in my mind walking into these pools of warm water, laying back in them like you would a spa without bubbles and just relaxing. So, I was kind of excited when we arrived at Mataranks. It had two caravan parks, both with hot springs within walking distance. And they took no bookings. First in, got the site.
We arrived at Bitter Springs caravan park around 11 am and were lucky enough to snag the last powered site. $48.00 a night. 2 nights was all our budget would stretch so set up next to the toilets. Pooey! They had a stench but only when the wind blew our way so that didn’t dampen my mood. By the time we had unhitched and set up it was lunchtime so had a bite to eat before heading down to the springs. I imagined an afternoon of pleasant soaking.
Only when we got there, the waterway was packed. Not only that, there were steps to the water and a ladder below that.
Buggar! Not what I was expecting. Thought I would be able to just walk in. You see, as mentioned above, I have a lot of trouble with my knees. After three decades of leaning into a deli case displaying and serving food it has taken it’s toll. So after yesterday at Kathering gorge, although I could walk without pain, it pained me to do even one step. Never mind trying to reef me up a ladder like a heavy sodden teabag. So, this place I longed to be, wished to soak in, was not meant to be for me to enjoy. I shrugged, who needed a swim anyway. I mean it was only 36Β° degrees.
Hubby knew I was feeling a bit deflated so never giving up trying to brighten my day, took me around to Rainbow Springs at the other caravan park. We pulled up and headed down the trail past the restaurant (yes, and they even had a whip-cracking cowboy as nightly entertainment.) Had we picked the wrong park? πŸ€”πŸ€­πŸ˜ƒ. Not really. This park was just as packed as ours and the facilities looked as old. The money they took, didn’t get used to do upgrades, obviously.
So, we get to the hot spring and you have no idea how many had squeezed in to soak. The holidaymakers and visitors to the park were packed in like sardines. They did have steps that went all the way in on the far end, but way too many for me to attempt. Again… Buggar!
Deflated fully, we left. Oh and sorry, no pictures because there wasn’t a square inch to get a happy snap in without getting dozens of noodle floating soakers in the shot.
That night and the next morning the knee rested and was lathered with so many pain relief creams that unfortunately didn’t work. But funny enough this dude walks past and starts chatting. Says my knee looked swollen and gives me an exercise. It’s called Chinese sway. Tells me to look it up on google.
My knee is slowly improving but will take time so it was no use us hanging about. Especially at these prices. We can come back another time once covid stuck explorers can go back overseas and the holiday destinations here settle back to a normal crazy.
Might I just say, if you have do come here to Bitter Springs, give it a couple of weeks and by then maybe the new toilet block should be ready? The current dunnies are dated, dirty, no sanitisers or cleaners (certainly not covid friendly) and the doors were held closed by jokey straps… Serious. I give this caravan park a two-star. Only because it’s close to the springs. Who would want to shower in those rusty, grotty stained tin sheds? I shudder. Of course, I used our ensuite. πŸ‘πŸ˜€πŸ₯°
Here are a few pictures of the town. Bakery at the servo was to die for. If you are just passing through and want fresh bread or a cake for morning tea this is the place to stop. Yum-scribidy-yum.⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Daly Waters

On our way to Three Ways, we had to check out a town many had told us was a must-see. OMG. Was this a… What the hell! 🀣🀣🀣
As we drove in there were old dilapidated cars, planes, and all sorts of junkyard paraphernalia that was strewn around in no particular order. A massive dust pit of caravans squeezed into every park available and others like us looking for somewhere to pull up. The caravan park next to the pub was bursting at the seams and we were not surprised. Many are hanging out here enjoying the meals and happy hour at the iconic Daily waters pub while waiting for the SA border to open.
We managed to snag a park and with dust swirling around us we headed for the pub. The big sign we had noticed on most wheel covers, stickers, and personal number plates was there as large as life. “CU in the NT.” And hanging above the bar were ex customers bras. Over shoulder boulder holders were whipped off with joyful glee, after one too many beers and left behind to mark the visit. Strange custom, yes, but no different to the thong tree at Woodgate where we used to live.
Did we eat there as the meals are meant to be fabulous… No way. I’d started to scratch and itch with mites and the images of cockroach heaven in the walls and cupboards had me turned tail and run. Although sitting in the garden sipping a coldie while a singer strummed away on his guitar was rather nice.
Look, I might hang it on some of these places as an ex-foodie, but seriously, it’s iconic and so worth pulling off the main road for a giggle. And what I am told is a nice meal. Although that is yet to be confirmed by a traveller sober enough to walk out still wearing a bra.
To get to the QLD border we had to cut corners to pay for petrol so will be free camping our way out of the NT. Wikkicamps led us to St Charles Todd Memorial 24hr rest stop. After a Larrie lie down we sat outside watching many others pull in and find a place to park for the night. It was close to the road but the noise stops around 8 pm. The few cars and trucks after that were not noticeable once the van was closed up for the night. The great thing about travelling this time of year, the days are sweltering but the nights are lovely and cool. Still sheet weather until early morning when a light blanket is sometimes needed, but comfortable. So no windows need to be left open. We slept like a log and woke up to a pretty pink sky.
Today we are not expecting anything super great as there isn’t much between here and our next stop. But who knows.
Talk soon!

Attack Creek – free camp

The journey out of the NT started as always. We were the last to leave. Never able to rush such a perfect start to the day. And on this journey, it is that every day, for us. Neither realizing what eye-opening wonders would catch our enthusiastic concentration until it happens. And today, wonders of what a beautiful complex country we live in was just down the road.
We had been chatting away when we noticed the dirt on the sides of the road was stained red. Against the olive grass and gradient tones in the paddocks, it sure had our senses alert. Looking around, we found those familiar flat-topped red rocky mountains. Not as high, but we felt as if we were back in the Pilbara in WA. That amazing range that had us mesmerised with the rustic palate against tuffs of olive grass and vibrant bush must run through to the NT and maybe trickle into QLD. We might be different states but the land screams, we are one. It wasn’t long before we noticed the red becoming powdery and tanned, but we had glimpsed a wonder and the eye-opening reality had our minds wander back to one of my most favourite landscape trips out of them all, the Pilbara.
Tonight, we stopped at Attack Creek 24hr Camping Area. Our neighbours pulled their chairs over and we chatted until nightfall. Funny how we are drawn to similar people. This couple loved to dance rock-and-roll as we do and have many of the same values. They are heading the same way as us, so you never know, we may meet again. A great finish to the day.

Three Ways petrol station

Three Ways was packed with holidaymakers and trucks when we pulled up. We sat for 20 minutes waiting for the van in front of us to move. Finally, it just took off. The driver must have been sitting in the van all that time doing??? Who knows what or why someone would hold up the queue for that long. We scratched our heads shrugged and moved up to the browser.
After putting in petrol, our new friends found us and asked Shaun to help get their border passes. They were having trouble doing so. (This has to be done three days before entering Queensland.) He worked out the app was not compatible with their phone web browser so a quick update and they were good to go. With that fixed, we headed off towards Barkley Homestead, and our friends carried on to Tennant Creek to get some supplies from the only supermarket for miles. We planned to meet up with them later at another free campsite chosen.
Arriving at 41 Mile Bore 24hrs rest stop we found some birds who gave us the hint in a noisy fashion they were thirsty. In a tree we parked beside, a dozen finches chirped showing us their water bowl was dry. After we filled it they happily jumped around it constantly drinking and quenching their thirst. Shaun got some pictures which I’m sure he will put up a bit later if we ever get any signal out this way. I already have three blogs to put up and will be playing catch up when we get to somewhere with a Telstra tower.
At wine o’clock, our new friends and another couple brought chairs over and sat with us until the sun went down. We asked how the shopping expedition went as their stocks were depleted. We were surprised to find a few Aboriginals from that area had burnt down the last supermarket. So, Tennant Creek now have a much smaller one. Apparently, a couple of female elders now stay and guard it each night to prevent the same thing happening to it.
Needless to say, they were pleased they now have enough supplies to last them until they reach a Queensland Coles or Woolies.
It is all fun and games out here until you need supplies or worse a chemist. They are hard to find. Katherine is the closest town and that was miles back. That’s why we make sure we stock up and have a couple of weeks of food and water on board before coming out to remote areas, just in case. Nothing worse than running out before you can get back to civilisation. We only got caught once and that was going across to WA. We’ve been mindful since. Water and food is a precious commodity around these parts. For those who do get caught, servos are your life savers. Although, you will pay dearly in their shops for supplies. So plan plan plan.Β 
Back on road, I found the drive interesting. This time with the ant hills. So many travellers are stopping to dress these tall, odd-shaped mounds in a T-shirt. But some are now getting far too inventive showing they have way too much time on their hands. Today I saw one dressed in a pair of knickers, cut at the crutch to fit them on. A pink bra and a sun hat. Mmmm. Bored out of their skulls with the miles of bush. Looks that way. Chuckle.
I must say it was nice to wake up to the birds outside my bedroom window. Filled their bowl with water again before we left.

Barkley Homestead

Is the last stop for fuel before the QLD border. And, although we could have made it there today … What’s the rush. We started the day watching the birds in the tree beside us while having breakfast. Our camping neighbour popped over for a chat and it was after a couple of hours natter, did we decide to get ready and leave. Some campers are too enjoyable to rush away from. πŸ˜ƒπŸ₯°
Although not far to go, we didn’t reach Barkley Homestead until around lunchtime. I was out of bread so went inside the petrol station to get some while hubby fuelled up. What! They don’t sell bread or any grocery item. Sneaky! Only clothes and touristy paraphernalia.
Every other servo since we started travelling outback, sold bread, guess we were staying for lunch.
After, we took advantage of the internet and checked in with family and friends. Needless to say, it was after 3 pm when we finally joined our newby travelling buddies and pulled into Wanarah Bore 24 hrs rest stop for the night. (Not far from the Barkley Homestead.) A cuppa and another chat finished up around 6 pm. We had dinner while watching a movie. Hard day! Chuckle. Maybe tomorrow we will hit the border.Β 

Camooweal QLD

We only explored the top half of the NT, didn’t want to go down any further. The nights were getting colder and even had to pull out a blanket. Well, that can’t happen… Chuckle. So, next visit, when the nights get warmer, we will possibly come up through SA and see more then. For now, we head for the border. From the harsh climate or just from age, our glasses are scratched and so it’s Townsville we head towards. Get them babies replaced or I’ll be taking pictures of the ground and chopping off landscapes. My lenses are creamy they are so scratched or something. Weird. My sun glasses are still good though so she’ll be right until then.
Today we reached the Queensland border. Arrived at Camooweal and looked at the caravan parks here to do some washing. They were dust pits and outdated for the $48.00 per night they were trying to charge. Instead of indulging in electricity, we filled the tanks with water and while hubby did that, I took a long shower and washed my hair. Filling them took a little longer and we had a line up waiting for us to finish with the water, but I can tell you ladies, I was a happy girl. πŸ‘πŸ₯°. After, we snagged a nice spot beside the river at Camooweal Billabong (free camp) a couple of kilometres off the main road. Many pulled up under the dry bridge, but trust me, keep going along the dirt road and it opens up to a perfect stopover where you can park right next to the river. I did four loads of washing and Shaun finally got to have his shower. Plenty left to last us until we fill up again in a day or two. Depending on how long we stay. We are still travelling with our new friends so that’s a question mark. Don’t need to be in Mt Isa for our second jab until Thursday so in no hurry.
Enjoying a walk around our new area I took a couple of pictures of the life around the river. The relaxed surroundings are appreciated after such a big trip. Time to cool our heels and rest for a bit. But what a pretty place to do it in. None of us wanted to leave the view and we all stayed by the lake chatting until dusk.

Where to next?

Hello Queensland. The state of golden sunshine, white soft sands, tropical water wonders and pineapples🍍. We can’t wait to see more of what we have missed and hubby will have two helpings of pineapple on his next burger and pizza. πŸπŸπŸ”πŸ•