A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: buttermenthol


7 July, Sunday to 8 July, Monday

sunny 25 °C
View SWIFTY GOES TO BROOME AND BACK on buttermenthol's travel map.

A big hot and dusty drive to Katherine today. We were really pleased that our campsite was right opposite the pool. And it was a real bonus that within the pool fence the grass was lush and green. A real treat after soooo much red dust. And……the pool bar opened shortly after we finished setting up Swifty so we headed in with our swimmers and jumped into the pool to cool off. So hot here. And so dry. Evidence of recent bushfires along the way as well. We tucked into some ciders and chardys and sat around the table with our nibblies. Life is wonderful for us at the moment. Just roaming the country side indulging all senses. YAY us.

Cherelle cooked an amazing chicken pasta dish for us tonight. Apparently called Daron’s comfort food. Very nice Daron. In the morning we headed off for a seriously steep walk to the top of the gorge. We took back packs filled with snacks and water. We didn’t even make it to the top before we all sat on a rocky ledge for a chip eating frenzy. Once again we are gorging in a gorgeous gorge. Ha ha
After our walk we headed back to the lush green grass of our pool surrounds. We decided that walking was off the list today due to the heat and booked ourselves on a 2 gorge cruise in the afternoon instead. This meant we had time to rest by the pool for lunch. Just lovely.
And later the cruise in the afternoon was spectacular. We had front row seats which was perfect. The boat took us deep into the gorge then moored at the end and we got off and walked along the rocky path to hop on an identical boat waiting for us at the start of the second gorge. I loved the fact that we were on a cruise for this gorge due to its enormity. Kayaks or canoes would have been way too difficult to manage due to the long distance needed to see Katherine Gorge. It really is spectacular.

We only camped 2 nights at Katherine Gorge. It did feel as though this was enough time to experience this gorge.
Onward we go…………………

Posted by buttermenthol 06:24 Archived in Australia Comments (0)


6 July, Saturday

sunny 25 °C
View SWIFTY GOES TO BROOME AND BACK on buttermenthol's travel map.

Mataranka is well known for its hot springs. What an amazing place. I know I keep saying that throughout my ramblings but this place was so unique. I have been to hot springs in New Zealand and here and there in Australia but never to anything like Mataranka. And we picked the best campsite ever as it was right at Bitter Springs. A short walk from Swifty and we were swimming in a hot deep river spring. We were told that bringing snorkel gear would be a good idea. We hunted down our snorkel gear and carried it with us even though we all thought it was a silly thing to do. My goodness what a sight we saw when we arrived……..a narrow deep clear river with an assortment of people floating downstream with the current to a bridge. Once at the bridge you hopped out and strolled back to plunge in and do it all again. We put on our masks and snorkels and in we got. It was AMAZING!!!!!!! The water was as clear as bath water with a sandy bottom. Under the water you could see all the fallen logs and rocks and bright green plants. It looked like the ocean actually only with absolutely no fish. I don’t think anything could survive the hot 32 degree temperatures. It was too deep to stand in so the snorkel gear was perfect as you could just float on top of the water and let the current take you down slowly whilst looking at everything under the water along the way. We were the only ones with snorkel gear so we made a few people happy by lending out our gear after we had drifted the current 2 or 3 times. Had fun with Ellen’s underwater camera here. The shot I took of Ellen underwater looks like an ocean shot. When the sun shone down on certain patches through the trees the water was a beautiful turquoise colour.

When we got back to our campsite we relaxed for a bit doing a bit of crocheting, blogging and cooking. And then later as we still had left over firewood from Devil’s Marbles we were able to light a fire and cook damper again. Our damper here was our best one yet. We received a bit of interest from some of our fellow campers, some of whom had never seen or tasted damper before. We happily shared with our neighbours. Actually we had a laugh with the French people as Sherrie said and you thought your croissants were good. Ha ha. They were just about screaming with excitement when we offered a second plate of buttery, golden syrup chunks of hot damper again.

In the morning we jumped in the KIA and went to Mataranka Springs. A big wow from us all around. Very different from the very natural Bitter Springs as it was completely concreted with steps, rails and landscaping. We got in at 8.00 AM and floated on our backs looking up at the canopy of palm trees. We even had small wallabies hopping around to set the scene. Gorgeous.

Posted by buttermenthol 03:34 Archived in Australia Comments (0)


5 July, Friday

sunny 25 °C

We stopped over in Daly Waters on our way to Mataranka. The camp ground wasn’t much but it had the best pub there. And completely packed as though everyone came to Daly Waters just for this pub. There was live entertainment from 4.30pm. Nothing great but a constant stream of different county and western old boy musicians who told bad jokes in between good old songs. The pub was full of quirky little areas. A stream of undies and bra’s lined the top of the bar whilst 100’s of thongs were stapled up and down timber posts. The walls were lined with hundreds of badges and old drivers’ licenses. Behind the bar the walls were lined with currency from all over the world. When dinner was served we could tell why everyone was in that pub. The food was amazing.

Posted by buttermenthol 03:31 Archived in Australia Comments (0)


4 July, Thursday

sunny 25 °C
View SWIFTY GOES TO BROOME AND BACK on buttermenthol's travel map.

Wow our first free camp with the grey nomads. We feel much safer at paid sites in town and only did this as Tennant Creek looked way too scary to stop at so we took our chances and drove an extra 100 ks to a free camp site mentioned in our big Camp 7 book. This campsite was right at the Marbles. We didn’t know what to expect as none of us had ever been to Devil’s Marbles before. We got there right on sunset so thank goodness we could just squeeze our van into one of the last spaces. So many grey nomads out here. They have been doing this for decades and have kept it all very quiet. The secret is out now and we would be really happy to free camp amongst them again. Swifty has gas for the fridge and stove and we have a few great battery operated lanterns so being on an unpowered site in a national park or free camping has proved to be no hardship.
Well what can I say about the Devil’s Marbles that will do it justice? Arriving right at sunset was not intentional but it was certainly magical. The sunset was magnificent and apart from us campers confined to a small square the whole area is just red earth and red round rocks scattered as far as the eye can see. They were all shapes and sizes either laying perfectly round on their own or perched up on top of one another. We raced around like excited children posing on big rocks and doing our usual silly photo shoot. In the evening I cooked the girls steak with mushroom and garlic sauce whilst Sherrie did her pasta coleslaw surprise. Gourmet food and once again with a bottle of wine. We know how to look after ourselves. In the morning we got up at 6 just in time for sunrise. We climbed up through a cluster of big marbles and reached a high spot to enjoy the sun coming up. The sun rising lit up all the different earthy tones in the rocks. Lots of ooohs and ahhhs and lots of laughs with our silly interview style camera video’s and silly photo shoots again. Between the four of us OMG sooooo many photo’s. There was a dingo resting by our campsite too so that was pretty special. Anyway you just can’t take a bad photo here so we have 1000’s of them. Really hard job going through them all to select only a few for our blog. I’d post them all if I could.

Sadly we only had one night at Devil’s Marbles due to time restraints. We loved it here and after cooking the girls French toast we high tailed it out of there and headed up to Mataranka. Our last big distance drive. All the rest of the drives going forward are short and manageable. We have done some serious miles over the last 10 weeks. We have clocked well over the 10,000 k mark. The KIA is going so well. Swifty has had her problems due to poor workmanship on Jayco’s part but overall she is doing ok but we will pop her into Jayco at Darwin for her 4th visit for warranty repairs since leaving in April. I count my blessings though as I listen to other peoples stories of flat tyres, cracked windscreens etc etc. We have a smallish stone chip in our windscreen and have had no flat tyres at all despite the great distances and rough roads. We love KIA and Swifty and thank them often.

Posted by buttermenthol 20:02 Archived in Australia Comments (0)


3 July, Wednesday

sunny 26 °C
View SWIFTY GOES TO BROOME AND BACK on buttermenthol's travel map.

A big 700 kilometre drive to get here from Lawn Hill today. All of us taking turns at the wheel. We only stayed here at Camooweal due to fatigue and a setting sun. Driving after dark is a no go for us due to the roos being more active at dusk.

The van park (which was completely gravel again) also housed the only pub. We weren’t looking forward to this stop but my goodness what a fantastic night we had. There was a sign on the gate as you drive in that said pay at the pub for your campsite. We toddled up to pay after setup and seriously didn’t want to go back to our van. It was a Wednesday night in the middle of nowhere and there was a well known country and western singer guitarist rocking up a storm. I grabbed a beer and Sherrie grabbed a barcardi and we paid for our drinks and campsite and just kicked back. After 2 drinks and no dinner we started to feel pretty darn happy. After 7 beers / Bacardi’s and still no dinner we were a lost cause. We started grabbing odd locals up for some crazy dancing. Sherrie and I modified the dougie to include a dosie doe or two to adapt the moves from R&B to country music. People that would never normally dance filled the tiny space available to dance. After his gig “Lance Friend” came over to our table and sang with his ukulele. We asked him what the hell was he doing in this tiny pub in the middle of nowhere and he said he was on his way to the annual Gympie Muster. The Gympie Muster is apparently bigger than the Tamworth music festival. We felt very lucky to have stumbled into Camooweal on this night. We bought one of Lance’s cd’s for the drive into the Northern Territory. I said to him that there had better not be any shit songs on this as I always find that happens when I buy cd’s at gigs. But he assured me they were all good and wrote his mobile number on the cd cover so I could ring him and tell him which ones we liked and which (if any) were the shit ones. It was lovely to socialise with the locals and find out about their lives here as well as on local cattle stations. Camooweal has a population of 310. Very small towns out this way. We are very very close to the Northern Territory border now. Very exciting. Well we reluctantly ended our night on the pub verandah after being locked out because the pub was closing. The barman ended up joining us after lockup for last drinks on the verandah with the locals and the singer too. We did get an invite to kick on afterwards at another campsite but decided to call it a night. Fell into bed with our clothes on instead of jarmies, no dinner and no showers. Ahhh who would have thought we’d end up as such heathens. We caught up with showers and a change of clothes the next morning whilst Cherelle cooked up bacon and eggs with a round of teas and coffees. Time to hit the road and head into the long awaited Northern Territory.

Posted by buttermenthol 00:18 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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