Aussie Adventures Pt 5

Friday, Jun 01, 2018 at 17:35

Member - Muncey 72

We arrive back in Kununarra and fuel back up at the bargain price again of $1:39 and treat ourselves to some pies and sausage rolls. Checked up on the emails and updated the blog then we headed in the Northern Territory for the first time and turned off onto Duncan Road and checked into the Zebra Rock Mine/Campground. We stayed here 3 years ago and loved it, only $10 a night for adults and kids are free. We meet Ruth, Kim and their daughter Opal again and catch up. After setting up we join other travelers on the sunset tour. We head out the back of Lake Argyle on a troop carrier and then all hop on the boat. It’s a perfect late arvo as the wind drops and we are rewarded with an amazing sunset, photo after photo is taken and I am amazed at how many colour changers we see. We also see, Crocs, Sea Eagles, Brolgas and Harrison catches a cat fish. Drinks and nibbles are provided on the tour and its an awesome night which is topped off with fish and chips. The fish is catfish(silver cobbler) and prob the best I have ever tasted. The next day we do a tour of the mine that the place is famous for, Zebra Rock. To see this rock in its natural state still as one giant slab in the ground is baffling. Geologists have dated this rock approx. 1.3 Billion years old and believe at one point it was all liquid which is why you get all the different patterns. We choose a piece of rock each and then spend some time polishing it up. They also have a gallery here with some amazing jewelry and art work all made from the rock. The kids have a hold of Opal’s pet snake, a black headed python! I decline the offer. We spend the night sitting around the fire talking with the other travelers whilst the kids catch Cane Toads. We say our goodbyes and swap numbers and addresses with Ruth, one last hold of the snake and we head back out onto the open road. If you are travelling through this area I would encourage you to stop in at Zebra Rock, you get to see lake Argyle from a completely different perspective, see the only place in the world that zebra Rock is now mined, awesome hosts and for only $10 a night.
We decide to drive right through to Katherine today which is about 380Kms and arrive at about 3pm and check into the Shady Lane Caravan park. They only have powered sites here so for us its $68 a night. Just after setting up 3 F18 fighter jets roar over us in formation they do a huge loop then roar past again this time crossing under and over each other. They are doing exercise’s form the local air base at R.A.A.F Tindal. We have a swim in the on site pool and have an early night. After breakfast and packing up we head to the visitors centre and take advantage of the free WiFi. We also send some mail home and the boys buy some more books to read. Today is a short drive to Mataranka only 100Kms, its an easy drive with heaps of termite mounds on the side of the road many with bra’s, singlets or helmets on them. The ants just continue to build the mounds around the clothing. We check into the Territory Manor Caravan Park, get set up and head to Bitter Springs thermal pool which is only a couple of Kms up the road. The water temperature is a constant 34 degrees and has been left in a totally natural state, you hop in the crystal-clear water and float down stream for 100 metres hop out walk back and do it again. After Bitter springs we head back into town have a look around the museum which has a fair bit of information on Matarankas time during WW2. Next stop is the thermal springs at Mataranka, again 34 degrees but this time the large pool has been concreted around the edges.
After a cooked breakfast we are on the road again this time only for 130kms until we reach the famous stop Daly Waters. Daly Waters is famous for its pub, inside it is totally decorated floor to ceiling in traveler’s stuff. Bras, knickers, i:d cards, football shirts, badges, thongs etc. We decide to stay the night and book in the park conveniently behind the pub at $50 a night. After having a swim in the pool, we get showered and head to the pub for dinner, Barra and Beef is the order or the day. A couple also play and sing and are very entertaining. The rest of the night is spent drinking and singing along with the rest of the crowd.
Today after packing up we drove East along the single lane Carpentaria Hwy for approx. 300kms to a road side stop just outside cape Crawford called Little River. Lovely stop on a large Billabong, fish and birds everywhere. We enjoy a lovely stew over the camp fire whilst watching the sunset over the water as 3 Brolgas come to the Billabong for a drink. Perfect. Next day we drive to Cape Crawford fill up with fuel ($1:89) and head north up to Lorella Springs. Its 120kms to the station turn off and the road is in pretty good condition. We then make the last 29kms again a good gravel road to the homestead. We are greeted by Alanna(Host), Beep the Emu and 20 Chickens! After booking in the campground for 3 nights we check out a couple of short 4wd tracks and swimming holes, Wild fire gorge and Fossil Fern pool. Very nice pools to swim in but the water level is slowly dropping day by day. We also see the fern fossils in the large rocks. We decide to try and catch some fish the next day and drive the 2hr trek out to Rosies fishing camp and we are not disappointed. Just before climbing down to the water to fish Morgan said he was feeling terrified due to the number of Crocs we had been told were in the area. Once fishing though as soon as the lure hit the water it was smashed by Queenfish, we spent the next 3hrs catching and releasing 70-80cm fish. They put up such a good fight and the kids rods were bent double and really put to the test. We were very aware when bringing the fish to the bank about the large Salties up here but fortunately we did not see one. When leaving we were all talking about the fishing and how good it was and how it was a bit disappointing the we had not seen a Croc, well right on cue we spot a massive saltie which was easily 4metres long just sitting on the surface across the bank. Wow it was big. We kept 2 fish, filleted, cleaned and had them crumbed that night, lovely. No Barra but we all had a lot of fun. After yesterday’s big day we decide to check out a couple of closer treks and water holes. We drive 45mins out to the Muster caves and find some Indigenous Rock ark and check out the view from the top of the hill. We then drive to the Waterslide, a series of pools which are joined by a sloping rock face which makes a great slide especially as the water is still flowing from the top pool to the bottom one. We meet 3 lads travelling together 2 Scottish brothers and a guy from Melbourne, we all click and spend a few hrs at the water hole just chatting etc we then catch up at the homestead for happy hour and remark at how sunburnt the scots are. They remind us of 3 characters from the British TV show called The Inbetweeners. We have a good night laughing, joking and doing animal noises across the campground on dark! We really enjoyed Lorella Springs and would def stay longer next time, the staff and camp hosts were very very helpful and friendly. One camper was very at ease, for example, an old guy camped near us in a short T-shirt with bright red budgie smugglers doing car repairs which involved a lot of squatting and bending over!
We say goodbye to Lorella and one of the camp hosts gives us a large packet of frozen fish for our journey, bonus. After leaving we back track a bit a visit the lost City which is awesome to see. Large rock pillars in a semi-formal formation, worth the extra couple of Kms. There is also a camping area here which a few people had taken advantage of. We drive most of the day get to Borroloola get some supplies and then head out another 50kms to King Ash Bay. We decide to stay 2 nights mainly to have rest from driving and get the washing done. King Ash Bay is almost right on the Gulf and is basically a fishing club. Most people come here for months not weeks to fish and relax. Every day the boat ramp is full of cars and empty boat trailers as people head out the 30kms down river to the gulf to catch Barra. We have a fish at the Bing Bong boat ramp which is north of King Ash Bay and right on the Gulf. Bing Bong is actually a Bauxite Load out Facility for a local mining company. No Crocs and no Queen fish but we did catch a few small fish. Tea is at the Fishing Club House and its Packed, great atmosphere, happy hour drinks and cheap $15 meals, what more could you ask for. We say goodbye to King Ash Bay and head back into Borroloola post some mail and then head back on the gravel on to the Savannah Way. The road is in pretty good condition and we drive the 316Kms to Hells gate Roadhouse by 4pm. We did stop once for lunch and once for the photo with the Queensland Border sign. We also lost another 30mins after changing to Queensland time. We set up and are visited by numerus calf’s which were so friendly you could pat them. Whilst having a few beers, a heap of Cowboys/Girls came in after mustering cattle. They were a great bunch and the perfect introduction to Queensland. Later in the evening one of the Cowboys gets out his fire balls on string and proceeds to give everyone a fire twirling display. After that he does the same but with colored light balls. He asks if the kids want a go? Harrison jumps at it and actually surprises everyone at how good he is. He picks it up straight away and everyone is cheering and shouting. May need to invest in some of them balls.
After fueling up in the morning at $1:86 we head to Doomadgee and then take the gravel track through the cattle country down to Lawn Hill National Park. The road again is in excellent condition, with only a couple of river crossings and we arrive by lunch time. We book into the Adels Grove campground at $72 a night! We find a lovely spot right on the river bank and head straight in for a dip. The water is actually quite cool and very much needed after the dusty road in. There are noodles and rubber rings for you to use and the kids make full use of these and the pontoon in the river. We enjoy a camp fire and the snags from the butchers at Borroloola. Hmmm. Up early and we are at the Gorge which is a 10km drive by 8am. We hire 2 canoes and head on up the Gorge. The water is very warm, a lovely aqua green colour and the lush plant growth looks stunning against the red cliffs. We paddle up the first gorge and then hop out and drag the canoes up to the next gorge. After paddling a while we come to several small waterfalls and watch the archer fish jumping out of the water trying to eat our bananas we bought for morning tea. It was really nice cruising up and down the gorge and worth the money spent on hiring the canoes. After lunch we do a couple of the walk trails up to a couple of the lookouts. The views were amazing and well worth the climb. I think the walk up to the lookouts really complement the gorge and you get another perspective of how vast the gorge system is. Its so rugged and can only imagine how much water rushes through here in the wet. Lawnhill is a lovely Park and definitely worth the detour in.

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