Kimberley Trip Week 5

Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 14:45

Member - Hayjude (NSW)

Week 5:

Day 30: Sunday 20 July 2008

Up early and it was a beautiful sunrise through the palm trees and clouds out the front of the servo. First bit of cloud we have seen since leaving . Shower and free coffee and fuelled up. $2.10L and got ice $4 per bag. Headed off up the Buchanan Highway and every now and again it smells like rain (no clouds by now). 10 kms out of Top Springs Hayd nearly wet his pants (he found the racing channel on the radio but the only problem was he didn’t have a form guide!!).

Lovely scenery, creek crossings, and drove past the Victoria River Downs. Very big concern. Helicopters, planes and every machine you could want. Very spread out. Managed to get my photo of a couple of wedge tail eagles on the road and then in a tree. Had to walk up fairly close so I could get a decent shot.

Jasper Gorge would have to be the prettiest scenery I’ve seen since we left home. Lovely sandy camping ground near the creek, palms and high cliffs. 10kms from the T junction there were 2 dogs sitting under a tree on the side of the road as if they were waiting for a ride home. Don’t know whether they had been dumped or fallen off the back of a ute.

Checked out Old Victoria River Crossing. It’s worth a look.Victoria River Roadhouse has some nice shady campsites. They were very busy as we had to wait 20 minutes for a microwaved pie. Should have ordered a steak sandwich they didn’t take as long.

Stopped at Katherine to stock up on refreshments. Booked into Territory Manor Caravan Park at Mataranka. Lovely shady, grassy camp. The amenities are good. Restaurant, new owners only been there a month. Peacocks roaming around the camp. Pool and BBQ.

Went to Bitter Springs for about an hour and lazed in the 34° water. Lovely shady and palm trees everywhere. Back to the Caravan Park for a shower and did a load of washing. Hayd cooked tea on the BBQ while I did the blog. Dirty big cane toad outside the ladies toilet when I went before going to bed. Scared the s**t out of me.

Day 31: Monday 21 July 2008

When we packed up there was (I’m sure) the same big fat cane toad in the cover of the camper. On our way by 8:15am. Called in and had a look at the ‘Never Never Graves’. Pulled up at the T intersection and to phone our order for camel meat in Alice Springs and guess what?? Drivers side rear tyre flat as a tack. Changed it. On our way again and grabbed lunch at Elliott and fuelled up. Drove straight through Tennant Creek. Pulled up at Wauchope Hotel and stayed the night at the Caravan ark behind the pub. $18 for powered site for the night. ATCO hut showers and toilets (lovely and clean). Hard groung though. Hayd bent 5 tent pegs. Had a shower and went for a drink. Lovely beer garden and nice meal. (reasonably priced too. Owner used to own Daly Waters Pub. Bit of a character, so was the cook. Bought a book for $20. 101 Adventures that Got Me Absolutely Nowhere” by Phil O’Brien.

Day 32: Tuesday 22 July 2008
Headed off by 8:10am and it was an easy drive to Alice Springs. Fuel at Hall’s Creek was 8c per litre dearer than when we were through her 4 weeks ago so only got $100 worth. Read the book we bought last night on the way. Very funny. Cops at T Tree with radar, pulled up behind tree across from the roadhouse. Booked into Stuart Caravan Park in Alice Springs. $22 per night and $10 deposit for the key to get in the boom gates. Did some shopping and walked through Todd Mall. Bigger than you think it is. Had 1 beer at Bojangles. Couldn’t have a session there unless your bankcard was empty. Can’t believe how cold it is. We had to repack the car to find warm clothes. Pick our tyre up in the morning. Dark clouds threaten rain but I think it is too bloody cold and the map on the Elders weather site said no rain. Did some shopping at Woolies. Cooked tea on the camp BBQ. $1 for 25 minutes. Wouldn’t have lasted 20. In bed by 8pm as it was too cold to stay up.

Day 33: Wednesday 23 July 2008

Did a load of washing 4 x $1 coins. Had a look through the Transport Hall of Fame. Extremely interesting and brought back lots of memories of trips with my dad in the truck . $12 each for entry. We spent a good 2 hours there and could have spent all day.

Had a look at Standley’s Chasm. Privately owned and $8 each entry. Well worth the 15 minute walk. Went to pick up the tyre and it had a split in the wall. Another new tyre and steam coming out of Hayd’s ears. If tyres are our only problem over 6 weeks I’m happy. Could have been a lot worse.

Beer was cheaper at Liquorland at Coles but ID is required. Friendly staff (NOT). Back to the Caravan Park and rearranged the packing of the car. Put the toolbox in the camper trailer over the chassis. Freezing again. Spent the evening having a drink and yarn with Dennis and Karen from Coober Pedy. They had come up to get their jeep serviced. Lovely couple. Bed by 9:30pm.

Day 34: Thursday 24 July 2008

Packed up and called into BBQ Galore. Bit pricey. Mongrel of a town to get a park. Fuelled up and headed to Chambers’ Pillar via Maryvale Station. They had no power. Station manager said that the kids in the community probably had set fire to the power station. Cars are parked next to the dongers but are locked up in a compound. Road to Chambers’ Pillars is rough, corrugated and rocky. We shared our campfire with 4 people from Melbourne. Hayd walked up the main rock and was in awe of the size and quietness of it all. I took the photos at sunset and sunrise.

Day 35: Friday 25 July 2008

Photos at sunrise are better than the ones at sunset. Headed off and say our first camel about 10km from camp. Took the back road through the community which is the Finke road. Rocky, sandy and corrugated. Anyone wanting to travel this route phone Mt Dare or Maryvale Station for updated conditions. By all means travel it but adjust tyres to suit and engage high 4WD. (especially with a trailer) but take your time as it is a great track. Got to Finke (another interesting community – no one around) Went to Lambert’s Centre of Australia. Wrote in the visitors book and had a beer in the centre of Australia.

Back on the road to Mt Dare. Bit wild in places but once again drive to the conditions. Arrived at Mt Dare at 4pm. Set up camp and had a shower (warm) and had tea at the pub. June Files from Broken Hill and a heap of other pushbike riders were camped there as they were riding from Broken Hill to Darwin. Averaging about 60-70km per day. Red tailed black Cockatoos were everywhere. Very hospitable people and a great camping area.

Day 36: Saturday 26 July 2008

Fuelled up and headed for Dalhousie Springs. The road is very rough and rocky so take care on this road.Dalhousie Springs are lovely. Hayd had a swim with the little fish nibbling him. Had a look through the ruins which are very interesting. Makes you wonder how they survived out there. Road to Oodnadatta is rough, corrugated and rocky. Lovely scenery though. Went across Fogarty’s Claypan. It is huge but very powdery in the middle. Passed 2 motorbikes with back up vehicles just before the claypan. Apparently you can lad a jumbo jet on the claypan in an emergency. Hit the T intersection and it was like a highway. Fuelled up at Pink Roadhouse and bought ice ($6-50 a bag). Turned off towards the Painted Desert. Road was OK to the turn off but rough going in. Lovely scenery. Pulled up at Arckaringa Station and made camp. Met Daniel who is managing the place. We were the only campers there. $20 per night. Daniel was heading into Coober Pedy for a night out. Cloudy skies but he rekons it won’t rain.

Fergus the 6mth old stumpy red heeler and a little brown and tan kelpie pup kept us entertained all night. Cooked a camp oven and stoked the music up and had a few beers. (lots).

Alcohol may be man's worst enemy but the bible says love your enemy
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