We were up early to catch the ferry out to Bathurst Island. A pleasant trip out to he island and a real eye opener when we arrived. Its and alcohol free area, so none of the usual signs of alcohol abuse, but the main township is full of neglected buildings and rubbish. The locals were extremely friendly and welcoming ( one family invited us to view their dinner that they had caught earlier and which they would cook until 5 o’clock before consuming it tonight -carpet snake)
It was very hot on the island, even the locals commented on how unseasonal it was. There is a distinct lack of local amenities forr tourists unless you take one of the bus trips (which we thought was expensive at $295 each). We still visited Tiwi By Design and bought a couple of little sculptures. We retreated to the beach under a large tree until it was time to catch the ferry back home. The trip back was a bit rougher because the wind had come up but we still got back home around 6.30 pm
We went out to Berry Springs this morning but unfortunately there was a crocodile sighted in the pools yesterday so no swimming or going near the pools. A couple of yanks came down to the pool to go for a swim but we discouraged them from doing so –why you would ignore the signs saying that the pool is closed due to a crocodile sighting is beyond me. We visited the Berry Springs market and then headed back into Darwin.
Bob and Debbie caught up with a former workmate of Bob’s while Jenny and I walked around the CBD until heading to the Mindel Market for dinner and a window shop.
We did a tour of the sights of Darwin City today including the Art Gallery and Museum (which is really worth the effort). We then made our way around the docks to find out where we depart for our Bathurst Island Tour and our Sunset Dinner cruise. Icecreams on the wharf then back to Howard Springs for an afternoon siesta.
Left Mataranka for the 400 km trip to Howard Springs, beautiful balmy morning with a light breeze. Got into our camp Howard Springs Holiday Resort mid afternoon and set up camp. There is an information session on what is available tourism wise in Darwin this evening so we can plan our five or six days in town. Its about 32 º in the shade of the palm trees – easy to get used to.
Relaxed morning – a few minor repairs on The Turtle then coffee and phone calls to book us into Darwin – Howard Springs Big 4 Caravan Park. Then we all went down to the thermal pools for a two hour dip. Imagine the scene, a pleasant 27°, dappled sunlight over the pool and laying back in the body temperature water as the world passes by. Of course we all thought of those poor people still in South Gippsland and felt so sorry for them – honest, we did.
Left our waterhole camp by a circuitous route (because the main gate to the highway had been padlocked) and headed north up the highway arriving in Mataranka at lunchtime. Headed around to The Homestead Caravan Park where the usual circus applies – sites not clearly marked and power leads over drive throughs. Found a couple of powered sites and the girls hit the hot spring straight away. Meanwhile Bob and I installed the new smart charger to his battery system and tidied the battery compartment wiring up a bit. The Turtle now charges on 240 volt – happy days
Left camp at 8.15 am for the drive up the Stuart Highway to Longreach Waterhole outside Elliot NT. Sandy track in but a beautiful waterhole to while away the afternoon. I even got the drone out to have a bit of a spin. Didn’t last long because of low batteries but at least its another flight in the log book.
We stopped in at Alice Springs so that Bob could get a smart charger for his Motorhome (the previous owner had removed the charger – very noble of him). The people from Outback Batteries were extremely helpful, checked all the batteries for free and gave sound advice that didn’t result in needless expenditure. Checkout their site at www.outbackbatteries.com.au
From there we moved on immediately heading to Bonney Wells Free Camp as our final destination for the day. We will have a short day tomorrow.
We had planned to take the Merrindee Loop back to Alice Springs but we were advised that the track has been badly corrugated in several long sections and that high clearance four wheel drives are required to traverse it so we had to head back out to the Stuart Highway and head north toward Alice. We stopped the night at Mount Polpill Rest Area. In to Alice tomorrow for battery assistance for “Turtle” – Bob and Debbie’s machine
Travelled into Kings Canyon today. We did the walk around the base which we didn’t do last time. Unfortunately thetrack has been cut short because rock of rock falls and a sacred site within that area. Still we managed to have lunch in the shade of the Kings Creek creek bed. It was then back to the resort campground for the night. A hot shower at last!