Day Fifty Three - August 28th, 2013
Renner Springs to Edith Falls
Rest stops are very different from camping grounds and it was obvious everyone was in a hurry to get somewhere this morning. Being on the side of the road has its advantages, and we were on our way by 8am. We drove up the Stuart Highway and had probably the quietest day on the road so far - very few cars and most of them coming in the opposite direction of us. We were both bored with the driving and the car, and felt hot and bothered. Without anything to look at aside from the termite mounds which can stand taller than a man, decorated with clothing, hats and sunglasses, the long straight road stretching out over the miles becomes tedious. The stench of the road kill adds to the bad atmosphere within the car, and we have well and truly ran out of songs to sing - there's no radio reception out here! The 'towns' we passed through were little more than petrol stations at the side of the highway, and aside from a loo stop at the grottiest camp site I have ever seen, we pressed on past the landscape of dead and burnt trees.
We made it to Mataranka for some lunch under a shady tree, and I got out to run in the sprinklers. I'd rather sit in wet clothes and be cool rather than feel the dry dusty heat streaming in through the windows. I also use some of the spare water in the car to sprinkle it on my arm and stick it outside the car as we hurtle down the highway at 120kph. The effect is one really cold arm! We saw an old boy from Renner Springs who came over to say hello, grabbed an ice lolly from the store (two for $4 - so much better than the $5 we have paid for a single ice cream!), and set off towards civilisation: Katherine.
Our phones started buzzing with 3 days of unchecked messages once we regained signal, and we finally saw signs of life on the horizon and food a radio station to tune into. What a difference it can make to our mood! We parked up outside Target and headed straight for the air conditioned heaven within. All of our saucepans have rusted, so we bought a new one, and wandered into the information centre. We picked up a whole horde of brochures and asked the lady behind the desk the best place to camp at Edith Falls, which the Frazers had told us not to miss. There's only one campsite in the national park, and she gave us directions. Back in the sticky car for the last time today, and we headed along the 50 or so kilometres to our destination. We came into the national park, and found the campsite. It's getting to the end of the holidaying season, and although we had been warned the site is normally full by 2pm, there seemed to be plenty of space. We filled in our details and left the payment ($6.60 each) in a small mailing box for the ranger, and helped ourselves to a pitch. More grass!! We both had a turn in the sprinklers to try and cool down - this winter weather is no joke! Up with the tent and on with the swimmers, and we set off in search of the waterfall. We found it in no time; the park is located wonderfully close to the swimming hole. Although there are signs up saying any crocs in the area have been caught and traps set, we don't feel totally comfortable swimming out into the deep water and just had a dip in the shallows.
The rest of the evening was whiled away cooking, reading and chatting to our neighbours. Tomorrow we set our sights on the big city - Darwin!