Wednesday 4th July 2018 - Left Alice Springs after an early wake-up call at 03:30am to watch England Vs Colombia in the World Cup (England 4 on penalties - Colombia 3887.).
Headed off for Ross River in the East MacDonnell Ranges and stopped at Emily & Jessie Gaps on the way. Got to Ross River Homestead at 10:00am; set up camp, had lunch and hit the road again to visit Arltunga Historical Reserve that is an old township that once supported 300 people around the Goldrush in 1887. The settlement had its own police station, pub, post office and cemetery and was so remote that it took 3 months by camel to get provisions. A very interesting piece of Australian History.
Thursday 5th July 2018 - On the drive out to Trephina Gorge we came across a small herd of wild Brumbies trotting in the middle of the road that took a while to move away. When we arrived at Trephina Gorge we took the Rim walk around the Gorge that gave stunning & beautiful views of along the sandy creek bed and Gorge. On the way out we diverted to see the largest Ghost Gum tree in Australia.
In the afternoon took another drive to our final location in the East MacDonnell Ranges; N'Dhala Gorge to view the Aboriginal Rock Carvings made by the local Arrernte people. Some of the carvings are said to be 10,000 yrs old. This Gorge was also home to a number of rare plants such as the Hayes Wattle (Acacia undoolyana).
Once back at camp we then decided to explore the Ross River Homestead & climbed to the top of an escarpment to watch the sunset over the camp and ranges.
After out long day we had a beer at the homestead where we were treated to an interesting overview of the history of the Ross River homestead by its manager Graham. He also showed us many photos of the birds, wildlife and some amazing shots of what it looked like when it eventually rains. The last rainfall in 2016 caused severe flooding that left the homestead cut off for 16 days.
Friday 6th July 2018 - Left Ross River at 07:15am, stopped at Alice Springs for fuel and provisions and continued onto Aileron where we stopped for a break and saw the statues of Aileron Man, Woman & Child.
Next break was at Barrow Creek that only had a quirky pub where all the walls & ceilings were covered in graffiti and you were charged 50c to use the toilet and a historic Telegraph Station. We later read that is was the site of a historical Aboriginal massacre and where Peter Falconio was abducted & murdered - not a place that you would want to hang around in.
Our final stop was at Taylor Hills were we free camped for the night.
Saturday 7th July 2018 - Another early start today so that we could stop off to see the Devils Marbles (Karlu Karlu) before we arrived at Tennant Creek.
On the way we couldn't resist stopping at Wycliffe Well to visit the UFO centre of Australia…
Stopped at the Devils Marbles and Wow! another beautiful sight of gigantic granite boulders. The boulders were rounded off by the weather leaving some of them balanced on top of each other that provided another magnificent spectacle.
Camped at Tennent Creek for the night so that we could watch England Vs Sweden in the world cup. The town is certainly different from what we know!! Every building is secured by heavy duty metal grates and the shops close early. Sales of alcohol require sight of your ID. Not a place that we wanted to stop for more than one night. Lone dingo spotted wandering the camp
Sunday 8th July 2018 - Spent the day travelling to Daly Waters where we free camped for the night. What a lovely place. It is the sight of the Northern Territory's oldest pub and Australia's first international airport. A feature of this pub is similar to Kulgera in that people attach their possessions to the building; money, underwear, shirts, ID cards etc..
Monday 9th July 2018 - Stayed and had breakfast at the Daly Waters Pub before heading off for Mataranka. Only had a brief stop to refuel from one of our Jerry Cans before arriving and setting up camp at Bitter Springs.
Mataranka is a beautiful & peaceful place located by the Roper River and was the location of our camp. Took a short walk by the river and then had a relaxing swim at the thermal springs.
A large Barramundi was caught by one of the campers in the river that ran through our caravan site.
Tuesday 10th July 2018 - After seeing the large Barramundi that had been caught the day before, Phil was fired up to christen his new fishing rod. But after a few hours; not a bite so he decided to call it a day.
In the afternoon we drove to the Rainbow Spring that is located near the Mataranka Homestead, the site of another thermal pool to relax in.
Wednesday 11th July 2018 - Another relaxing morning before a short drive to the Elsey National Park where we walked along a different part of the Roper River. We stopped at a place called Maraluk that was a quiet spot with a sandy beach where we stood and watch a very large black Crocodile sun its self on the other side of the river. We spoke to a lovely family of three people from Keilor South, Vic who recommended we try the famous Mataranka Pies.
So guess what? We stopped and bought a couple of the famous pies to have for lunch and can only say that they were very good.
Later in the afternoon, we took a leisurely walk to Bitter Springs for another relaxing swim before dinner.
Wildlife Seen: Antilopine Wallaroo, Great Bowerebird, Rainbow Bee-eater, Radjah Shelduck, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Rainbow Lorikeet, Black Crocodile.
Thursday 12th July 2018 - (Mileage travelled so far 6,500kms) Packed up camp and left for our next destination of Katherine. On the way we had a short stop at the Cutta Cutta Caves National Park.
Friday 13th July 2018 - Spent today doing domestic chores and getting prepared for our next desination that will be Kakadu on Monday.
Before departing for Kakadu we'll spend the next few days exploring Katherine, it's surrounding area and taking a cruise around the gorges to celebrate Phil's 60th.