Two days of roads like this – we are now in Katherine in the Northern Territory and I am more in awe than ever of the Road Train drivers. The distances are immense and the landscape from Mt. Isa to Katherine rarely changes. Just flat nothing and occasionally a few trees or scrub. Some of the roads are unfenced which means cattle wander across at night and often get hit by a vehicle so dead animals line the side of the road, particularly from Tennant Creek to Katherine.
The border is just after Camooweal where we stopped for a quick coffee at the roadhouse and I met Skippy…….
We decided to stay the night at Three Ways Roadhouse which meant we covered over 700km that day and this was a good choice. We had a comfortable motel style room with air conditioning – essential as it was stinking hot and the flies were unbearable! One plus was the sunset – it was simply amazing and became more vivid as the minutes ticked by.
Dinner at the Roadhouse Bar was interesting meeting locals and a couple of truck drivers. We were convinced we had made the right decision to stay here after numerous stories about Tennant Creek and the problems with crime which is rampant at the moment.
We set off bright and early and came across quite a few cattle grazing quietly. I just had to stop at a waterhole and capture a young calf having a drink.
Then it was on to Katherine but not without a stop at the iconic Daly Waters Pub.
This has to be seen to be believed. The bar is draped with hundreds of bras in every size and colour. The legend is that a coach driver had a bet with his female passengers and they decided to leave their mark – and the tradition has apparently continued! The walls are lined with mementoes and outside the bark shed hang thousands of thongs!
This area is famous for locals with attitude and many stories to tell. Recently the country has been fascinated about the disappearance of a well liked local in Larrimah, just up the road from Daly Waters. No body has been found, neither has his dog and lots of theories abound but so far no one has been charged with anything. It seems this mystery will go on. A popular Podcast throws light on the story and it seems people are still talking about Paddy and are still looking for him. Of course, we had to stop and investigate for ourselves!
With that story firmly in our minds we drove on to Mataranka where the thermal Pool in the National Park is a constant 34C and flows from Rainbow Springs at an amazing 30.5million litres a day.
Mataranka is known as the “Capital of the Never Never” and was home to Aeneas and Jeannie Gunn at the turn of the century. Jeannie wrote the book “We of the Never Never” which has become a classic and a film was made in 1981. A replica of the homestead was made for the film and stands in the park today as a little museum. I was fascinated by the history and constantly wonder how women coped with the hardships of the day dressed in all the flowing skirts and long sleeves which were expected of “ladies” . I complained about the heat and flies today and I was wearing much lighter clothing. It kind of puts things into perspective somewhat!
So now we are here in Katherine and tomorrow will visit the famous Nitmiluk Gorge. There is a rich indigenous and pioneer history here so a visit to the cultural centre is planned as well as the art gallery. First of all tonight we will see what dinner awaits – crocodile steaks perhaps?