First stop was Carinbarini Conservation Park, about 50 kms south of Borroloola. DON'T MISS IT if you are up this way. It was a pity there wasn't a camping area close by, because you could easilly spend a whole day wandering around the area. Hopefully the few photo's I've included can give you some idea.
Called in to Cape Crawford on the way from Borroloola, what a rip-off joint. Diesel was $2.25 / litre and a case of 30 XXXX Gold cans was $65.00 and Cooper's was $85.00. Yeah, I know all about freight rates and the cost of refrigeration, but that's just highway robbery!
Passed up a pleasant looking little campsite at Little River (there were a couple of vans there at mid-day when I passed) but Graham at Gregory Downs said to go on to Goanna Creek. Well, I'm at Goanna Creek - what a name for a place - Not a goanna (or Bungarra, as we call them in Western Australia)in sight. Great little rest area, although it's pretty hard to find a level spot, I'm having to use the BIG spacer under the wheel, no facilities, but what a view. (This is from the main road at the turn-off into the rest area).
There are dozens of birds which come in for water at the tank, so I'm making sure it's topped up. I think the majority are called Bee-Eaters and there are also a lot of Finches.
Heaps of firewood available within easy reach, and just as well, it's quite cool at night out here away from the coast. There is just something about a campfire out in the bush - not for practical purposes, like boiling the billy or cooking a meal, but just for the aesthetic value. It's amazing, you can sit by a fire at night and just watch the flames and get up occasionally to fiddle with the wood and yet it's not boring. And of course, if there are other people around, it's a magnet. Ten minutes and they'll be over for a natter. Think I'll stay here for an extra couple of nights.
Day 207 - 07 Jul 09
Left Goanna Creek this morning and headed East for the Stuart Highway. Pulled into Daly Waters to take the obligatory photographs. The place has expanded a little since I was here 5 years or so ago. There is a new "business" opposite the pub, a bloke who carves nameplates and has a wacky sense of decor.
The pub hasn't changed at all and I guess why would it, when you're on a good thing, stick to it.
The poor old Stuart Tree is starting to look a bit sad, it's even more eroded than last time, I don't know how much longer they'll be able to convince people that there is an "S" carved into the tree, it's almost illegible now. On up the highway. The posted speed limit is 130 kmh, but I'm happy to sit on 90, I'm in no great hurry. Heading for South Warloch Rest Area tonight, 41kms North of Larrimah.
Day 209 - 09 Jul 09
Two nights at South Warloch was more than enough thank you very much! First, there are brand new toilets and they don't work. Someone who appears to know said that they haven't dug the pits deep enough. He said that there are a whole string of these new toilet blocks heading from here to Kununurra and they're all blocked. Second, the area is quite small and has been absolutely packed both nights. I counted 23 vehicles here last night. The problem with it being so small, is that everybody is packed together. Last night a "wicked" van with 6 French backpackers, (1 bloke and 5 girls) pulled in quite late (about 9:30pm) and proceeded to open and close the sliding door of their van about 756 times (well, it seemed like it). They got their tents up and then the girls decided to have a giggle session until about 11:30 pm, It's obvious that they don't teach backpackers campsite etiquette. Then, at 6:30 this morning a group of 3 caravans travelling together decided that they would chop some wood for their breakfast fire.
Day 210 - 10 Jul 09
I cannot believe how many travellers there are on the road. I would estimate that AT LEAST 50% of the vehicles on the road are either Caravans, Motorhomes or Campers - and I have seen at least 8 large converted buses. Pulled in to Bridge Creek, 30 kms south of Adelaide River and this will be my last stop before Darwin. A much larger area than South Warloch - No Facilities and firewood is a little harder to collect. I will have to buy a cheap chainsaw - there is plenty of wood around most of these sites, but it is all big stuff - the small stuff has all been used by previous visitors. I don't know whether this site is naturally dusty, or whether it has flooded sometime recently, but there is a huge amount of bull-dust as you drive in and each new arrival throws up a dust cloud.
Day 211 - 11 Jul 09
Darwin at last. I'm staying at the Malak Caravan Park on McMillans Road - Not by choice, but because it's about the only place I could find that had any vacancies. Everywhere I pulled in there were "No Vacancy" signs out the front. I guess it's my fault for arriving during the school holidays. All sites are on-suite and everything else you have to do for yourself. $210 per week plus power is a bit pricey, but it is quite nice and a hell of a lot closer to town than some of the "big-name" parks which are all out around Palmerston with is 30 kms out of the city. I'll stay here for two weeks, get the car services, give the van a good clean-out and see about fixing up my grand-mother's grave. Nobody from the family has been here since 1973, so I have no idea what condition it will be in.