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THE SAVANNAH WAY

This is a Caravan Odyssey. We travelled from Broome to Cairns, and followed the bitumen.
There is around 5 hours of video, there is a lot more on the cutting room floor, and there is a lot that we didn't see.

We have split the trip into Three DVDs, covering the
Western Australian, Northern Territory and Queensland
sections of the journey
.
Whether you are a Grey Nomad, Geriatric Gypsy, or a NOT so Grey Nomad,
This is a taster of what to expect if YOU are contemplating doing the journey

.Click on the cover for Preview

$39 including postage.
Order Here


Savannah Way 2013 Trip Diary - Part Two - Broome to Katherine

DAY 21 3.7.13 Up bright and early, fuelled up (Roebuck Plains Roadhouse - Diesel $1.709, ULP $1.739), hooked up, and left for Derby. We are now officially filming, and we pulled into Willare Bridge Roadhouse in time to grab a bite to eat. We had been smelling a weird smell like rotten eggs for a couple of days, and put it down to something to do with the turbo ...... and when we stopped, it was putrid. We lifted the bonnet, and while I was looking around the engine, Annette noticed that the auxilliary battery was smoking, and it suddenly made sense. We measured the volts, cut the battery off, and headed for Derby. Long story short, new auxilliary battery, 100 ah, $230. Hopefully no more stinky stinky .....
We booked into the Kimberley Entrance Caravan Park again, and were put on some big sites at the back of the park. Two years ago, this was a dirt stretch - now curbed, tarred and grassed. Very nice. $40 per night here.
Tonight, we took a run down to the jetty, watched the sun go down, had a look at low tide, and spoke to a couple of fishermen who told of Mulloway about 1 metre long being caught off the jetty a week or so ago.
I like Derby. Let's hope the world never finds out about it ..... incidentally, the Caravan Park is well populated.

DAY 22 4.7.2013
It's a big day in the life of our American friends, and to all those having birthdays, but to wake up fit and healthy and alive in this part of the world is just HUGE. In an effort to keep on top of things, I sat down last night and edited what footage I have taken so far on the trip, and have 8 mins logged in..... and we are only 200 kms into the trip - Another 3700 odd to go, and that is if we don't deviate. The worst thing about editing great footage isn't what do we put in, it's WTF do we leave OUT. And THAT is when tough decisions need to be made.
This morning, We went back to the jetty, to have a look at the difference when the tide is high. Derby has Australiaís highest tides and one of the highest in the world. The Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada, has 15m tides. Other high tides occur at Bristol (UK) 14.6m, Mont Saint Michel (France) 12.3m, Puerto Gallegos (Argentina) 13.2m and Bhaunagan (India) 12.2m. High tides in Western Australia are Derby 11.8m, Yampi Sound 10.9m, Broome 9.8m and Wyndham 8.4m
Then, around to the Prison Boab Tree, Water trough and Frosty's Pool. This huge Boab tree is believed to be around 1,500 years old and has a girth of 14.7 metres. It was used as staging point for prisoners being walked into Derby in the early days. The Water Trough was built in 1916/17. This trough could handle 500 bullocks at one time and was later extended to a length of 120 metres. Frosty's Pool was Built in 1944 as a bathing area for troops stationed in the area during the Second World War. This is one of the few remaining reminders of those years in the town. The bath was constructed by the 3rd General Transport Co. and was nicknamed Frostyís Pool after a platoon member, Charles L.V. Frost.
The afternoon was spent relaxing.

DAY 23 5.7.13 Another year older for this old bastard, and time to hit the road again, and first stop was the Boab Rest Stop, so called because of the HUGE Boab tree that sits in the centre of the rest area. It is hollow, and you could set up a small room inside. Onward, and the country is generally flat, and boab trees are fairly plentiful along this stretch of road. The Erskine Range comes into view, and is passed through a gap in the low hills, before another rest stop with again, a boab tree to stop and inspect. At this time of the year, the Boabs should have shed their foliage, but these rest stop trees are intact and still providing shade for the resting traveller.
There are thousands (it appears) of vans on the roads up here, and most of them appeared to be parked up in the Ellendale Rest Stop area, and that was about 1.30pm. We had decided to call an early day and stop out on the road, but didn't want to be among the masses, and so we wandered on and found a metal dump that suited our purpose near the Mount Hardman Creek. I set up the dish, Annette hit the book, and I decided to spend some time editing the story so far.
It's a hard life, it really is. I don't know how I survived suburbia for as long as I did.
Fuel Derby - Diesel $1.765

DAY 24 6.7.2013 The world is a small place. John Giuliano from ďTravelling With A Camper AustraliaĒ and I are travelling in different directions. He from Melbourne, and us from Albany. We have been keeping in touch with each other, and talking about bumping into each other and meeting each other face to face. They have been out of range, and havenít been on for a little while, but read in my blog that we were in Derby, and he had just come off the Tanami. He wondered if we would actually meet each other.
So imagine our mutual surprise, when he saw my rig pull up at the Dump Point at the Fitzroy River Lodge and Caravan Park, and recognised the car from the pic on my personal site, stopped, thus blocking the road (as another guy was trying to get past us with van in tow), and introduced himself and family to us. The other guy? ....... who cares LOL.

We settled in, and this afternoon went out to Geikie Gorge for a leisurely boat trip up the river. It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon. There is so much history, both geological and local indigenous culture around Fitzroy Crossing. The town is also hosting a rodeo this weekend, which would be fun, however, we have other plans for tomorrow. More on that later.
9.51pm We have just spent the evening with John, Anita and their son Thomas. It was wonderful to catch up with them, and it is a fair probability that we will catch up with them on the road tomorrow. But we wont pre-empt that. We'll tell you all about that later.
Goodnight.

DAY 25 7.7.2013 What a big day ...... we left Fitzroy Crossing at 8 am and headed for Windjana Gorge. We had thought of going that way from Derby with the van, but the road conditions suggested otherwise, and so we decided to do a day trip. Once we left the highway, we had 102 kms of dirt road, and it was fairly quiet until we reached the Tunnel Creek carpark area, when we started to meet all the traffic coming in off the Gibb River Road to have a look.
We arrived at Windjana, set up the chairs and sat down for a cup of coffee and a piece of fruit cake, when these two young guys walked past, and on answering our question, advised us that they had just walked in from the air strip. They explained as they drank the rest of our coffee and scoffed our fruit cake, that they had just flown two ultra light aircraft from Adelaide to Windjana.
ďWe engage with youth, through schools, with a travelling group canvas themed Ďpositivityí. With the positive motto of the journey we are fundraising and creating further awareness for the Royal Flying Doctors and Western Desert Dialysis, two critically important remote area services.Ē
Their support group turned up, and they were off to business. Please look at their website .... www.microlightodyssey.com.au.
Aiden and Daryl are two really wonderful young people, and they deserve support.
Then, into the gorge itself, and the cavernous walls and fresh water crocodiles sunning themselves on the river banks. And to find our two young adventurers taking a swim .... yep with the crocs .... and with film crew in tow recording the antics. Wonderful stuff.

Then time to start our trek back towards Tunnel Creek (we had decided to do the furtherest attraction first - 151 kms from Fitzroy crossing. John and Anita Guiliano turned up as we were leaving, and we took to opportunity to grab a couple of pics to record the occasion. We called into the ruins and remains of Lillimooloora Station. The station was the centre of unrest between the Bunuba People and the local station owners and police in the late 1800s. The film Jandamurras War documents what happened between Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek. It is well worth a look.
Then we arrived at Tunnel Creek, devoured lunch, and walked the 750m walk through this amazing river tunnel.
Then back to Fitzroy Crossing, landing back just on 6 pm. In all, as I said at the beginning ...... a big day

DAY 26 8.7.2013 We decided that we would move on a little way out of town and freecamp for a couple of days, hopefully within communication range. However, while there were plenty of spots west of Fitzroy Crossing, there was very little that was suitable to the East. We found a large truck stop that was a good 100 metres from the road about 60 kms out of town, and settled down for the day and night. We had no signal, but that wasn't a major worry - once upon a time you didn't have it at all in these areas.
We needed to do a couple of things before we left town. We had torn the Anderson Plug out somehow, and needed a new one of those, ($20). We had also fueled up at the resort ($1.775 Diesel - $1.759 in town). They asked for a 2% surcharge on the card, which I must say I object to. The majority of their customers are going to pay by card, so why not build it into the price and save aggravation.
I also needed to do a bit of filming around the place, as we had spent nearly all of our time here outside of the town. Annette topped up the fruit supply, along with the bag of snakes to munch along the way, and we were off.
Once we camped up, Annette spent the afternoon sleeping, I copied the video into the hard drive and caught up on some of the motor racing, and then last night, spent a few hours doing a basic edit on where we are at so far, while Annette watched "Jandamurra's War" and "Ray", the Ray Charles movie..

DAY 27 9.7.2013 Wow, another big day. We moved from our roadside truck stop, a total of about 31 kms to Ngumban Lookout, where we found we had signal, an amazing view, and a bit of space, and so we set up ďofficeĒ. Annette decided she needed a nap, I got stuck into downloading video I had taken of the place, and a bit more basic editing. Then I found 7Mate were replaying Sundays race from Townsville, and so thatís where the afternoon went, whilst Annette caught up on her reading.

We have set ourselves a budget of $300 per week for fuel, but then ran into those storms, and in a bid to outrun them, spent 2 weeks worth of fuel in one week. And we are way ahead of schedule, and so, we are in no hurry to go anywhere much in the next week while we allow the bank account to catch up.

Donít expect a lot of drivel over the next week ...... but then, you never know just WHAT may come begging to be reported on.

DAY 28 10.7.13    WE DID NOTHING ÖÖÖÖ.. Truly, we liked our spot at Ngumban Lookout so much, that we stayed and veged out.

DAY 29 11.7.13 ........ We decided to move closer to Halls Creek, and managed another 84 kms before we arrived at the Mary River Rest Area, and a heap of caravans already set up, and it was only 11.15 am. This is a very shady area as opposed to the open area at Ngumban Lookout. It is situated on the banks of the Mary River, which is mainly dry, but does have stretches of water pools. There are some water birds here, along with 3 1/2 million Corellas ...... well ok, 3 million... :-).
It seems that a couple who had nothing better to do, counted 120 caravans in this place last night, and I reckon there's not a lot less here tonight. We usually avoid these areas, but succumbed to the place tonight.
We had some problems with internet during the day, but tonight, it is flying. Because of the trees, I couldn't get a stable pic with the dish, but am listening to the cricket streaming on the ABC.

DAY 30 12.7.13 7am and the population had already diminished by about a third I reckon....... all making a dash for the next 24hr Rest Stop I would guess. We had thought that we might stay an extra night, but we are were needing to do something about our water supply, the laundry was backing up, and also with the weekend coming up, the larder was starting to lack in a few vitals. And so we decided to do the 100 or so kms into Halls Creek, and book into the caravan park.
Itís nothing like the Fitzroy Crossing park, but itís certainly no where near the worst park Iíve been in, and really is fairly tidy.
There are three or four fuel stations in town, but the Coles one at the top of the street is by far the busiest. From past experience, I knew to pull around the back to the truck pumps, and gave the old girl a drink.
Having divested ourselves of the van, we went shopping, and the realisation that we are 3000 kms from the city. This would be a very expensive place to live in. Annette ducked into the Bottle Shop to stock up on wine and UDLs ........ and came out with a case of 2.5% strength beer........ If you want stronger, you drink it LIVE at the pub - no take aways. This is of course in response to the alcohol problems that have reared their ugly head in this region, and has been policy for a few years now.
And so it was off to the Kimberley Hotel which hides just over the road from the caravan park with the intention of having a quiet Rum and Coke or similar. Whilst waiting for service, we made the mistake of looking at the menu, and found ourselves succumbing to the temptation of a pasta in Annettes case, and a burger in my case ........ and they were generous portions to put it mildly ....... and tasty. Annette had a couple of sparkling wines, and I, a couple of Lemon, Lime and Bitters. Then we staggered (from the amount of food - we were also walking - it was only a couple of hundred metres after all) back to park and the cricket for me, and a book for Annette.
We plan to go sight seeing tomorrow (Saturday)

DAY 31 13.7.13 An early-ish start for us today. First up, I dropped the tyre pressures down to 32, we loaded in our food for the day and the cameras, and set sail for the Duncan Hwy. I then turned around, because the Duncan Hwy exits Halls Creek from the Eastern end of town, not the western end ....... good start to the day. We then sailed past the turn off to the China Wall, before doing a u-ie and heading through the gate to our intended destination.
The China Wall is a rock formation that looks just like a wall, and there are plenty of these formations in the area. Mostly they are red, but this one is a natural vein of sub-vertical white quartz rising up to 6 metres above the surrounding country in places.
Next stop was Caroline Pool. This is a picnic, swimming and bush walking place set amongst cool shady trees and wide sandy creek banks. Swimming is best following rains when the water level is high. Unfortunately, the water level is currently low, and the base is quite muddy. 24 hour camping is allowed in the area, and there was a caravan and a motorhome camped in the riverbed. I couldnít help thinking back to my son Brettís experience, when he and his cousins camped at Cave Hill and got caught out by a sudden storm.(see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KE9RA06hp4I). My thoughts are, be well aware of what is happening weather wise even hundreds of kms away from you. I got caught by a similar storm in NT in 2005 - I wasnít camping in it, but it happened...... Back to the story, itís a beautiful little spot.
Then on to Old Halls Creek. The old post office remains have been looked after by a roofed structure that has enclosed it, however the rest of the area has not been maintained at all. Plaques that tell the history of the place have been removed by souvenir hunters, and not replaced. It disappoints me that these parts of our early history are not looked after by historical groups, volunteer or otherwise. This is a very significant place. It is the site of the first gold discovery in Western Australia and where the WA gold rushes began. In 1885 Charles Hall found a 28 ounce nugget. Men (very few women) soon streamed into the interior in search of their fortune.
The 'Golden West' had its beginnings in Halls Creek. This is the site of the original gold mining community where prospectors followed the gold up the creeks and gullies from Brockman to Old Halls Creek. The Halls Creek gold rush might have been short lived but it nevertheless left an important legacy.
We left OHC behind, and meandered through some of the most amazing countryside. As you leave Halls Creek, you are straight into hilly country, and the road seems to be endlessly crossing creek beds. The road twists and winds through the most rugged country, and if you imagine how you used to draw hills at primary school, thatís what itís like out here. All pyramid shaped hills........ and then you reach Palm Springs. This is a little oasis, a permanent waterhole fed by a spring, with rushes and palms lining its banks. Another 24 hour camping spot, a beautiful place for a picnic lunch, and to have a refreshing dip.
Our final destination was Sawpit (also known as Sawtooth) Gorge. This is another 24 hour camping spot, with what appears to be a permanent pool. The campers there told us of some young high spirited guys who were oiled up who had been there not long before we arrived. On our return via Palm Springs, it was obvious where they had been by the number of beer cans scattered on the ground ..... and these were FULL STRENGTH VB cans ...... where did THEY come from? Remember this is a low strength only town.
The Duncan Hwy continues around and up along the WA-NT border and emerges to the East of the Quarantine station on the border. I did this trip in 2005 and thoroughly enjoyed it .... but that is another story.
We got back to town about 2.45pm, had a shower, and hit the sack for an hour or so. A wonderful day ........

DAY 32 14.7.13 It was time for us to move on, and so we pumped up the tyres ( i had dropped the tyre pressures yesterday for the corrugated road we would be travelling on), packed up, and headed for the fuel station. (Diesel $1.779). And then realised that I hadnít taken any video of the town (which is one of the reasons we are here, isnít it?). And so that done, we drove about 26 kms from town, and found a wide open Metal dump about 100m off the road beside a lovely hill (i love hills, Annette loves trees) that also had awesome signal. The trees were on the other side of a gully, so we couldnít make use of those, but in every other sense, the spot served our purpose. And so we set up, and sat in the breeze waving at caravanners who were drifting past, and sipping a cool drink ........

And then it was time to watch the Derby. I am not a Fremantle fan, but you have to admire the way Ross Lyon has done what no other coach has done for the club in all of its existence. It used to be that the only game the Dockers came out to play all season was the Derby, but now, the culture has changed, and they look the real deal.

It also gave me time to continue editing, and for Annette to catch up on her library of books. The great part about just sitting and camping and not going anywhere, is the credit card is avoiding abuse. And what the heck, we have all the time in the world.

And then we stepped outside, and WHAT - campers up the other end of OUR piece of ground - itís ours, we found it first - before Midday in fact ...... OK, Iíll fix them, Iíll run the genny until late ........ then it ran out of fuel and I couldnít be bothered refilling it, and so I switched to the inverter and watched the cricket quietly, whilst Annette set up a steady drone from the bedroom ...........

DAY 33 15.7.13 We decided to stay put for the next day or so. The weather is just gorgeous. Temp around 33, skies are cloudless, the breeze comes and goes ..... just chills ville. We are only about 75 kms from the Bungles turnoff, and have given thought to moving closer, but will we find a better spot up the road with signal. We are both keeping tabs on mums in their Eighties
There are designated rest areas ahead of us, but they are just like caravan parks without the fees. Itís not that we donít like people, we just enjoy the space and our own company. As for the Bungles, My thoughts are that we will book into the Caravan Park possibly tomorrow, and then do a day trip on Thursday into the park

DAY 34 16.7.13 We decided that we would stay another night at our roadside metal dump. And so the day was spent reading, doing taxation returns, reading, resting, reading ..... you get the idea.
The temperature was a couple of degrees cooler than yesterday, but felt cooler than that. We ran the air con pretty much full time yesterday, and didnít turn it on at all today. It was quite pleasant outside, whereas the breeze was quite warm yesterday.
Tomorrow, we will move on. We plan to stop in the Bungles Caravan Park, and do a day trip on Thursday...... stay tuned.

DAY 35 17.7.13 The time had come to move on ..... and then Annette moved the wrong way and an old back complaint reared itís ugly head. And so while I packed up the van, she was sent to lay down with a muscle relaxant and a pain reliever. We hit the road, and Annette hit the wall, very slowly having a battle with her eyes, which wanted to close and send her to sleep. Meanwhile, the road between Halls Creek and the Bungles turnoff is just so picturesque, undulating through a mountain range that looms up on the west, and moves away to the East - not too far away though, as it tends to follow the road.
There are two freecamp areas near the entry to Mabel Downs Station, through which the Bungles road passes to get to the Purnululu National Park. We were travelling from the south, and so we called into the first one to have a look, and there were a few vans locked up with their owners obviously away for the day visiting the park, as well as a few that were occupied. Not too many vans at all really, and I would suggest that this rest area would be the least populated of the two in the area. Just a few more kilometres down the road is the rest area that is within 400 metres of the gate. Now this one has two areas adjacent to each other, and the lower part near the river and under the trees was jam packed - a caravan park wouldnít jam you in that close. Everyone obviously trying to get their bit of space in the shade of the trees. The upper level was less tightly packed.
But we had decided that we would utilise the caravan park which is located a km inside the gates of Mabel Downs Station. I was keen to see how different it looked to when I was lucky enough to be asked to film a promotional video for them two years ago. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqXENnNrM3g&feature=c4-overview&list=UUtAmNBTEzz_dJHCCsD0VlgA). And a lot has been done. The tent that was the office has now been replaced by a donga type arrangement, there are a number of Eco-tents available, and an airfield for a fixed wing aircraft has been added. We chose an unpowered site - there being no powered sites available - and Annette was ordered to bed to try and get rid of the demon back complaint.
Hopefully, she will be fully fit tomorrow, and we will leave early to go in and give the lady her first look at the Bungles..

DAY 36 18.7.13 Opened my eyes, looked at the time on my phone ..... 6.44am ..... WHAT... SHIT..... was hoping to be on the road by 7am. Stumbled out of bed, out to the car and grabbed the tyre gauge, and started letting down tyres - I was going to practice on someone elses, but didnít think they would see the funny side of it. Annette jumped out and got the food and drinks organised - which was a miracle, cos she loves her bed AND she has this back that decided to cark it yesterday. I Took a look at her and was immediately worried about how she was going to handle the day. The offer was made to put it off until tomorrow, but she decided, no, today it would be. We were going into the Bungles.
Now first up, this was my third trip in, and I had more than enough footage from last time for the project at hand - Annette had never been there. And so it was to be her call as what we did and how far she pushed herself.........
We left the caravan park a little after 7.30, and headed out the fairly corrugated road which winds and dips for 53 kms before reaching the ranger Station. You are on private property until you reach the river that divides the Purnululu National Park and Mabel Downs Station.
The drive in is in a word, sensational. Annette loves trees and stuff, I love hills - looking at, NOT climbing - and the ranges of hills just keep coming at you, and except for flat land between the ranges, the road dips and twists and turns back on itself and takes you over blind crests and through deep (mainly dry) creek beds through some of the most rugged hills/mountains that you can find in Western Australia. I hesitate to use the word Awesome........ but in another word ..... itís AWESOME. Not that I was looking of course - I was driving .........
We arrived at the Ranger Station a little after 10 I guess, paid our entry fee, and then had the choice of North or South. The Domes are best viewed in the morning, because they are on the Eastern Side of the Bungle Range, however, Echidna Gorge is best viewed at about 11am when the sun is overhead and shines directly down the narrow opening into the canyon. From past experience, I chose the Domes,
The walk around the domes is marked as 400m, and I reckon we did about 30 kms before we arrived at the entrance to Cathedral Gorge. In our Dome walk, we had found ourselves in a cavern that I hadnít seen before, and where a tour group was being addressed by their guide. The cavern had a pool of water, and although not officially named, was called Mini Cathedral Gorge by the tour groups.
We found our way to the magnificent Cathedral Gorge, and spent some time just soaking up the reverence and majesty of the place ......... well trying to recover from our walk in if the truth be known. Remember, Annette has a back problem and me? ........ less said the better.
It was time to stagger back to the car park, and lunch. In the shadows of the walls of the gorges and domes, it was very pleasant - in the sun, it killed - it certainly had a bite.
The other gorges are at the other end of the range, some 40 odd kms away. We set sail, again being looked upon by rugged unvegetated hills, whilst strangeley, along side on the other side of the road is another range of hills, that couldnít be more different, and completely vegetated - with not more than a kilometre or so between them. We reached the Echidna Gorge car park, and made ourselves (well Annette made us) a coffee, and a decision was to be made whether we did the walk. Remember I had been here before, and had my footage, and so I wasnít about to make a recommendation. The walk is a 2 km return walk, up a river bed of stones, and is suggested about 45-60 mins to complete. Annette decided that she had probably overdone it this morning, and decided that she was prepared to give it a miss. I was Soooo disappointed as I was really keen to ........... ok, so I was happy with the decision. Truth be know, my troubles of the past 18 months have taken their toll, and I am nowhere near match fit this early in the trip.
And so we hit the road again, now driving into the sun if it got too late. And again, this incredible, if somewhat rough journey through this beautiful countryside, looking at the other side of what we travelled through this morning.
We arrived home just before 4pm, and a well shaken (from the road - NOT my driving) Annette climbed out of the car with the sound of her voice stating that she was going to sit down ďwith a bloody beerĒ ..... and she did..........

DAY 37 19.7.2013 7 am and most of those moving out of the Bungles Caravan Park have already gone, and we are just climbing out of bed ....... well at least, I am. I make the coffees and teas and slowly go around returning tyre pressures to normal, packing the generator away, putting up the awning, empty the portaloo .... oh yes, The Bungles Caravan Park has a dump point.
Eventually, Annette greets the day, and even more eventually, we are on the road again.
The Road between Halls Creek and Wyndham/Kunnunurra HAS to be travelled to be appreciated. We don't have hills like this down south, and they just keep coming at you. And sadly, I can't name most of the ranges, because they are NOT marked in the main on our maps. Well, not where we WANT them to be named - like the beautiful run down, and through, the range that crosses the highway south of Warmun. We refuelled at Warmun (Turkey Creek) and at $1.99 for Diesel and ULP, it is the closest we have got so far to reaching our budgeted average price of $2.00 per litre. We learn that Doon Doon, the next service up the road is $2.15, but we have enough and won't need to refuel there.
We had travelled 66 kms from Warmun, when we spied a tree with a little track around it, that looked perfect for a stop over. I set up the dish, and settled down to watch the cricket ...... now WHY did I do that ??????

DAY 38 20.7.13 We are nearing the end of the first stage of our trip, and it occurred to me this morning, that when I have completed this first disk of the set that will comprise our Savannah Way project, that I will have documented most of the Kimberley Region of Western Australia. It is up to the individual to judge whether or not I have done a half reasonable job of it, but I must admit that I am proud of what I have achieved and what I have learned doing it. I am never happy with my work, but I have many supporters who seem to be appreciative of what I have produced so far.

With that in my mind, I again gathered our bits and pieces that were scattered around the caravan, hoping above all that Annettes chair was in good nick - you see, yesterday afternoon, Annette had placed her chair carefully among the spinifex bushes that surrounded the caravan, and it happened that it was right outside the door. She had gone to bed, read, and retired whilst I was editing and keeping half an eye on the cricket ...... I missed most of it apparently, because every time I looked at the screen, another wicket had fallen. Finally, just after the tea break, I decided it was time for bed, and was just about to turn off the light, when I realised that I hadnít done the dishes. Annette had fried up some fish, and had left some water in the frypan to soak. So rather than gunk up the sink with fishy water, I opened the door and tossed it out ........ just as I realised that the chair was sitting right in the line of fire ......... ďOh botherĒ I remarked ....

And so we left our roadside camp, and continued on towards Doon Doon, and again, what a marvellous drive through more of these amazing hills. We had the OíDonnell range to the West, and the Carr Boyd Range to the East, and again the road was carving through these hills ... it was gorgeous ....... and then we reached Doon Doon. We didnít need to stop, and so we didnít, but the thought did cross my mind. You are surrounded by hills, and when it rains up here, it floods - so why would you set up at the base of a floodway? ..... Itís like the village at the base of the volcano in Bali ........

We hit the T junction that sends you to either Wyndham or Kunnunurra. We chose the former, and had a look at the Rest Area on the corner, which is the first rest area since Mary Pool that has a Dump Point. We passed the Gibb River Road turn off, called in to The Grotto, and finally pulled into Parry Creek Farm Resort. I have been here for morning tea a couple of times, and this is the first time that I have stayed.

Please excuse all the first person descriptions, for I have been up here a couple of times before - this is Annetteís first trip.

Tonight we had dinner in the Restaurant, and the Barramundi is local, and the recipe and cooked result were to die for. Simply melt in your mouth stuff.

Tomorrow, the Lagoon and Wyndham ......... canít wait.

DAY 39 21.7.13 We staggered out of bed early (for us) and headed for the Billabong. We had decided that rather than go back to main road, that we would take the short cut across the flood plain. We eventually found ourselves on the right track, and grabbed our cameras and headed for the Hide. There has been very little rain this past wet season, and so the water level was down, and the bird population seemed diminished compared with past years. For all that, we managed to get some video, before moving on to Wyndham.

There was a ďBoab MarketĒ being conducted at the caravan park, and so we called in, Annette stocked up on books , fruit and veges, and I carried them to the car. We then went exploring. Wyndham is made up of two little town sites, neither of which are terribly inspiring - especially on a Sunday when most places are shut. We passed a corrugated iron building with the intriguing name of ďTin Shed CafeĒ, and being curious, we decided it was time for morning tea, The place was Magic - the decor was a shop lined with corrugated iron, historical pictures on the wall, a tantalising food display, and was very clean as well as well presented. The homemade pies were lovely, the Mango Smoothie was to die for, and they even had MALT to put in my thickshake. I challenge you to find anywhere in the city where you can get malt ......

Then, the trek up the hill to 5 ways lookout. Whoo, that is a big hill, and the view from the top is stupendous. Five rivers run into the Cambridge Gulf, and you can see them all from the top of this hill.

And then it was time to head back to camp, in time to watch the Dockers, Eagles and finally Australia get beaten ........ why did I even bother to put out the dish?

DAY 40 22.7.13 Time to leave Parry Creek Resort, and we headed back to the main road, and had a look at the the hills from the other side ..... you really donít appreciate some journeys until youíve had a look coming and going.

As we approached Kununurra, we waypointed a coup[le of potential camping spots. Then we reached town, collected mail from the Post Office, and hit the shops - enough food to feed an army .... well us anyway .... for at least a couple of weeks. Refilled a gas bottle ($37), purchased a couple of handheld UHF radios - good ones this time, the old ones had died..... and arranged to talk to an electrician tomorrow about a potential major problem that had reared itís ugly head.

And then back to the clearing that had already amassed a population of six vehicles, and was within 12 kms of town. A big day in some ways - over 200 kms and a day of commercial necessity.

DAY 41 23/7/13 Wow, nearly 7 weeks on the road, and what a road trip itís been so far. Today was no different. Into town to the electrician to replace an RCD which had expired in the van. While we were about it, got him to have a look at the fans that were fitted not so long ago to keep air circulating around the back of the fridge - they had stopped. Rejoining a wire and tightening the crimps a bit fixed that.
And then we headed around to Kellyís Knob Lookout. I hadnít been there in my previous couple of visits, and so that was sorted today. And then we had received the word that fuel was $1.919 (diesel) in town, but only $1.716 out at the Co-op. We were heading out the Weaber Plains Road to go to the Hootchery, and the Co-op is en route. Itís a prepay self service card operated pump.
Then, on to the aforementioned Hoochery, which is WAís First Legal Still you are led to believe. We ordered Beer Barttered Barra and Chips for lunch, and allowed ourselves to be talked into buying their sample packs. These are 3 of their different Rum concoctions in a shot glasses for $5. There are six different products in all, and so we figured we may as well try all six between us.
I was designated the first mouthful of the first sample ...... my eyes shot open, what hair I had stood on end and I nearly screamed out YeeHaa ........ They reckon you need to take the first taste to get the shock, and the second taste to actually experience the flavour. Six samples later, I was bleary eyed and completely shaken, and I had only sampled half of each drink, and I had to drive .........
Thank God for the fish and chips, the bottle of water, and the iced coffee.
Now Annette is a much more accomplished drinker than I am, and she went through much the same routine as I did ........ and she DIDNíT have to drive.
You gotta do it, thatís all I can say. Lunch is on from 11am-2pm.
Then on to Ivanhoe crossing. For some reason it was closed today. Two years ago, they were letting water through the Diversion Dam, and so it was not negotiable, but this year, there hasnít been a big wet season, they are working on the Diversion Dam, but there is no large water flow through it, but for what evr reason, the crossing was closed.
Back into town, and some filming at the swimming beach. They have a crocodile control policy here, that makes sure that there are no salt water crocs between the Diversion dam and the wall at Lake Argyle. The freshies are allowed to play unhindered. There is a Ski Boat Club, and all sorts of water activities can be enjoyed on Lake Kununurra.
Did some filming in town, check the post office again for mail posted on Thursday - still waiting - and finally back to where we were last night.
We have a plan to visit Mirama National Park tomorrow morning. This park is right in the middle of town, and is a mini Bungles. Then one more attempt at the mail, and then part one of our journey is complete, and I will have documented the entire Kimberley region of WA - well, as entire as one can. With our Gibb River Road/Dampier Peninsular DVD set, and the Broome to Kununurra Disk that will be disk one hopefully of this trip, I think I can safely say that you wont see a more complete coverage of the Kimberley on disk anywhere............ Good night.

DAY 42 24.7.13 It was time to have a look at Mirima National Park. Also known as hidden Valley, this park is a Mini Bungles, and itís right in the middle of town. I had footage from the last time I was here, but I had become attached to my tripod, and although I had determined to just get fresh footage from the ground and use old footage from the top, I found myself climbing the ladders and tracks to the roof of the park lugging the necessity with me.

We had finally received the mail we had been waiting on, and had attended to a couple of jobs that needed doing, before hitting the road once more. With the Mirima footage, I had completed the filming task for the first DVD of our intended 3 DVD account of our journey, and so now all I had to do was edit it ......... most had been done, but the narrative still needs to be added, and that generally messes up the order of what has been done before. But I am happy with what I have seen on the screen so far.

And so we left Kununurra, and commenced what will be the Northern Territory stage of our journey. And although technically, it is in WA, and part of the Kununurra scene, Lake Argyle was our destination and the beginning of the next phase of the trip.

The road in is again through rugged the hill country that is the Carr Boyd Range. We arrived at the resort, settled the caravan in, and headed for Pannekin Lookout to watch the sunset. I am so glad that I invested in my old Landcruiser back 2004. This track is NOT where you would take the family saloon. And a delightful evening it was too.

DAY 43 25.7.13 It was time to do chores. We had hoped to do the Sunset Cruise tonight, but it was booked out, however there were spots left for tomorrow night (Friday). And so we had booked in an extra night, and this left us with plenty of time on our hands to do washing, wash the floors, do the odd repair job, and generally sit, read and relax.
It also gave us plenty of time to drive to the wall of the dam, and after crossing it, descending to the delightful park on the bank of the Ord River. The first thing you see is the water spewing from side of the dam, and this is a small hydro electric power generator doing itís thing. You also notice the bright yellow canoes being launched as a group leaves for a trip down the river. Itís from here that other Ord River cruises depart. Then back across the wall to the bay where the Lake Argyle Cruise Boats anchor and passengers embark for their outings.
Finally back at the van, it was back to reading, editing and sleeping, before having dinner and walking up to the telephone box to phone our respective aged mothers. There is no signal at Argyle, and this is your only communication with the outside world unless you have a satellite phone, dish (for TV - altho my neighbours could get channel 7 ...... only), or are prepared to pay for wireless internet access from the resort.
Now, let me vent my spleen. A pet hate of mine, is Vouchers of ANY kind, whether gift, phone or whatever, that are a CASH replacement, that have an expiry date. It should be illegal. The card is worth the CASH amount, and cash doesnít expire. It is another ploy to grab and use your dollars, and then hope that you forget about it, and ensures that the company doesnít have to deliver. Itís immoral.
What is this all about? I had a phone card from my last trip in 2011 up the Gibb River Road. I know I had about $1.60 left on it. I inserted it into the phone, to be told that it had EXPIRED. Sure enough, in February 2013, my card had expired. Fortunately, we had just bought a couple from the store, and were able to make our calls ....... neither answered ..... one was engaged and the other went thru to message bank ...... not happy Jan.
And so, Annette went back to her book, and I, well I just kept editing .......

DAY 44 26.7.13 We had two new phone cards, that had already cost us a couple of dollars, and we had spoken to no-one ...... well Annette had spoken to her daughter-in-law, but our mums, well nope, not yet. And so we decided to walk up to the phone box and try again. Success.
Then Annette wanted a photo taken of her swimming in the resorts Infinity Pool. This is a pool where the water is filled to the very top, and then flows over into a spillway around the side and I guess gets pumped back into the pool. Itís all very exciting stuff here, as we try and fit in all these leisure activities.
More reading, editing and resting, and then, time for the Sunset Cruise.
After being bussed down to the jetty, we boarded the Argyle Durack, and the twin diesels burst into life and we were on our way. We were treated to birds, wallaroos, crocodiles - there are 30,000 in Lake Argyle, some growing up to 3 metres which is big for a freshie - and then the boat was nudged into the shore whilst our captain decided to feed the fish - lunchtime on Christmas Day had nothing on the frenzy in the water, as Rifle Fish, Silver Cobbler (Catfish), Sooty Grunter and others all competed for the bread that was being thrown into the water. Apparently Catfish used to bring about $6 a kg in the metro markets, and wasnít popular, and so the name was changed to Silver Cobbler, and immediately was snapped up for $28 per kg. Funny lot we people.
Meanwhile, a dingo strolled past a couple of hundred metres away - this piece of land was attached to the mainland.
More cruising, and then we stopped in the middle of the lake - well the bit we were in - itís 70 kms long and 40 kms wide at itís widest point - nibblies and drinks were broken out, and those who wished to go swimming, were invited to do so. The sun did itís thing and disappeared below the horizon, and the land around us changed colour, and day turned to night, and we returned to our launch point. A wonderful afternoon to finish our Argyle visit.

DAY 45 27.7.13 We had had a lovely time at Argyle, but it was time to move into another timezone. Just down the road about 15kms to the East of us, it was 1 1/2 hours later than it was here. Ridiculous, isnít it? In real terms, we are 3/4 hr later than Perth at Kununurra, and thatís the way they do the time on the Nullarbor. Doesnít work that way up here.

And so we hit the road, our target being Keep River National Park.We stopped at the border ands took the obligatory photos. The first speed sign over the border said that the speed limit in NT was 110 unless signed otherwise. !00 metres down the road, the next speed sign said 130. Go figure. The roads aren't good enough for those speeds IMHO (and I am not necessarily a believer in speed limits - idiots will run out of road anyway Ö.).
A few kms down the road, turned into the park. Now we had just spent 3 days without even once thinking about turning on the air con in the van. That was about to change. It was warm, very warm. But before that, we called into Cockatoo Lagoon. After a good wet season, this place is full of water and teeming with birds we are led to believe. But the last wet only produced half as much rain as average, and the Lagoon wasnít in good shape. There were still the lilies and a few flowers, and the bird population was lacking in numbers - mind you, it was the middle of the day, and early morning and evening is where itís at if you want to catch the local fauna. We shot our video, and headed on into the park. There are two campgrounds, the first one allowing generator use, and the second one at the other end of the park and no gennies. We settled into the first campground, feeling that we didnít really want to drag the van over a fairly corrugated road if I could help it, and of course being able to regenerate the batteries and running the air con would be a bonus.

After having not had a back problem for about 7 weeks, the stiffness had reared itís ugly head once more, restricting movement, and Annette doesnít do heat very well, and so we just crashed and relaxed for the afternoon.

DAY 46 28.7.13 The back was still playing up, and Annette was feeling out of sorts, but we decided that we would have a look and see what the park had to offer. I deflated the tyres by about 10 psi, and we headed out along the track. The park has a feel in places much like the Bungles. The rock formations are similar in construction, but the outbreaks look very different. We headed for the campground at the far end, and were surprised at how pleasant it was. There nothing wrong with ours either. There was a water tank which we didnít have, and on reflection, this is probably because the walks from this campground are all over 5 kms in length. There is another walk about halfway into the park which leads up a gorge to an aboriginal art site, but our afflictions were restricting us. We attempted part of one trail, but decided to turn back rather than tempt further physical problems. Again we rested, and I watched two young up and coming V8 drivers show the stars how itís done.

We have been without signal now for 5 days, and apparently we wonít have any for another week ay our rate of progress. And so we need to find a phone box, and check on our mums to make sure that they are ok. Oh, and we need to find somewhere that sells phone cards. Funny that ........

I have to say that I am amazed that Telstra hasnít taken advantage of the tourist trade by installing towers along the major highways, and the Gibb River Road. I realise that it is seasonal, but there are tens of thousands of nomads (and they are not all grey by ANY stretch of the imagination) up here at the moment, and they ALL use todays technology, both phone and internet. I wonder if the people who run the company have ANY idea of what happens outside their boardroom ......

DAY 47 29.7.13 We left the confines of Keep River NP, and approached the Duncan Road. A sign advertising the Zebra Rock Mine appeared and we decided to go and have a look at what it was all about.

An access road takes you onto the property just off the Duncan Road, and a winding track through a couple of gates takes you into their camp ground and shop. Apart from the rock, they also do Wetland tours on and around Lake Argyle. The rock? Amazing stuff. It is only mined in Australia, and this is the only mine in the world we are told. The rock is formed under extreme volcanic pressure, and there is no conformity as to how the layers are presented. There were two leases that had been all but totally mined out, and are now under the waters of lake Argyle, and this one which fired up about 4 years ago.

We hit the road again, and after travelling through some fairly flat grass country (this is the Savannah Way afterall), a range of hills appeared in front of us, with a 24 hour rest area, and we stopped and had lunch. We travelled on and after rejecting the next rest area, and missing a gravel pit, we found a spot beside the road to stop, have a nap, and spend the night. We are close to Timber Creek, and there is another rest area just down the road, but we like to be away from the maddening crowds where we can run the genny without feeling guilt, and enjoy the air conditioned comfort in the middle of the day. As I asked one incredulous camper, ďDo you have air con at home - this is my home, I live hereĒ.

And then Annette cooked a wonderful stirfry, and as we sat down to eat, commented on the gorgeous sunset behind us. Naturally, I turned to look, and upended my plate all over the table and floor .... some mothers DO have them ...... It WAS a beautiful sunset, we captured it, and I retrieved and and ate a beautiful red dust enhanced stirfry ........

DAY 48 30/7/13 We left our overnight campsite behind, and headed towards Timber Creek. First though, was the Gregory Tree. This is on the Victoria River a few kms down a fairly corrugated road. We followed a bicycle track wondering how the rider was coping with the undulations in the road. We arrived at the carpark to find the bike parked against a tree, and wondered who the rider might be, expecting yet another overseas tourist doing it in a manner very different to ours.

We found our way down to the tree, and discovered that the rider was in fact an Aussie, who was pedalling from Darwin to Port Hedland, and who had spent much of his travelling around Oz on a bike. Very interesting chap.

Oh yes, the tree ........ It was a boab, and carved with the arrival and departure dates of Gregoryís North Australia Expedition from the base camp here.by his artist Baines, and very proper printing it was too. There were also a couple of Boabs nearby which had instructions for another camp carved into them.

Back on the road, and a look at a campsite at Big Horse Creek, which had an elaborate boat ramp provided into the Victoria River, which was flowing outwards, we suspect the tide receding. Then on, past the Bradshaw bridge and into Timber Creek, where we booked into the caravan park and set up camp. A bit later we headed out to have a look at Policemans Point Lookout and rest Stop, the Escarpment Lookout over the town, and then onto the Bradshaw Bridge we had bypassed earlier.

The Escarpment Lookout features a monument to the Nackaroos. During World War II growing concerns over a Japanese invasion of northern Australia led to the formation of the 2/1st North Australia Observer Unit, a highly mobile reconnaissance unit led by local Aboriginal guides who knew the local landscape. The role of this unit was to report any enemy landings on isolated areas of the coastline. The unit was active in the Timber Creek and Victoria River areas, and was recognised in 1998 with this memorial to the "Nackeroos" being constructed Ė the nickname for those who served with this unique unit.

In 1996, the Department of Defence purchased Bradshaw Station, a large cattle property in the vicinity of Timber Creek. This land subsequently became Bradshaw Field Training Area, an 8700 km2 live fire training facility. In 2002, the 270m long Bradshaw Bridge opened, providing road access to the training area from the Victoria Highway. It is closed to non military vehicular traffic, but can be used for fishing. It was here that I stuffed up yet again. Whilst I was filming, Annette was talking to a guy who was fishing from the bridge, and who had worked at Albany Regional Hospital in the 70s. In the middle of the conversation, he caught a silver bream, and so Annette decided she would chuck in a line. The back door of the car decided that it didnít want to open, and so I left my gear and went to fix it - this was an old problem that I knew about ...... it wasnít THAT door, it was the other one - I have barn doors on my Cruiser. So I messed around trying to get that open, when Annette came back and said the bridge was too tall to use a lure from, and letís fix the door back at the caravan park. Back at the park, Annette opened the back door and asked me ďwhere is your camera?Ē ...... SHIT. Back in the car and a mad dash the 10kms back to the bridge, and our mate was still fishing and looking after my camera for me....... whew.
Dinner time, and we decide to eat at the pub. We had ordered and eaten 3 meals of Barramundi and salad over the past couple of weeks, and paid around $35 each time for the privilege - and it was gorgeous. And so we ordered it again, same price ....... I have NEVER sent a meal back to a kitchen in my life. Mine went back once, Annettes twice, and two hours later we left the pub, having been charged $18 each in compensation .... and it had still been very ordinary. A sour note to finish the day on.
Incidentally, Timber Creek was named in 1855 when the explorer Augustus Gregory used timber from the banks of the creek to repair his expeditionís boat. The first inhabitants were the Nagaliwurra and Nangali Aboriginal people, decendents of whom still live in Timber Creek.

DAY 49 31/7/13 We have been on the road for seven weeks now, and are struggling to come to terms with a sudden change of time zone. Despite that, we stumbled out of bed, and prepared to take a run into the Gregory National Park. This is a large park, and after discovering that the track I had decided on following was 70 kms long (after doing 45 kms to get to it and then return) and would take us 8 hours to traverse, we changed our mind, and set sail for the Bullito Homestead instead. The road instead of being the predicted corrugated track, turned out to be quite smooth, and wound through varying country landscapes.
We finally reached the Bullito Homestead which sits on the East Baines River. These days it is owned by the NT Parks and Wildlife Department, and the old house has itís walls adorned with hangers telling you all about the past history of the place. The nearby stockyards are handbuilt out of raw timber, and are a reminder of how tough things were in days gone by. Bullita was an outstation for the Durack family; they were firmly linked with cattle and the opening up of interior Australia in the 1880s. The name of one of the Duracks is carved into a nearby boab tree.
On the way in, we encountered a herd of Brumbies, a Walleroo and a dingo. We also passed a fenced off area not much bigger than a basketball court, and on closer inspection found a small sign indicating that this was an Aboriginal Secret Site.
Finally, we wound our way back into town, took a tour of the residential area (which is quite small), and returned to the caravan where we took a nap for the afternoon. This touring is hard work .........

NB. There are two servos in Timber Creek. BP (Diesel $2.05) and Mobil (Diesel $1.95). They stand 200m apart and are $0.10 difference in price.

DAY 50 1.8.13 Awoke to the realisation that I had videoed everything from the Escarpment Lookout EXCEPT the monument to the Nackeroos. And so we hooked up the van and headed back out there to do just that. The road to the top is pretty steep, and the van is heavy, and thank God for the turbo and 1st gear, because it took a bit of cog swapping and momentum to get there. But get there we did. For those of you who missed it, see the DAY 48 report to find out what I am talking about.

It was then back into town to the Police Museum - open 12-4 - and it was early - and the Croc Stock Shop which apart from souvenirs and tours, did Devonshire Teas - Pumpkin Scones for me and Plain Scones for Annette. Delish.

Now time to hit the road, and a fairly uneventful trip thru the flat grasslands before reaching the Joe Creek Picnic Area. This necessitates a drive of a couple of kms up a gorge basically, to the picnic area. There is an escarpment walk. We chose to do the first part of the climb, before resuming our journey.

We pulled into the Old Victoria River Crossing, which according to a couple of guys who had been there the year before, was not delivering any fish, there wasnít enough water, wheras last year, the water was flowing strongly. Even a mildly dry Wet Season can be disheartening it seems.

At this point in time, you are driving through some beautiful ranges, before reaching the Victoria River Roadhouse. Diesel and ULP $1.95

We chose not to stay at the caravan park, and instead found ourselves a nice little spot beside the road a few kms down the road, and settled down for a quiet read and sleep. I even set up the dish and watched the cricket ... was pleasant viewing for a change.

DAY 51 2.8.13 We were in no hurry to get away. I had been expecting to see the memorial to Noel Buntine at the junction of the Victoria and Buntine Highways, and when we reached there, it appears that the road had been re-aligned, because I recall it being on the other side. The Buntine Hwy was opened in October 1997. Noel Buntine dabbled in the truck driving industry for a few years but it all really started for him in the 1960s when he purchased a B61 Mack, named it the High and Mighty, and started hauling cattle to the Wyndham meatworks. By 1980 he had a fleet of 50 roadtrains, depots in three states and 120 employees. http://www.roadtransporthall.com/b/1059-00-buntine-noel.html

The rest of the days driving was just a cruise, and we decided that we again would not use the roadside camps set up by the authorities, and found ourselves a nice big gravel dump - it was more like a massive clearing some 1-200 metres wide - to park in, and we had it all to ourselves. It was only early, and we werenít far from Katherine, but it was an ideal place to again indulge in some reading, sleeping, and viewing of NASCAR NOW. And of course, the cricket ..... who the hell is the 3rd umpire?

There was some breeze, and the occasional heavier gusts - it was quite pleasant.

DAY 52 3.8.13 I was up early again, and spent the time editing the video taken so far. Annette appeared, I started organising breakfast, and then a gust of wind that ripped the top corner mounting apart on the awning at the front of the van. This was definitely something we didnít need, especially just as I was halfway through cooking the scrambled eggs, and I could see my cullinary efforts being ruined. We raced out, and having suffered something similar once before when the front assembly decided to disassemble itself, and therefore having an idea of how to put it back together again, we got the thing back in shape, but with no way of anchoring it to the top of the van. It was still attached at the bottom, and so I managed to roll it back up again, tightened up the centre pole, and hoped that it would hold as we drove into Katherine ........ and it did.

And so, now the important thing was, was the breakfast ruined? I cooked the toast, dumped the egg on top, and Mmmmm, not bad, even if I say so myself. Different to the Weetbix we usually had.

And so we packed up, and hit the road once again, arriving in Katherine at about 11am, and obtained a lovely spot under the trees WITH a look at the sky at Shady Shores Caravan Park, just 6kms out of town on the Katherine Gorge Road ..... AND we have signal ......

Annette jumped in the car and went back into town to do some food shopping, whilst I was told to stay ........ I get in the way apparently and she can shop a lot quicker without me it seems ............ Bugger, Iíll just have to watch the footy then

DAY 53 4.8.13 Bugger, the reason we hit the road when we did was to get away from the wet and cold weather in Albany, and hope that a change to warmer conditions would be beneficial with regard to an arthritic back condition. It worked, that is, it did until we reached Lake Argyle, and then I must have done something to reignite the problem. Since then, it has got slightly worse each day, and as a result has impacted on how far and where I can drag my camera and tripod. Climbing hills and doing dodgy tracks looks as though it could be out for me at least for the time being. And so with a;ll of this in mind, we decided to dispense with the sight seeing around Katherine, and head straight to Darwin. From there, we plan to drop the van and do day trips unhindered.

That having been said, we did some looking around Katherine today. We are staying at Shady Creek Caravan Park which is 6 kms out along the Katherine Gorge road, and so we decided firstly to take a run out and see what it is all about. There are a number of boat tours up the gorge available, and all entail a fair bit of walking. And so we decided that we would leave that until we come back through in a couple of weeks time (or whenever), and hope that the back has healed.

We then drove back into town and out to Springvale Station Homestead, which is purported to be the oldest original homestead building in the Northern Territory. It was built in 1879. There are some beautiful big old South American Raintrees which are a feature of the place, as well as the homestead and outbuildings.

And then out to NT Rare Rocks, which is a business run by an old prospector named Geoff, who has collected all of the stones and rocks on display from all over the NT. And an impressive display it is too. Annette added to her collection of ďtreasuresĒ, and we headed back to Low Level Nature Reserve. The river flows under the bridge and over rock bars, which forms pleasant little rapids. The locals use the area for picnic-ing and fishing, and it is safe to swim there as well. There are sandybanks and paperbark trees which create just a delightful atmosphere.

We called into and had a look at the Katherine Hot Pools before heading back to camp. Not a bad day all round.

And the cricket wasnít bad either ........

Darwin - Kakadu

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Updated 20.8.13

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