We really enjoyed Outback Qld but also looked forward to crossing that NT border again, no more cattle grid as you drive across and a few of the signs had changed.None of us really like the The Barkly stretch maybe for the only reason being it’s always been smack bang right in the middle of summer and pretty hot.This time we wanted to all enjoy it so we stopped more often and also set out on trying to find the old Barry Caves Roadhouse,we have a sticker from it back in the 80’s so it must of existed at one stage.Didn’t have much luck in finding it,unless the Barry Caves Truck Bay is where the roadhouse once stood,but it didn’t seem to be.
We made quite a few stops before and after the Barkley Homestead and our night was spent parked just near Threeways ,next day we headed down to Tennant Creek ,fueled up and stocked up on groceries and then went on to fill up with water near a park, while there we had the cops turn up, not for us but the fight that had just went on in the public toilets near us,one lady came out with a cut hand and a bloody mess everywhere,our youngest kids just sat there in the bus quite surprised as they hadn’t really experienced anything like that yet.
|Lake Mary Ann.|
|Tennant Creek Telegraph Station.|
On the way out of Tennant Creek we made a stop at Lake Mary Ann for a walk around ,then moved on to The Tennant Creek Telegraph Station,no one was there so we parked up in the empty car park.The place is unlighted with a spooky feel about it so the kids decided on a self guided night tour of the station while they did a bit of filming,A couple of bats a creaking door and a dark attic set the scene to allot of screaming and spurred on by all of them declaring they had left the main door shut that was now open!
|New Castle Waters.|
Over the next couple of days we made a quick stop off at Renner Springs,Elliott and then stopped over night at Newcastle Waters,a interesting place with history, it was once a important gathering place for drovers to rest up before continuing their gruelling cattle drive.A few of the original buildings like the old Junction Hotel and Jones Store are still standing and open for a look.
|New Castle Waters.|
Further on up the hwy was then Dunmara a roadhouse & camp spot.Daly Waters was the next stop for us it’s a pub with a difference it houses a huge collection of memorabilia and even a thong tree out the back!
There’s a camp spot out the side of the pub and site fees are very reasonable, it was quite busy while we were there so we just filled up with water at the showground nearby and drove just a few k’s up the road and parked at The old Daly
Waters Aviation Complex and airstrip where there was no one.It’s one of the oldest aviation structures in the NT and also played a big part in world war 2 .Inside the building on display are some interesting photos from over the years.
|The burnt down Green Park Tourist Complex.|
Larrimah was where we also stopped over night, only $20 for a powered site,they also have their own small zoo with snakes a couple crocs,emus and the list goes on and not to forget all the possums that came to life of a night.We spent a bit of time looking at them the next day and also checked out the Museum,originally a Telegraph building and also a few old historic sites around the town.Across the road from the park where we stayed is where a roadhouse and caravan park half stand originally called The Green park Tourist Complex allot of it burnt down after a fire a few years back, we explored what remains.
Mataranka Thermal Pools was next but not until we stopped off at Elsey cemetery where the resting place is of the many characters written about in Jeannie Gunn’s book “We of the Never Never” and also produced into a movie.On offer at the cemetery are copies of the book called “The Girl Who Talked to the Stars” dedicated to the memory of Dolly Bonson who was really Bett Bett the little Black princess and character in the book and movie “We of The Never Never”.A swim was what we were all really looking forward to,so we had a quick dip at the thermal pools at Mataranka then drove into town and parked for the night in the car park, a bit of fighting was happening that night but it all seemed to cease by midnight.All of the next day was spent in the thermal pools of Mataranka swimming in the nice 34 degree water,we spotted a freshwater croc sunbaking in the sun just a little further on up where the springs flow into the river he became the centre of attention with all of us tourists.By the Mataranka homestead also stands the a pine homestead that is a copy of the original and used for the movie “We of the Never Never”in the homestead there’s also a few artifacts and memorabilia from the movie.
Before leaving the area we also swam a Bitter Springs it’s a larger spring with more vegetation surrounding it and nice in a different way to Mataranka thermal pool with Bitter Springs you can float down stream a little and it has more of a natural setting.The car park into Bitter Springs could have become a nightmare though, if it was any busier as it lacked space for turning with a bus trailer,we now know why we were given funny looks driving in.
|Mataranka Thermal Pool.|
|This is a replica of the original homestead used in the movie “We of The Never Never”|
That night we drove until we reached Katherine and had our first take away meal in ages then parked in the back streets in a park for the night.
The next day we tried for accommodation at the showgrounds but with no luck! as a Rodeo was being held that weekend.We stayed on a night in the parking bay out the front and the next day met up with Karen and Daniel Askey -Doran and their four kids,friends from FB that are also travelling and on their way to WA.