In the morning, the drip tray under the tap on the water tank is attracting a multitude of birds. Flocks of tufted pigeons, Galahs and Zebra finches all take their turns at having a drink and a bath. Scattering raucously whenever we make a move to pack up and leave.
On the road early – we soon knock off the 70 km to the Stuart Highway. For some reason it feels like a major milestone on our journey and we pause to take photos before refueling at the roadhouse.
A weird phenomenon with these remote roadhouses. The front desks, restaurants and bars all appear to be staffed by young European women traveling around OZ, who seem to end up working for weeks/months at one of these remote roadhouses. Meanwhile back in the UK and Europe young Aussies are also working behind the counters in bars and restaurants. Cosmic balance.
Barreling up the Stuart Highway towards Darwin we cruise at a steady 100/110 km an hour. The highway in is signposted at 130km but experience has proved that traveling at speeds in excess of 120km/hour for any protracted length of time results in a) burnt out tyres, and b) terrible fuel consumption. Most of the traffic (caravans, camper vans, freight trucks etc) travel at about 100km/hour. Only the occasional sedan blasts past at 130km/hour plus.
After 400km for the day we reach Dunmarra. A small roadhouse with a camping area, hot showers, a swimming pool, a bar and a restaurant. That will do us. Pitch tents then swim. Followed by happy hour at the pub. Free camping sites on the Stuart Highway are few and far between. Still it's only $6.50 per person for a camp site without power. Bargain. In any case they make their money out of us at the bar and the restaurant, where we treat ourselves to grilled Barramundi with chips and salad. A pleasant change form our usual fare of Cous Cous / powdered mashed potatoes, beans and tuna. We are served by a young French girl who has very little English but a charming smile. We retire to bed replete and happy.