Sunday, August 12, 2018

Barkly Homestead to Bitter Springs then Darwin via Edith Falls

Departing the salubrious Barkly Homestead we continue West another 200km before reaching 3-ways. Here the East-West Barkly Highway meets the South-North Stuart Highway. Some sort of milestone or intermediate goal is reached. A brief stop at the 3-Ways roadhouse for expensive & mediocre coffee and expensive fuel. Then we press onwards and northwards. Easy driving on cruise control set at 115km/hr - way under the 130km limit. You can tell the NT drivers, they're the ones who pass you doing 150km/hr.

Roadside lunch at Elliot amongst the peacocks. Making good time we decide to head for Mataranka and Bitter Springs. In the end - after 8 hours on the road, we've covered 740km - our longest day yet!

Set up camp in the caravan park and then the short stroll to Bitter Springs. Another remarkable place to add to our already impressive list. The same aquifer that feeds Lawn Hill Creek and the Gregory River over in Quuensland is responsible for the springs in this area as well. They emerge from the ground at 33 degrees, crystal clear and wander gently thru the bush. Perfection after a long, dusty day on the road. Drop in at one spot and then drift gently with the current down stream where you can climb out via a convenient staging point. You then wander back up the concrete pathway to the start and repeat the cycle.

Locals and those in the know arrive with floating chairs, tubes and "noodles" - some come with built in stubby holders for their cool drinks. Very civilized. After a couple of laps and having developed the familiar "prune" look on our extremities - we retreat to camp for dinner. We fall asleep listening to Radio National....

This morning, after breakfast and packing up, we return for a morning bath. In the early morning light with even fewer people the experience is even more pleasurable.

Back on the road, pausing in Katherine for coffee at a trendy pop-up cafe on the river bank. (Yes - the Melbourne Hipster Apocalypse has reached Katherine!).
Still - the coffee was excellent and at a more reasonable price.

A quick supermarket shop for picnic lunch and on to Edith Falls. This has to be amongst our favourite places - another idyllic swimming place. Clearly it's fame has spread and the caravan park has already full, with the campsites rapidly filling.
We will return later in the week and should be there by late morning, hopefully ensuring we get a campsite.

And so to Darwin, arriving late afternoon. A few days of R&R before we contemplate the road south to The Alice and beyond.

No comments:

Post a Comment