Well, our window, unfortunately, isn’t fixed because an incorrectly sized window was sent in error and much as we have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Alice we decided to get a piece of Perspex cut and have duct taped it in place. We are now heading north to Darwin where we have arranged for the correct size window to be delivered there. Once again the roads are more or less straight and we are honestly just cruising along and singing along to some old favourite songs with no-one but ourselves to hear our very “out of tune” wailing!
Tonight we are at a camp by the side of the road with several others and as it is so warm and with no city lights to spoil the sky, we sat outside watching the stars which are so clear and sparkling. One of the towns around here Wycliffe promotes itself at the UFO capital of Australia so we were kind of disappointed that we didn’t catch a glimpse of a Martian or a Flying Saucer maybe!
Today we visited the renowned pub of Daly Waters where many years ago Qantas use to fly into the area to use the runway
and refuel. The pub is full of memorabilia along with many bras hung from the bar, foreign banks notes pinned to the wooden beams and a hundred other things. A very interesting place to have a meal or a refreshing drink but I wasn’t too impressed with the price of $15.00 for 2 small ciders! On a plus note the local Rodeo was on so Pete and I had a great time watching the bucking broncos and bulls and many a poor rider spilling onto the dirty and dusty ground. Even saw one fly against the metal bars of the fence and I am sure it must have hurt like hell!
The days are getting hotter now and the nights very warm which in turn means the insects are out in force as soon as it gets dark which is very early up here. It is near impossible to read a few pages in bed before turning the lights out as the bugs just constantly dive bomb you! My lap top screen is full of bug marks where I have swatted them. They appear to be able to crawl around the insect netting on the windows and find their
way in and there doesn’t seem much that we can do about it.
The small town of Mataranka was our stop for the day, famous for their amazing warm springs where we had a beautiful refreshing soak and chatted to the other tourists around us. The Bitter Springs were completely untouched and set in the bush and just brilliant. The next one we tried, Mataranka Springs was maybe one or two degrees cooler so we were able to stay in a lot longer before our skin started to shrivel! Mataranka and the springs are based around the Roper River and have fresh water crocodiles in the river which apparently rarely attack humans. However when the river floods the occasional salt water crocodile creeps up the Roper and the locals wait until the rangers have checked the river out and given them the all clear before they can use it again. I must admit I was a bit apprehensive but then saw the huge spiders, in their webs across the trees above where we were soaking, and was more concerned about them falling on to me than the crocodiles!
We are still travelling along kilometres and kilometres of long
straight roads but now we have lots of different shape termite mounds to look at. There are literally thousands of them and some witty fellow travellers have even stopped their cars and draped T-shirts etc around them making for some very funny sights.
Not much road kill around at the moment but what we do see is cleaned up pretty quick by the wedge tailed eagles which are very common. We saw one today with a snake between its claws flying away from us but we were unfortunately not quick enough to get the camera out.
We have just stayed two days with Pete’s cousin and husband in Katherine who made us so very welcome. We had a great time catching up and relaxing out on their deck until late in the evenings. During the day we explored the small town of Katherine (population 3,000) and took a boat tour along the Katherine Gorge including a fantastic refreshing dip in a water hole, even spotting a fresh water crocodile by the side of the river for a bit of added excitement!
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