Brisbane to Darwin by Bike - Part 4 - Into the Northern Teritory

Australia's flag
Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory
August 28th 2013
Published: August 28th 2013EDIT THIS ENTRY

14th August 2013- Day 22
Distance Traveled today : 100km
Total : 1979km

Late start as I made three sandwiches to take today. So wasn't on the road until 8:30am. Passed a burnt out car not too far from Mt Isa. Still some more hills just past Mt Isa but not as bad as the earlier ones. Fairly uneventful day as I took things fairly easy, gear changes on bike heaps better after service. The vegetation is still quite a thick and colourful scrub although the hills have gone. Once I arrived at the rest area I helped another man get a couple fan belts on his bus, got offered tea. Gave myself a large blister trying to get tent pegs in ground. Another dumped car at this rest area. Warm evening.


15th August 2013 - Day 23
Distance Traveled today : 91km
Total : 2070km

Fairly early start for camping as I was on the road just before 8am. I had 9 L of water / orange juice for this and the previous day and I could have done with even more as it is quite hot. Road was fairly flat all the way so an easy day apart from the heat. Arrived at Camooweal at 1pm, and got a room at Camooweal Driveway - $45, air con is struggling to cool the room.


16th August 2013 - Day 24
Distance Traveled today : 100km
Total : 2170km

I got to the border fairly early as it is only 13km out of town. So after just over 2000km I'm finally in the NT. After the obligatory photo I continued. Most of today was going through the flat grass fields. Unfortunately the wind worked against me all day so it was hard going. I got to Avon Downs at around 1pm and rested for a couple of hours. Heard about a couple who are walking the same route pushing a trolley with supplies - I didn't pass them so they must have started later. I ended up using the water there even though there was a sign saying water may not be suitable for drinking (sounded indefinite - and it tasted like tap water). Well because of that I'm in fairly good shape with the water / orange juice I have left and managed to drink 6L today, even though I'm behind where I wanted to be by 35km. Decided to push on and do another 30km instead of camping at Avon Downs. Spotted a dingo by a water hole, and it ran away as soon as seeing me. Once I made the 100km it was time to find a spot for camp and I soon found and followed some tire marks into the bush and found a spot what looks like a river bed. Nice spot for tent, only downside are the flies, so I climbed into the tent. Sandwich for dinner, hopefully the winds will be better tomorrow. Felt hot and tired in the tent.


17th August 2013 - Day 25
Distance Traveled today : 102km
Total : 2272km

Flies where waiting outside the tent for me, there are more and more persistent here than anywhere else on the trip so far. I was on the road just before 8am. The wind was still there but not as consistent as yesterday. When I was passing Soudan station I thought I would ask if I could get some drinking water. A lady came to the fence and said that it wouldn't be a problem, so I was back to having 10L of drinks, plus I was able to wash out the bottles as I dropped one on to the sand in the morning. As a bonus I was also able to buy drinks from their store, so got a couple of sports drinks and a can of coke. The station is very neat, with green grass everywhere and tidy buildings. They have cattle. Today's terrain alternated between the grass plains and scrub, with more scrub and quite tick later in the day. At one break I met a lovely couple who are driving to Darwin, and are going to cycle back. They mentioned that the couple walking are doing it with bare feet! They treated me to some tea and a mandarin. I stopped at the abandoned Wunara store, it has a great veranda and I decided to swap the front and back tires as the back one is worn carrying most of the weight.So I ended up there for over an hour. Once on the road I spotted a brown lizard with spots running off the road and onto the rocks - if it was on the rocks it would have been very hard to spot. I ended up setting up camp at an abandoned homestead, cereal for dinner. Despite all the liquids consumed (6L) I still feel thirsty. Only 60km to go tomorrow, looking forward to a shower and some proper food.


18th August 2013 - Day 26
Distance Traveled today : 61km
Total : 2333km

Couldn't sleep until a few hours before sunrise and then slept in. Woke up right on sunset, but not a big deal because of the short distance today. Cloudy for the first 30 minutes in the morning so it was a bit cooler. Today was a lot quicker going then the last couple of days, all through scrub. A dumped van at Wonarah bore, looked like it had been rolled. Just 5km from the homestead a couple slowed down their car to see if I was ok and needed anything, that's only about the 3rd time anyone has made that sort of effort. I arrived at Barkly Homestead at around midday. First shower for in the last 3 days, burger for lunch and then fish and chips for dinner. Spent most of the day resting. This homestead was opened up in 1984, quite neat and well organized. The rooms where all full so its sleeping in the tent again tonight. Lots of birds around the homestead and mosquitoes also.


19th August 2013 - Day 27
Distance Traveled today : 117km
Total : 2450km

Finally adjusted time to NT time. Fairly late start as I waited forever for sandwich. Was quick going all morning at 20kmph to the first rest area. The scrub the last few days has been thicker and quite colourful ranging from greens, yellows, whites and grays. Surprisingly I haven't seen any animals and not many birds either, not even road kill in the NT. I guess it is because of the dry environment here??? After lunch I slowed down somewhat struggling to keep going at 20kmph, I think the heat got to me. Had a funny reaction from an oncoming motor cyclist, he came to a complete stop in the middle of the road and just kept looking at me, I waived but he didn't react so I kept going. Camping at 41 Mile Bore. There are a number of feral cats here, the first I've seen on this trip and they don't seem particularly scared of me. I climbed the left overs of the bore for an aerial view of the sunset. Very warm in tent when I first climb in to escape from the flies for the first couple of hours.


20th August 2013 - Day 28
Distance Traveled today : 149km
Total : 2599km

On road just after 8am. First it was flat then 30km or so out of Three Ways gentle hills appeared. Stopped at Three Ways for lunch and was thinking of staying over night but cheapest room was over $100! So decided to continue to Banka Banka station. Just like in Barkley homestead they don't stock much - no cereal or cordial, the QLD roadhouses where heaps better stocked. Slightly more traffic on Stuart Highway. Finally met the first cyclist David at the rest area. He has been going all the way from Melbourne. We passed some great rocky scenery, and a steep downhill section which was good fun. Got to Banka Banka at around 6pm. Its a well organized place, owner doesn't charge cyclists, lots of caravans here too. Good to have a shower, and David shared his meal with me as he carries all his food.


21st August 2013 - Day 29
Distance Traveled today : 154km
Total : 2753km

Very windy night. Climbed the hill overlooking the camp. Nice view of the station and the surrounding rocky hills. Good conditions for cycling today - cloudy, tail wind and cooler temperature. Terrain was quite varied with hills, rocky outcrops, scrub and grass plains. Had a burger for lunch at Renner Springs had trouble fitting it in. Continued on until Elliott and got to see a couple of kangaroos - the first in the NT. Some of the houses on the outskirts seem to have been abandoned and ransacked. Arrived around 6pm, the first caravan park was closed, however the BP took us in. Finally this roadhouse has a good range of food. The roadhouse manager told us that there used to be trouble between the Aborigines from the North Camp and South Camp but then the elders asked for alcohol restrictions and things are a lot better. Lots of stray dogs around. Also met some German backpackers whose car had broken down, and now they had to leave it at the garage as they told them it is in repair able and needed a new engine. Couldn't believe how much luggage they had with them! They where waiting for a bus out of Elliot.


22nd August 2013 - Day 30
Distance Traveled today : 154km
Total : 2907km

Despite all the warnings from Caravan people Elliot turned out fine. On the way out went through the "North Camp", similar to the one on the opposite end of town. Quite a cool day and cloudy until about midday. The trees today got a lot taller it has suddenly become like cycling through a forest. Lunch at Dunmarra just an ice block and snickers. Then I pushed on to Daly Waters to the famous pub. Dinner was great consisting of Baramandi and a salad bar. Fairly sleepy tonight.


23rd August 2013 - Day 31
Distance Traveled today : 94 km
Total : 3001km

Late start as had a look around the Daly Waters pub one last time before leaving. Windy morning as has become the norm lately. The vegetation is becoming more of a lush green colour. Spotted 3 sets of black cockatoos with their brilliant red tail markings. Arrived at Larrimah just after 2pm. Finally got a room at the Pink Pentha Pub. Finally did the laundry and had a look around the zoo. They have a pair of quite tame emu's - they look huge up close, some kangaroos / wallabies, crocs both salt and fresh water, and a large collection if birds including the black cockatoos I had seen earlier. Quite an interesting place to see some of the animals I have passed up close. Burger for dinner.


24th August 2013 - Day 32
Distance Traveled today : 80km
Total : 3081km

Early start since I was in a room so was on the road before 8am... More of the brilliant green forest, lots of birds of prey gliding above the highway something which I haven't seen since Queensland. Passed a bridge with a green field underneath and cattle grazing and two huge birds took off in the distance - either Brolga's or maybe Jabiru??? Had a long rest at the rest area - they are far and few here, before arriving at Mataranka at around noon. Lunch and then some shopping at the first true supermarket that I have seen in the NT after 1000km! Then off to Bitter Springs, stayed at the Mataranka Cabins and Camping. After setting up camp I headed off to the springs with a floating noodle. The springs are part of a river where you jump in one end and float downstream. Fantastic views out of the water of palms, trees, dragoon flies flying just above water level and spider webs with spiders slightly higher. I ended up doing three loops, the water is 33 degrees C, so it actually feels cold when getting out, and it is crystal clear so I wish I had a snorkel and mask. Did a loop walk around the springs in the afternoon, lots of small kangaroos or wallabies jumping away.


Tot: 0.166s; Tpl: 0.014s; cc: 14; qc: 70; dbt: 0.0402s; 1; m:jupiter w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 1.7mb