North Please!

1 – 4 July 2021

We just loved Epenarra Station and with all the craziness going on in Australia it has been a welcome escape just sitting here without a care. Daily walks and rest without other people. Nice! It’s also interesting to see the station staff get on with the life of maintaining equipment and fences, water check runs and general station inspection. A lot goes on! Add a small community shop and there is always something to do. Richelle from the local community sold us a beautiful piece of artwork she had made. We are so proud to own this, thank you Richelle and Margo for helping.

5 July 2021

We left Epenarra Station at 9.15 am but not before saying goodbye to the people we had got to know. We plan to be back in August to see and help with their muster. The road from here took us north towards the Barkley Roadhouse. There were still sections under water from the rains 10 days previous. Lucky for us there were tracks around the water logged road sections.

Arriving at noon at the Barkly Homestead we were met with lines of caravans fuelling up. The lines were very long and there were many people just taking photos as they could not believe their length. Talking to a few people we were told they were rushing to Qld to get out of the territory. a quick survey of number plates revealed most to be NSW and VIC. We had heard a few days earlier, fuel sales had been restricted to 50l. Goodness, what have we come back to?

Not wishing to be amongst people too much we continued our journey north quickly. we continued north up the Tablelands Highway towards Cape Crawford. Stopped at Playford Creek Bridge for lunch. About 55kms up the highway the road becomes a single lane.

Can be very scary as the edges are sharp and in places washed away.

6 July 2021

Arrived at Cape Crawford at 11:30 am where we decided to take on fuel and stay to catch up on washing etc. We enjoyed long hot showers and did 3 loads of washing. Sadly there is no Telstra signal in town. We met V&J in their Scubmaster who arrived after us. They have central tire inflation. So very cool.

7 – 10 July 2021

Bats during the night.. splattered with bat poo that needed cleaning off in the morning. Could have been worse. Moved to Caranbirini Conservation Reserve which has a lost city rock formation. This route takes you quite close t the Lead mine of Mcarthur. It is enormous and the mine trucks travel from here to Bing Bong Point with their loads.

We liked Caranbirini Conservation Reserve so much that we stayed for 3 days. On one of those days, to our surprise, Martin and Renate in their MAN were able to drop in for a quick hi. Our surprise as they were the last heading to the cape in Queensland. They certainly get around! This time headed for Kununurra and WA.

We did multiple walks around the lost city including the really big one. Was amazing to see the city from so many angles, a good experience. Also, a quick trip to Borroloola to get some fresh food as Martin had said their fresh veggies come in on certain days.

Must thank again Terry Hill for his kindness back at the Finke Desert Rally. A fellow photographer who has been very inspirational for Alison in picking up her stills camera again. To see some of his work check out – With Terry’s new inspired enthusiasm where is our Caranbirini Conservation Reserve

11 July 2021

Today we headed into Borroloola for top-up water to make sure we have enough milk and fish veggies to get us to Katherine.

From here we headed down Ryan’s Bend Rd, onto Nathan River Rd, and up to the Southern Lost City camping ground.  Road quite corrugated (washboard like) with very rocky sections, bull dust and big whoops (for big air moments). We found the campground to be very busy, with lots of caravans and camper trailers and a few tents. We found a reasonable spot, which gave us the charging sun we needed.

Amazing how far the lost city stretched out. Spoke to our neighbour who was flying a Phantom 4. They were from Rockhampton and were leaving the next morning.

Alison went for a quick walk around the lost city walking circuit. After She returned we sat outside in the shade where it was a bit cooler. After the sunset, it eventually cooled down to be quite a cool night.

12 July 2021

This morning there were many flights by helicopter over the lost city. We guessed they were from Lorella Springs and must have numbered more than a dozen.

We headed off for an enjoyable walk around the track and took lots of photos. On return, we found the campground was emptying, and by the end of the day, there were only a few of us left. Peaceful. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, although it was quite warm again, until after sunset. Photo Gallery Here

13 -16 July 2021

This morning we headed further into Limmen National Parks north and found a lovely camp on the edge of the Limmen Bight River. Stopping at one of many billabongs along the way we found a Black Headed Python, it seemed oblivious to us and carried on its daily hunt for frogs and small fish.

Not far from our camp was a private mine haulage road. They mine iron ore in an area the government didn’t declare a national park and the haulage trucks’ exhaust brakes are a horrible reminder of their movement through the park. It interrupts the peace for many many kilometres around the private road.

17 – 18 July 2021

This morning we left and sometimes peaceful camp and headed off to Towns River Camp. Shortly down the rod, we crossed the private haulage road.

Now that the school holidays have finished we hoped camping may be a little less crowded. To our joy, we found a spot to ourselves with plenty of room between campers. We also met a lovely couple Pasquale and Helena who Alison was able to give a droning class. They seemed excited about what they learned.

19 July 2021

Today we left Towns River Camp quite late. Sadly, even with other space available on the riverfront, we had 2 campers squeeze themselves right up close to us.

We decided to move along to another spot which was just lovely. It was named Mountain Camp and there was just 1 other camper there at the time.

20 – 22 July 2021

Today was exciting as we were headed onto Mataranka Springs to catch up with Mianne and her awesome (yes I said that twice) coffee. We also met a lovely couple Matthew and Gillian with a 6×4 vehicle. Interesting they reported the 6×4 did not perform as well as they had hoped in soft sand, something we had never guessed. We stayed for a great coffee and lunch before heading to Katherine to fill up with groceries.

As it was 7 pm before we finished shopping we found a rough camp on the outskirts of town. The next day we moved onto our usual camping spot near Katherine Gorge.

We were sad to visit Katherine Gorge as the area around the visitors centre now has a very large flying fox population, the main walking trail is closed and the place generally felt in disrepair. Strange for a national park that has so much money from tours.

Over the next few days, we topped up food, meat, water and fuel.

23 – 24 July 2021

Moved onto Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park today after catching up with friends from Bundaberg. Seems like everyone is travelling at the moment. The day was bloody hot until the respite of sunset. Strangely, we had no internet until the sunset and during the night it came in disappearing just after sunrise.

With the coolness of the morning, we decided to walk the gorge. About an hour later with the heat building, we headed back to the top of the gorge. It was here we found a spot with intermittent internet. This spot also got better as the sun went down. Decided to camp there for the night, and was happy to report no traffic at all. Lovely!

25 July 2021

Alison wanted to re-visit the magnetic termite mounds in Litchfield National Park today as we headed towards Mary River. Interestingly, the site we experienced in 2006 was not as remarkable as remembered.

We did 2006 find another site we visited in 2006, but this time due to long grass (no recent burn in the area) it didn’t look as great as last time. As we left it so late in the day, we camped on Marrakai Rd. In hind site a nice spot.

26 – 27 July 2021

With an early start this morning we headed off to Mary River National Park. We stopped at the Purple Mango Brewery for coffee along the way.

Spent the next 2 days exploring Mary River National Park catching the sunset at Couzens Lookout. Alison managed to get a great photo of a croc.

28 -31 Jul 2021

We felt as the heat continue to build today so we thought we might head to the beach, or at least Darwin. The first stop for the tour today was the Adelaide River Inn.

The next stop was a sport we visited in 2006 where we were chased by a crocodile on the main dam wall – Fogg Dam. Interesting, you can now not walk the dam wall as we did.

Happily, we found a lovely camping spot near Gunn Point where we are catching up on admin jobs, web paging and the world again.