Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Week 9

Wednesday - Day Trip to Wallaroo (just 49 kms away) to check out what has changed?

"Not Much" 

However, after an enquiry at the Wallaroo Bowls Club we learned that the Bowls Club and the Croquet Club are relocating next to the golf club.

The new $4m Community Sports Complex will include fully enclosed / inside greens which are due to be opened in October this year - 'smashing'.

Thursday - After another cold night and a couple of Rogers asthma attacks (not good) we made an 'executive' decision to head for home (bit of a disappointment as we wanted to spend about a week in the area)

Luckily we were only 200 kms from home, so we set off around 9:30 am and had morning tea at Port Wakefield Bakery. After a 'mandatory' shopping stop at Holco Meat Wholesalers at Cavan, we arrived home in the early afternoon. After unpacking the caravan we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at our favorite Chinese Restaurant.

Hopefully we can catch up with all our family and firends soon


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Week 8

Wednesday – Last night the temperature dropped to around 13 deg Cel (brrrrrrrrrr) and we broke out the quilt which we haven’t used since we were last in Alice. I guess we were spoilt in Darwin when the overnight temp was 21 – 23 degrees.
Nola is off to the local Hair & Beauty this morning (vanity therapy) while I attempt to recover ½ tonne of red dust from the Touareg.

Thursday – Off to bowls again today. This time its social bowls at the Alice Springs Memorial Club at 1:00 pm. But before that Roger had a Major Disaster to contend with . . . the battery in the TV remote control died!!! (no problem the local two dollar shop was able to help out)

We found out that The Ghan was due to arrive this morning from Darwin, so with camera in hand it was off to the Alice Springs Railway Station

The Ghan

The Ghan Arrives

The Ghan Locomotive

With buses, coaches and railway staff waiting the Ghan arrived with two locos and twenty nine carriages behind. Numerous people were busily taking photos and Roger got told off for walking in front of the loco!!

Friday - Lazy day for both of us although 'I' did give the 4WD a wash (first for three weeks).

Lawn Bowls at the Memorial Club was a bit of a disaster to say the least. Poorly organised and apart from all the interstate visitors, no one stayed back to have a drink (they just vanished)

Nola & I lost both our own team games but it didn't really matter as the scores weren't recorded or even mentioned and no prizes up for grabs. 

I knew my team was in BIG trouble when;

  1. They made me skipper and
  2. Our lead bowler put his first bowl down . . .  before he had even rolled the Jack!!!!
As we only had a couple of days left before roughing it again, we treated ourselves to a $27.00 p/head Seafood Buffet (All U Can Eat) at the Alice Springs Casino. (any savings we had on the meal, we gave back on the poker machines)

Lasseters Casino

Saturday – Nola & I decided to give lawn bowls a miss today (after our last experience) and we went to the Old Timers Annual Fete. This event is attended by hundreds of people every year and is a huge fundraiser for the Old Timers Retirement Village. Everything from food stalls, books, furniture, bric-a-brac, art and craft stalls

How much for this old rag?

They even had a huge truck load of gifts donated by the local businesses which ended up on their Chocolate Wheel Stand. Naturally Nola had to have a go at that – you guessed it, lucky Nola won a large banquet fry pan, plus a couple of other small gifts!

Winners R Grinners

Sunday – Last day in Alice Springs and we left at a respectable time - 9:15 am which is the latest time we have left anywhere (well it was Sunday)
Our original plan was to get to Desert Oaks Rest Stop . . . just 170 km south of Alice. After arriving at around eleven . . ish, we then decided to push on as far as we could. We ended up at Cagney Park Station which is about 150 km north of Coober Pedy. Unfortunately there’s not too much to see along the Stuart Highway (lots of ‘nothing’ to be precise)

Monday – We left around 7:45 am determined to get some kms behind us.

We stopped at Coober Pedy for coffee and mandatory photo shoot;

Big Blower Truck (in the background stupid!)

Creative Signage (read the small print)

Further down the Stuart Highway we topped at Glendambo where we had lunch & refuelled.

We arrived at Lake Hart in the early afternoon where we had;
  1. No Water
  2. No Power
  3. No Mobile Phone,
but we did have FULL Broadband / Internet Service???

Lake Hart

Lake Hart Wildflowers

Tuesday - After our free night at Lake Hart we hit the bitumen again. First stop was at Port Augusta for fuel and some shopping. Unfortunately we picked up a screw in one of our caravan tyres and now we had to extend our stop for puncture repairs.

No problems - dropped off the tyre to Beaurepairs / went shopping / lunch at Macca's before moving on again.

We're heading to Port Broughton tonight, but made a quick diversion to Caputo's Seafood at Port Pirie. This place has been there forever (well just celebrated sixty years in business) and is right along the local Fishermans Wharf. Two meals of garfish and one meal of flathead (yummy) we hit the road towards our next destination Port Broughton.

This place is an old favorite of ours, having spent numerous long weekends and holiday here at Nola's parents Ron & Molly. They had a shack on the Fishermans Bay Road and a bondwood boat that Ron had built himself.

Fond memories here at 'Broughton' with countless days fishing for garfish with the father-in-law and other family members.

Arrived at Port Broughton Caravan Park around 3:30 pm and we'll probably stay here for a couple of days. 

Friday, 5 August 2011

Week 7

Wednesday – Leaving Katherine early (8:10 am) we arrived at Victoria Creek Roadhouse at around 11:30 am and picked out a nice flat and shady site. 
·         No Mobile Phone,
·         No Internet
·         No Diesel Fuel (although the tanker is due in tonight)

Victoria River Roadhouse
Although the amenities are basic, the park is located on the Victoria River and alongside the Gregory National Park.
The Victoria River Roadhouse had this interesting sign outside;
New Ownership / New Wife
The terrain around here is very rugged and spectacular;

Victoria River

We decided against walking down to the riverbank from the caravan park as the grass in this area was pretty high. This proved to be a good decision as a four metre Croc was sighted down there just yesterday! Because the Territory has had a BIG wet season this year (over three metres of rain) there are still salt water crocs all over the place. Just over a week ago a woman was bitten on the neck by a small ‘salty’ while swimming in Berry Hot Springs!

Thursday – Leaving the caravan at Victoria River Roadhouse we’re off towards Timber Creek (you’ll have to look that one up on Google Maps) 94 km to the west. Arriving at around 10:30 am we decided to treat ourselves to tea / coffee and home-made scones (yummy) at The Croc Shop.

The Croc Shop

This town also has a caravan park of sorts, plus its own reside ‘salty’. They have plenty crocs in the river all year round. I’m told there’s one every hundred metres, but I didn’t feel like challenging that survey.

After lunch we took a drive down the road to see the Old Victoria Creek Crossing which was stunning. Although this crossing is no longer used it is a popular place for tourists and fishing (no camping allowed)

Old Victoria River Crossing

Too Cold for a Skinny Dip

Nola was curious about some yellow flowering tree that had pods on it. We both haven’t a clue what it would be???

Botanist Bradley

Yes, we know its not an banana

This town also has a caravan park of sorts, plus its own reside ‘salty’. They have plenty crocs in the river all year round. I’m told there’s one every hundred metres, but I didn’t feel like challenging that survey.

Just down the road a bit we found an access road to the Victoria River. Definitely 4WD only and we also found a couple who had been camped there for about a week;

Top Spot here . . . . Mate

Our last stop was at Gregory’s Boab Tree (after Australian explorer Augustus Gregory) who compted exploration in this area in 1855-56;

Gregory's Boab Tree

Gregory Boab Tree

And of course . . . everyone loves twins;

 Everyone loves Twins

Crocodile Hunter?

Last stop at Timber Creek for lunch at the pub, before heading back to camp.

Friday – Yes we’re ‘On the Road Again’ (good name for a song eh?)

After refuelling at Katherine / shopping at Katherine we’re headed back to Mataranka just a 100km south. This time we decided to stay at the Mataranka Territory Manor which has nice shaded & level sites, plus the bonus of a swimming pool and licensed restaurant;

Territory Manor Restaurant

Drink O'clock

We blew the budget on the first night with a meal at the restaurant . . .  excellent.

Saturday – We checked out all the local places we missed on the way up to Darwin, including Mataranka Homestead (not as nice as Bitter Springs though) and also Elsey Nat. Park.

The Territory Manor has its own Barra Feeding at 9:30 am & 1:00 pm each day. I managed to get some good photos of the Barra Feeding and Nola even got into the act!!!!

Roger . . .  Get the landing net!

But who need a fishing rod?
Sunday -  After a leisurely stay at Mataranka / Territory Manor, it was time to hit the road again. With an early start today we decided to put some kms behind us. We only intended to get to Elliott, but as we arrived there at 1:00 pm we had lunch and legged it to Banka Banka Station.

Historical Plaque

Waste Not - Want Not

A True Rural Setting
Yes, I know 567 km in one day is a lot more than the 313 km (to Elliott) we had originally planned, but at least we had a wonderful campsite.
Banka Banka Station is over 150,000 km in size and this campsite is a must for every caravanner. Good level sites, plenty of spring water any the amenities were kept clean and tidy.

Monday – Heading southwards again we found a Free Camp to stay at. Only toilets and non-drinking water, but what do u expect for zero dollars? We had ¾ tank of water on board so at least we could have a hot shower in the morning – wrong. We found that our water tank meter is a bit ‘dodgy’.
I reckon the float is sticking to the side of the tank and when water drops, it still records ¾ full and now that we know this, we should be OK in the future?
TuesdayShort trip today (200 km) south down to Alice Springs. We stopped at Aileron to take a picture of Aileron Woman, as we missed this on the way up to Darwin;

We decided to give the G’day Mate Caravan Park a try as this was somewhat cheaper than McDonnell Ranges. However when we arrived at 9:15 am we were told they couldn’t accommodate us unless we had a 13 – 14 foot caravan!

They offered us an ensuite site @ $40.00 per night (no thanks). Anyway to cut a long story short . . . . we ended up at McDonnell Ranges Cvn Pk, where they have much better facilities. I guess u only get what u pay for?

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Week 6

Wednesday - Leaving Douglas Daly Tourist Park behind us, we're off to Katherine again via Pine Creek. The local General Store is run by Eddy Toy and his family. Eddy Toy was born in Pine Creek and went to school with a food friend of ours . . . Alan Gold. After introducing ourselves Eddy got his daughter to take a picture of us outside his store;

Eddy, Nola & Roger

The Pine Creek Museum also had pictures of Eddy & Alan in Fancy Dress (at school);

Fancy Dress - Eddy & Alan

While we were at Pine Creek we also went to the Railway Museum where someone wanted to 'play trains'.

Some men never grow up!

'All Aboard'

When Roger had finished playing with his trains, we continued on to the Low Level Caravan Park at Katherine. After setting up camp, shopping etc. we were again off to the Bowls Club (some things never change). Well would u believe it - Wednesday Night Bowls (Pairs) were on! We both played pretty well and ended up winning the competitin and two chooks from the Red Rooster sponsor.
Thursday & Friday - A couple of laydays for the Bradley's (shopping, washing etc) and we have decided to stay until next Wednesday so that we can bowl in the Katherine Bowls Carnival which runs from Saturday through to Monday. We don't have high expectations but they were looking for another team for an even draw (no byes). We had a meal at the Katherine RSL Club and u couldn't jump over the chicken schnitzel.

Saturday  - Played two of our six games. We got a Silver Medal in both games (yes, we lost) which was a bummer, but we only lost the first game on the last end . . . . . . . . after leading for most of the game  (Boo Hoo / Sob Sob)

Sunday / Monday - Won two out of the reamaining four games which was an improvement but not good enough to get into the winners circle. Katherine Bowls Club only have ONE penant side (open gender) and they drive 300 km to Darwin to play!

When they're finished playing it's another 300 km drive home!!!!!!

Since the end of the Tour de France, Katherine has caught Cadel Evans Fever. As Cadel was born in the town has now errected large banners which are proudly displayed as u enter Katherine.

Click on this link for details. . . Cadel Evans Birthplace

Tuesday – Lay Day, Shopping and Packing and all the boring stuff u do before moving on.
We were undecided as where we would be on Wednesday. Originally we were heading East to Borroloola (almost into the Gulf of Carpentaria) but speaking to the Information Centre and another caravanner, we found out that there wasn’t too much to see or do there?
We’ve now decided we’ll head West to Victoria River & Timber Creek for a couple of days. It means backtracking through Katherine, but we have plenty of time left before heading home.

Everything is BIG in the Territory

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Week 5

Wednesday – Nola needs some Retail Therapy (without Roger) while I update our Blog. Bowls again @ Humpty Doo BC

Thursday – We did a tour of the East Point Military Museum followed by coffee at Cullen Bay Harbour and then onto the Charles Darwin National Park.

Another Jeep for John

 Big Tank

Big Gun

Big Bullets

Big Head

 Friday – We drove to Fogg Dam at Adelaide River where there was an abundance of birds, but Roger left his camera at caravan park (outside van) but luckily it was there when we got back (phew). We had a problem with car fridge power supply (it died), but as most businesses were closed due to public holiday (Darwin Royal Show) we had a bigger problem. Bowls again @ Humpty Doo BC (grudge match with Bert Wells from our club) - Nola & Roger won by 2 shots
Saturday – Picked up new power supply from camping shop / had lunch with old friends Ken & Heike (from Adelaide) / washed, cleaned and packed up van ready for next leg of our trip.
Sunday – Off to Litchfield Park today.

Cafe Area

Our Camp Site
Only a short trip down the Stuart Highway / through town of Batchelor and we arrived around
11:00 am. After setting up our van again (very nice site) and lunch, we visited the giant Magnetic Termite Mounds. Unfortunately Florence Falls was packed out with bloody tourists – we’ll go back tomorrow morning.

Giant Termite Mounds

Giant Termite Mounds

Monday – Off early (8:30 am) for our second tour of Litchfield National Park. FortunatelyLNP isn’t that big and in five hours we were able to see numerous waterfalls, old homesteads and tin mines etc. We even extended ourselves with a number of walking trails too!

Nice Waterfall Roger!

Unfortunately Wangi Falls was closed for swimming (crocs)

Wangi Falls

The Giant Termite & Magnetic (Cathedral) Termite Mounds are amazing and the National Park has an exceptional job with this presentation.

Magnetic Termite Mounds
The old Blythe Homestead was amazing. So small you just can’t imagine how the Blythe family raised fourteen (yes 14) children in such a small and isolated place! The 4WD track into this property is average at best and there are two major water crossings (No Problem my VW Touareg, but a Jeep would have struggled!!!)

Blythe Homestead

Water Crossing / Road
Tuesday - Leaving Litchfield NP behind us we stopped at Adelaide River to view the WW2 War Cemetery. Apart from those who lost their lives in the Darwin Harbour bombing raid on
19th Feb 1942, it also commemorates those from the Darwin Region who paid the supreme sacrifice.

On a lighter note we lashed out $2.00 each to tour the Adelaide River Historical Railway Station. Built in 1888, this is one of Australia’s oldest Railway Stations.

Adelaide River RS
On to Douglas Springs Tourist Park where we arrived around 11:30 am. After lunch we checked out the nearby Douglas Hot Springs, but disappointingly the water wasn’t that deep (perhaps we had higher expectations after visiting Bitter Springs & Berry Springs which were much deeper)

Douglas Hot Springs