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Retirement Travels

Out of the "Isa"

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 18 June 2016 | Views [416] | Comments [3]

The Bitter Springs thermal pool at Mataranka

The Bitter Springs thermal pool at Mataranka

After an overnight stop in Mount Isa we were set to head of on what we knew would be a fairly mundane drive - across the Barkly Highway then up the Stuart Highway to position ourselves for the run out to Nhulunbuy on the 18th of June. We camped overnight on the Camooweal Laggon just west of the small town of Camooweal. The laggon was attractive with water lillys and birdlife, even though the water level was lower than it was last time we were here. It is a popular spot and we could have made an attractive amount if we went around with a collection tim that night.

The next day we traversed the Barkley and camped in a very nice campground at the Three Ways - we had grass for the first time! After leaving the Three Ways we headed north to Daly Waters and it's iconic pub. Today was Schuey's birthday so we had good reason for a feed of chocolate mud cake with our morning coffee. On the way up we stopped off to visit some memorials to explorers as well as some WW2 sites. That night we had dinner in the pub for an extension of the birthday celebrations. The next day saw an easy run up to Mataranka with stops again for various memorials and WW2 sites - these included the museum at Larrimah and the site of a Field Hospital. This excursion saw us doing some bush bashing as the track on the map that was to take us back to the highway just dissapeared into nothing about 200m short of the highway, after many multipoint turns we made it back to the highway and in to Mataranka.

A rest day in Mataranka gave us the opportunity to experience the delights of the thermal pool at Bitter Springs, in spite of the fact that it was very crowded we enjoyed the float about 200m downstream with the gentle current. We also visited Mataranka Springs, these are paerhaps more famous but in our opinion the Bitter springs pool is much more natural and more enjoyable. We also discovered a nice piece of Aboriginal Art in an art gallery in Mataranka - it was too good to pass up and we have spot picked out where it will hang! (no not in the camper).

Yesterday we moved up to Katherine, it was a slow trip as the traffic was extremely heavy, we have never seen it this way on the Stuart. Allan and Helen joined us about an hour and a half after we arrived following their very different path to Katherine. When booking into the caravaqn park we were very surprised to find that the Assistant Managers there are relo's - a cousin of mine frrom Sale in Victoria, Kaye and her husband Shane - we never expected to see them all the way up here, it turns out that they are on a working holiday and have been here for about 8 months.

Today was a reast day with the time spent shopping, refuelling and checking vehicles before the 720km run out to Nhulunbuy tomorrow, this will be a 2 day trip as most of it is on gravel which at times can be pretty brutal. Gary and Elke have decided not to go to Nhulunbuy and will travel out to the Keep River NP and down to the Bungles before returning to Katherine on the same day we arrive back from Nhulunbuy.

More again when we return .....



Good read John; the photos bring it alive!

  Barry & Dot Slattery Jun 19, 2016 1:27 PM


Glad you're enjoying the trip...drive carefully. I'm enjoying reading your adventures and viewing the photos - it's bringing back memories of days gone by...

  Rick Jun 19, 2016 5:00 PM


You guys sound like you're having a great time! They predict snow here on Friday so great to hear that you are having warm weather and blue skys.

  Karen Dibley Jun 22, 2016 4:55 PM

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