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Katherine to Limmen National Park

AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 28 July 2016 | Views [432]

Old crossing on the Roper River at Roper Bar, the early morning mist gave it a surreal look

Old crossing on the Roper River at Roper Bar, the early morning mist gave it a surreal look

A casual start from Katherine was the order of the day as some members of the group wanted to be at Katherine Train Station to see the Ghan arrive from Alice Springs at about 9:00AM, we finished up leaving Katherine at about 10:45AM to head down the Stuart Highway and to the turn off on the Roper Highway.

The run down the Stuart to Mataranka was pretty uneventful apart from the large number of Army vehicles passing us heading up towards Darwin, the convoys consisted of many Bushmasters and low loaders carrying Leopard Tanks – pretty serious stuff! As you would expect that with a convoy of this nature there were also many support vehicles as well. Something was going on somewhere!

We had a stop for morning tea in Mataranka so we could go to the coffee shop and get what would be our last Barista made coffee for some time but what we found was a coffee shop absolutely packed with tourists, and knowing from experience that their service is not that fast we chose other options – like an iced chocolate from the roadhouse (what a let down).

The run along the Roper Highway was easy with not a lot of traffic to contend with which was a bonus given that this road is only a very narrow strip of bitumen meaning that we needed to drop one set of wheels into the dirt to pass any oncoming vehicles. When the oncoming vehicle was a road train we got right off the road and stopped – there was no way we were going to insist on our share of the bitumen when faced with a road train travelling at speed.

The last 40km into Roper Bar was a gravel road which was rough enough to necessitate deflating our tyres to smooth the ride a bit. Once in Roper Bar we found a shady campground near the river complete with showers and toilets for only $10 per night per person. We had intended to travel a bit further but chose to stay at this campground. As has been the case on a number of occasions on this trip there was someone camped there that I know, it was a guy from Narrandera and his wife and the real connection was that I was good friends with his younger brother many years ago so we had a good discussion about old times in the old town.

The next day before heading off we went down to the old crossing on the Roper River to have a look and it was really picturesque with an early morning fog to add to the mystique. The crossing is quite wide but it was only running at about 200mm deep so the temptation to play was too great and we all had a mad dash across the river and back – Gary won hands down, he created the biggest splash but all of our cars and the campers got a good under body wash!

After our play we headed off on the Savannah Way with the aim to find a suitable early campsite to give us time to set up for a camp oven cook up that night. A failed attempt to find Maria Lagoon led us further down into Limmen NP to Butterfly Springs. This was a really nice shady campground but unfortunately there was little water in the springs and what was there wasn’t conducive to a swim. That was disappointing as the spring is the only safe place to swim in Limmen NP.

We managed to cook up a great meal that night with roast lamb and pork and roasted veges. So after a great meal and a few drinks we settled down for the night and looked forward to the trip to Lorella Springs the next day.

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