The Big Lap 2015 – Across the NT

The Northern Territory is a large and very interesting state; many of the places in the NT are dusty and dry but there is quite a lot to see for the interested explorer or keen tourist. Over the time we have explored the NT we have visited such places as Kakadu National Park (http://www.parksaustralia.gov.au/kakadu/), which is a “must see” as is the fabulous Katherine Gorge (http://www.parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au/parks/find/nitmiluk#.VaopZ_lRLjc). We have seen Uluru (Ayers Rock) (http://www.parksaustralia.gov.au/uluru/) and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kata_Tjuta), Kings Canyon (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kings_Canyon_%28Northern_Territory%29) and the Macdonnell Ranges (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacDonnell_Ranges). There are numerous other parks such as Litchfield National Park (http://www.parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au/parks/find/litchfield#.VajjnvlRLjc) and great waterways to explore and cities such as Darwin and Alice Springs and towns such as Katherine to visit.

What we have seen of the NT we have enjoyed immensely and there is still more to discover; however, this trip has not been one of exploration but rather one of travelling through the Northern Territory along the way to another destination.

When we crossed the border between the Northern Territory and Western Australia we would lose an hour and a half as the time zone changed so we chose to rise early to get on the road.

Approaching the border of Western Australia and the Northern Territory

Approaching the border of Western Australia and the Northern Territory

Welcome to the Northern Territory - the sign needs to be replaced

Welcome to the Northern Territory – the sign needs to be replaced

From Kununurra we headed east toward Katherine with the intention of camping somewhere along the way to break the trip. Our first stop was for smoko a bit after ten NT time which was only 8:30am as far as we were concerned but as we had been up for breakfast at 5:00am (WA time) it was a good time to stop as we had been traveling for over two hours.

Ancient Ranges along the road to Timber Creek

Ancient Ranges along the road to Timber Creek

Ancient Ranges along the road to Timber Creek

Ancient Ranges along the road to Timber Creek

Along the road between Kununurra and Katherine much of the journey traverses the Gregory National Park (http://www.parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au/parks/find/gregory#.VaTi3PlRLjc) there are some magnificent ancient ranges and it was quite an interesting trip for much of the early stages, particularly after we passed through Timber Creek and headed toward our lunch stop at the Victoria River Roadhouse (http://www.visitkatherine.com.au/pages/timber-creek-victoria-river/). We had intended to top up with fuel at Timber Creek but when we reached the town there were queues at the two fuel outlets and the advertised prices were not particularly attractive so we pressed on.

Timber Creek Town Sign

Timber Creek Town Sign

Welcome to Timber Creek

Welcome to Timber Creek

We travelled alongside the Victoria River (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_River_%28Northern_Territory%29) quite a good distance and noticed the majesty of this stream and the volume of water it contained. At the Victoria River Roadhouse we purchased some diesel (at a price less than Timber Creek) and parked to eat out lunch.

Towering cliffs above the road near Victoria River Roadhouse

Towering cliffs above the road near Victoria River Roadhouse

Towering cliffs above the road near Victoria River Roadhouse

Towering cliffs above the road near Victoria River Roadhouse

Towering cliffs above the road near Victoria River Roadhouse

Towering cliffs above the road near Victoria River Roadhouse

Towering cliffs above the road near Victoria River Roadhouse

Towering cliffs above the road near Victoria River Roadhouse

An extensive paddock of hay near the Victoria River Roadhouse

An extensive paddock of hay near the Victoria River Roadhouse

Victoria River Road House - Under New (Ownership) Wife

Victoria River Road House – Under New (Ownership) Wife

The meal was interrupted by the arrival of five military vehicles under the control of members of the US MC. These armoured personnel carriers were manned by a about five or six personnel each who, leaving one or two with the equipment, converged on the roadhouse. Currently there are joint military exercises – Talisman Sabre (http://www.defence.gov.au/exercises/ts13/) being undertaken at the moment and the incidence of military vehicles on the road is not uncommon.

Armoured personnel carriers at Victoria River Roadhouse

Armoured personnel carriers at Victoria River Roadhouse

After we left the roadhouse we headed on toward each of two possible camp sites; it was too early to stop at the first and the second site was so full we decided to press on. I did not feel tired, despite the early start and we agreed to drive on to Katherine to see if we could find a spot at the Shady Lane Caravan Park (http://www.shadylanetouristpark.com.au/) where we had a booking for the next day. We reached Katherine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katherine,_Northern_Territory) about three pm and were able to juggle our booking at the caravan park.

Town Entry Sign - Katherine

Town Entry Sign – Katherine

Tuesday we had a look around Katherine, bought some groceries and generally had a relaxing day. In 2010 we spent several days in Katherine and explored the area extensively so we won’t be doing the tourist thing this time around. Wednesday we had the truck booked in for mechanical service so were up early to get the vehicle into town. Arrived at the workshop quite early but the job took two and a half hours to complete (or at least that’s how long I had to wait); filled the vehicle with fuel and bought a couple of things in town before returning to the caravan park where we readied for departure on Thursday morning.

Main Street Katherine

Main Street Katherine

Main Street Katherine

Main Street Katherine

Katherine Visitor Centre

Katherine Visitor Centre

Caravans parked at the Visitor Centre at Katherine

Caravans parked at the Visitor Centre at Katherine

The Icon - Sabu Sing at Katherine

The Icon – Sabu Sing at Katherine

Main Street Katherine

Main Street Katherine

Up early on Thursday as we had arranged for the caravan to be fitted with new bearings before we left Katherine; we had packed up and were at the workshop before opening time and as soon as the door opened we filled in the job card and handed over the new bearings so the job could be done. However, despite our preparedness we didn’t get away from Katherine until 10:45am. We decided on a short day and drove south to Larrimah (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larrimah,_Northern_Territory) where we stopped at a burnt out service station to eat lunch.

Caravan at Larrimah - our lunch stop

Caravan at Larrimah – our lunch stop

Burnt out service station at Larrimah

Burnt out service station at Larrimah

Burnt out service station at Larrimah

Burnt out service station at Larrimah

Sign for the burnt out premises at Larrimah

Sign for the burnt out premises at Larrimah

Our overnight camp was at the Daly Waters Hi Way Inn (http://dalywaters-hi-wayinn.webs.com/) where we lined up for a powered site and spent a very quiet night.

Horses at Daly Waters

Horses at Daly Waters

Fat pony at Daly Waters

Fat pony at Daly Waters

Our camp at Daly Waters

Our camp at Daly Waters

Friday morning we departed around eight and headed south into a fierce cross wind that would turn into a head wind when we eventually turned east along the Barkly Highway. Our initial destination was the 41 Mile Bore, a free camp along the Barkly Highway; however, we reached The Three Ways Roadhouse (http://www.threewaysroadhouse.com.au/) it was only lunch time so we decided to drive a little further eventually reaching Barkly Homestead (http://www.barklyhomestead.com.au/) where we arrived at about 2:45pm and managed to secure one of the few remaining powered caravan sites.

Sign at Barkly Homestead

Sign at Barkly Homestead

Fuel dispensing facilities at Barkly Homestead

Fuel dispensing facilities at Barkly Homestead

Old steam engine at front of Barkly Homestead

Old steam engine at front of Barkly Homestead

Plenty of Caravans at Barkly Homestead

Plenty of Caravans at Barkly Homestead

Plenty of Caravans at Barkly Homestead

Plenty of Caravans at Barkly Homestead

Plenty of Caravans at Barkly Homestead

Plenty of Caravans at Barkly Homestead

Plenty of Caravans at Barkly Homestead

Plenty of Caravans at Barkly Homestead

We all need a scratch sometime

We all need a scratch sometime

Hawk at Barkly Homestead

Hawk at Barkly Homestead

Caged Birds at Barkly Homestead

Caged Birds at Barkly Homestead

Guinea Fowl at Barkly Homestead

Guinea Fowl at Barkly Homestead

Leaving Barkly Homestead early Saturday morning we travelled east into fresh cross winds that often turned into head winds as the direction of travel along the road varied. Our journey was uneventful and we stopped for smoko at Avon Downs opposite the police station; a Driver Reviver station was operating from the station and was attracting a number of travellers but being independent we used our flask and biscuits for morning tea.

Avon Downs Police Station

Avon Downs Police Station

Corellas in flight at Avon Downs

Corellas in flight at Avon Downs

Pressing on, we reached the NT/Qld order and our journey across the Northern Territory was at and end.

Welcome to Queensland - State of Origin Flags flying on the posts

Welcome to Queensland – State of Origin Flags flying on the posts

More Later!

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