Had an easy drive from Darwin but decided not to visit Edith Falls this time. They are apparently spectacular, but I was keen to get to Mataranka as soon as I could.
The funny things you see as you drive along can certainly bring a smile … especially on some of those long, long stretches of road. There are many small (about one metre high) termite mounds on the sides of the road and in the fields – sometimes hundreds of them.
And some people with a bit of time and a sense of humour (or the ridiculous?) have dressed these mounds in items of clothing such as tee shirts and baseball caps. They’re a bit akin to little elves dotted here and there and look quite comical.
Got to Mataranka Roadhouse and it was pretty basic and my little cabin was sooo tiny but at least had aircon, fan and microwave. I bought a salad from the roadhouse and had a tin of salmon with it so feel like I’ve had quite a healthy dinner. They had lots of home made pies and sausage rolls and other homemade dinners for sale, but I wasn’t tempted.
One of the things Mataranka is famous for is its mineral springs, so I decided to drive to Bitter Springs for a swim.
Once you park your car there is a 250m walk to get to the water. There was a sign warning people about freshwater crocodiles so I was a tad hesitant as there was no one else around. There was a platform and two steps down into the water, which was very clear and looked beautiful, but I have to say I went in very gingerly.
It was probably the most refreshing 30 second swim that I’ve ever had!
Near Mataranka a lot of trees have been burnt and the walk to the pool was amongst beautiful trees that had suffered a lot of fire damage.
Mataranka to Three Ways was a long drive through very isolated country and not much traffic. Just outside Mataranka the landscape was filled with rocks and large boulders.
I keep trying to imagine the middle of Australia under the sea during the Cretaceous period (144 to 65 million years ago), with its prehistoric marine life (more on this later).
#thedalywaterspub I stopped yesterday first of all at Daly Waters, a little outback roadhouse and campground off the main highway. What a surprise. There were three petrol pumps outside a ramshackle old building, all run on an honesty system.
You choose your petrol, fill up your tank and then go over to the pub and tell them what petrol you put in and how much it came to. Amazing. And the pub itself was filled with memorabilia that visitors had left behind, including women’s underwear, baseball caps, tee shirts, you name it, it was all out there on display.
I chatted to the friendly outback folk behind the bar and enjoyed a nice Outback Flat White Coffee – at $5.90 a cup.
Next stop was Renner Springs Roadhouse where I had a sandwich and cold drink. The pub also had a fair bit of memorabilia decorating its interior – must be the thing to do out here in the Territory.
The notion of distance is quite different in the Outback. One of the locals asked me where I was headed to next and when I told him I was off to Three Ways he said “oh yes, just down the road then”. (200k)
Reached Three Ways mid -afternoon and checked in to my very basic but comfortable enough room, then went for a drive to Tennant Creek ‘down the road’ where I purchased some food from the local IGA. Was great to see most of the staff were Indigenous. People seemed friendly enough but wow, I couldn’t imagine living in a place like that. So hot and so isolated (for some people).