Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Alice Springs to Katherine

Are you all surviving the heat? If it's any consolation, even my eyeballs are sweating.

Now I hope you don't mind me doing one or two of those 'and then we did this and then we did that' posts. If you do, just skip this one and wait for tomorrow's when I'll be back on real time.

So we farewelled Alice Springs and the air-conditioned comfort of the in-laws house and headed north along the Stuart Highway, just the 6 of us again and with a sparkling clean Matilda tagging along behind us.

Our first stop was at Devils Marbles where we lunched on ham and mustard sandwiches and had some fun climbing over these amazing boulders placed neatly on top of one another.

We then came to the "Point of No Return"- the turn-off to Queensland. Decision time. Do we head east and do the Queensland loop down to Tasmania or do we continue north and then head west and do the Western Australia loop? 

The Pianoman and I have lived in every State and Territory in Australia except Western Australia so our preference was to go West and see some new and delightful sights. Seeing The Kimberley's was high on my list. And as much as the kids would have loved cruising down the coast of Queensland, this trip was really about slowing down, having a break and spending quality time together. As little crowds, traffic, and distractions as possible (other than the glorious sights of Mother Nature of course). 

The most amazing thing about the trip so far is how quiet it has been. The 'off' season really is a great time to travel if privacy is what you are after. It feels as if we have had our own private tour of this country. Seriously, it is that quiet. There is hardly anyone around. You may have noticed the lack of 'other' people in my photos too.

The only problem, which could have been a very big one, was Cyclone Grant in Darwin. Although we would be turning off at Katherine to head west, the road from Katherine to Darwin was closed and there was a risk that other roads could close as the water level rose. Did you all see the train derailment? But we took the risk and headed to Katherine without much dillydallying.

We spent the night at Daly Waters, a historic and unique Outback Pub. We have known the previous Publican from this place and after seeing it, I can see where he got his sense of humour from.

The following day we drove to Katherine and stopped at Mataranka Springs on the way.

Above you can see the effects of the cyclone reaching all the way down to Mataranka. All of the other thermal springs in the area were actually closed due to the risk of crocodiles entering them but we were told these main springs 'should be right'. The laid-back attitude of the locals was sometime a little disconcerting.

But they were right. Crystal clear turquoise water. No crocodiles. It was heaven on a stick. Magic. Not a soul in sight as no one could get in or out of Darwin.

The kids wasted no time climbing trees and having a competition to see who did the best jump.

We stayed in Katherine that night and the following day went out to visit Katherine Gorge.

The little Boys had already proven their hiking capabilities at Kings Canyon so we hiked up to the top of the Gorge.

And saw this spectacular view from the top.

Our last stop in the Northern Territory was Victoria River before we headed off to Kununurra, Western Australia. 

Check out this sign. Isn't it Gold? I do love the sense of humour of the Northern Territorians.


  1. We so loved Daly Waters, quintessential NT place. Keep cool you lot!

  2. Yay, love all those places. Can't believe you didn't venture to Camoweel Qld, i honestly, was terrified driving through that town!! I was pregnant & green with morning sickness but did not want to leave the car!!
    Poor Darwin, i keep thinking of the times we left there in January & winged it with cyclones & road closures due to flooding. There will be a lot of Army families stuck either side, trying to start their new postings.
    Enjoy the grottos in Kunnunnurra (i still can't spell all the place names up there, Peppimenarti anyone??) I would love to do The Kimberleys one day & Broome, glorious. WA is so beautiful, would happily live there, love Posie

  3. Loving the photos and trip news Mel, reminds me of the travel I did in the NT. Haven't made it to WA yet but Muddy Hubby and I are talking about a family trip there so we'll see!

  4. Megan, we loved Daly Waters. Very cute and wasn't the Hotelier just awesome?!? We didn't plan on doing such a long trip in one day but we honestly didn't feel comfortable staying anywhere else along the way so kept driving until we found this gem - did you find the same?

    Posie and Nat - the Kimberleys are just awesome. Yep, could easily live here too ;-)

  5. Just stunning, Mel. I'm vicariously travelling with you, you know, don't you?! J x

  6. Gosh the thermal springs are magical. x