Day 49 - 31st May
Tropic of Capricorn campsite to The Pebbles campsite (just north of Tennant Creek)
Distance Travelled - 514.6 km
Didn't have such a good night, feeling slightly unwell. Went to bed early, feeling very tired and found it was too cold to not have the sleeping bag over me but too hot with it on. Spent a lot of the night sweating and woke up with a fairly wet shirt and sleeping bag. Didn't wake until nearly 8 am after waking very regularly to drink some water and readjust the sleeping bag to try and find a comfortable temperature.
By the time I got everything dry and packed away it was nearly 10 am before I left. A fairly uninspiring drive for most of it with the occasional dead cow on the side of the road and that was about it. Stopped at the Devil's Marbles to do some photography and then moved on to Tennant Creek, a much bigger place than I thought. Had a bit of a squiz around the town before going to a picnic spot called Lake Mary Ann - a very pretty place, lots of grass and a dam with lots of water. There were peacocks, peahens, ducks, geese, a rooster, chickens, falcons and many smaller birds all in and around the park area. They had hot showers available so made use of them and then headed off to the Tennant Creek Telegraph station and then the Pebbles Campsite about 15 or so km out of town towards Katherine.
Tomorrow I hope to get to Katherine, about 670 km away but will wait and see what things there are to see on the way that might slow me down.
Day 50 - 1st June
The Pebbles Campsite to Katherine
Distance Travelled - 696.8 km
Woke up at sunrise and watched the sun come up but it did not create anything that was decidedly photogenic as there was way too much cloud cover. There had been some rain during the night so I was glad I had made the decision to sleep in the car as it meant I did not have wait for things to dry or pack away things wet.
Left by 7.30 am and started the drive towards Katherine. It was not an unpleasant drive with lots of kites circling the road and flying low over the nearby trees and oncoming traffic was fairly constant. Photographically, I did very little. There are several signs showing World War 2 historic sites leading off the road and I will investigate those when I come back through to go to Queensland, as I will the thermal springs at Mataranka.
Along the way I received a phone call from home letting me know that Mrs Metzke had passed away on Saturday, which as far s I am aware was somewhat unexpected. It left me feeling very flat and down for most of the day. Eventually got to Katherine and went for a walk for a while to clear my head a bit and stretch the legs. Bought and posted a card to Mr Metzke and then went in search of a place to camp for the night.
Found a patch of gravel just off the highway, where the car would be fairly well hidden from the road and decided to call it camp for the night. Set up and cooked tea just a two more cars came in. I spent the evening talking to the 3 other campers - a French girl travelling with a German girl and a guy from Sydney. We chatted for ages and eventually all trundled off to our cars and beds about midnight - the latest I have been still up in ages.
Tomorrow I have a short drive, only a couple of hundred km to Litchfield National Park where I will stay for a few days investigating the gardens and waterholes and waterfalls and hopefully get a few nice photos. Then it will be into Darwin and then Kakadu etc before heading back out to head over to Queensland.
Day 51 - 2nd June
Katherine to Litchfield National Park
Distance Travelled - 280 km
After what, not all that long ago, was a fairly standard bed time I was hoping I might sleep in a bit on a day that I was planning to only do a smallish amount of driving. Not to be! I awoke at 6 am and could not go back to sleep. Got up and went for a walk along the highway and then came back and sat down to watch the sun rise. Although not spectacular, I have not yet grown weary of admiring the changes in the morning sky and the sun comes up.
Decided to hang around for a while and wait to see if the others at the campsite woke at a reasonable hour, some of the discussion last night indicated that they may not. The first of them staggered out about 8.30 am and they were all up by 9 am. We sat and chatted and ate an assortment of breakfasts, after which i finished packing and left as they were still deciding what they were going to do today.
I headed off towards Darwin and came to the Edith Falls turn off. I decided at the last second to go in and am so glad I did. The camping section was packed but a walk up the hill and along the track led to a small but stunning waterfall and pool, Spent some time trying to compose photos without people in it and eventually gave up and decided to wait and see if they eventually moved on out of the way. Was almost at a point of thinking I would either go for a swim and try later or just give in to the fact that I would have to have people in the photo when they all seemed to decide at the same time to move on. I took a few photos as I could see other people heading my way and didn't want to miss the opportunity and then went for a swim. The water was cool and pleasant, fresh and relaxing and somewhat invigorating at the same time. The waterfall was quite forceful and felt good on somewhat tight shoulders and back.
Left the swimming hole and finished the walk (1.6 km in total) back to the car park and headed off. There was nothing much really of interest along the way and I finally found my way to the beginning of Litchfield National Park. Found a place to camp at a cheap tourist park, only $12 for the night, and set up camp. Had tea, wrote my blog and spent the rest of the evening listening to music waiting for it to cool down. It has been about 33 degrees today and the humidity is much higher than I am used to in Southern Cross so that will take a bit of getting used to. It is dramatically different to the weather I have been experiencing so far.
Tomorrow I am going to explore the National Park which has a series of waterfalls and camp somewhere deeper in the park tomorrow night before coming out on Thursday and heading into Darwin for maybe a few days.