Left Borroloola happy with our repaired and clean Digger van, it back on the blacktop for a while, we are letting the D-Max and Digger have some rest and recuperation from few rough days on the Savannah Way.
We left Borroloola after completing all our repairs, dust sealing, the car the caravan washed, cleaned inside and out. Arriving at Daly Water Roadhouse, Sturt Highway, we came across two Australian Army Abram tanks sitting on transporters. The freshly cleaned Abrams and D-Max/Digger looked impressive parked alongside each other. Just a few kilometers up the road, at Daly Waters Pub we stopped to catch-up with a few fellow travellers and have a quick look inside the famous outback Pub. We happened to walk past a interesting looking caravan camped at the Pub’s Caravan Park; it belonged to a young family from Melbourne that would shortly become fantastic travelling companions. However, we decided we needed a remote campsite for the night, so further up the Sturt Hwy we camped at the former site of the WW2, 45 Australian Army Camp Hospital. It was here we found the grave of an unfortunate Rottweiler called Jazzy, buried by his owners after being bitten by a snake only four week previous. Jazzy owners had posted details on Wiki Camps about the ordeal, a very sad tale.
The next day it was onwards and upwards again along the Sturt Hwy, our first deviation was to check out the WW2 Gorrie airfield. This airfield is now a chosen campsite for travellers but as there were very few campers there when we arrived we used the 1800m airstrip to check out the D-Max/Digger potential take-off speed. Further on, just outside Mataranka, we came across the famous Elsey Cemetery and former Homestead immortalized by Jeannie Gunn’s “We of the Never Never”. It was exciting to be standing in the exact location of such a historical and iconic Australian story.
Our next campsite was at Little Roper Stock Campsite, Mataranka Hot Springs, privately operated caravan park which is home to Des and Telka, they have only been operating a camping facility for about five months, but it was one of the best and most enjoyable stays we have had so far. Close to both Mataranka and Bitter springs. Des provided excellent directions enabling us to cycle the old bushmans track 4km to Bitter Springs. This alone was an adventure, cycling outback bush wilderness in +40°C the old Elsey station “We of the Never Never”. In the two mornings camped at Little Roper Stock Campsite, we had billy tea and Johnny cakes with our hosts and this was the location where we met our Melbourne family Cat, Adrian and their two sons Jack and Edison.
Katherine for shopping and restocking however being a Sunday it was really just food and water resupply, then it was onto Edith Falls, Nitmiluk for two days of swimming, exploring and having fun with Jack and Edison which gave Cat and Adrian alone to exploring the Edith Falls tracks. Yes we went up there as well. After this we all were off to Kakadu but that’s another story.