Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mataranka NT

We are at Mataranka NT at the Territory Manor Caravan Park - arrived about 1pm today travelling almost the whole way from Camooweel to here without any mobile reception. So to catch up, we stayed Wednesday night at a road rest stop called Avon Downs (just inside the NT border). 

From there to Three Ways (intersection of the Barkley and Stuart Hwy) it was flat, red, dry and desolate country with little to say for it except the vastness of our Great South Land is mind boggling. The road is in great shape and we made good time and fuel economy with the wind behind us all of the way. The speed limit here is 130 kph but we kept on a steady 95 kph and had no problems with traffic - even the road trains just passed us without a hoot - there is so little traffic and the road is so straight that there were plenty of overtaking areas. Only one road train gave us a bit of a fright when it was coming towards us the last of the four trailers (all empty) started to wobble quite violently and we thought for a while it may hit us, it didn't of course else I wouldn't be writing this email. We did subsequently notice that empty road trains did seem to be more unstable than full ones. 

 Last night (Thursday) we stayed at Renner Springs (a roadside caravan park) as we felt the need for a shower. We will head off for Katherine on Sunday after church (if we can find one). 

 When we arrived here they were just about to feed the barramundis in the pond they have here - they have one 1.2 mtrs long and about six years old. They are the owner's pets, so he doesn't eat them from his pond, but barra is a specialty on the menu here (maybe tomorrow night I'll shout Ruth for Mother's Day). 

After setting up we had lunch and then headed out to the Roper River (Bitter Springs) where the temp of the water is a steady 34 deg. It was quite pleasant but because it was about the same temp outside didn't really cool us down until we got out and the breeze hit us.

Ruth feeding a peacock
Huge termite mound
Information Sign at the Springs
Croc Warning Sign
Mataranka NT - Roper River Bitter Springs
Barramundi dinner - 11th May 2013.
Roper River Bitter Springs
We didn't actually go to the Roper River, we just went about 3 Kms east of Mataranka to a place called "Bitter Springs" on the Little Roper River - where there is about a 200 mtrs stretch of the river (more of a creek) that has been cleared and protected from crocodiles and it flows at a steady rate so as you can drift from one end to the other and the water is so clear you can see the bottom, at its deepest 2.5 mtrs, as you as you drift along. 

The second time we went we hired a "noodle" floatation device for Ruth and she actually did half of the drift without me by her side. We had intended to go to the Mataranka Hot Springs (34 deg - same as the outside air) but when we got there, there was a bus load of teenage school kids, and they were being "teenagers", boisterous and noisy, so we went back to the "Bitter Springs" where there were a few backpackers and some other "Grey Nomads".