Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Thursday 16th June 2005 to Saturday 18th June 2005

Thursday 16th June 2005

Today was another moving day, this time from Tennant Creek to Mataranka Springs Homestead Resort. We managed to pull out of the caravan park by about 7:40am and headed north on the Stuart Highway again.

After only 23 kilometres we reached the 'Three Ways' Roadhouse where the Barkley Highway from Queensland meets the Stuart Highway as it heads north to Darwin. We passed by this intersection last year on the 1st June when we came from Mount Isa through to Renner Springs (see web page 01/06/2004 ). We have now not only circled Australia, we have traveled from south to north through the centre. From here on we travel through country we have been in before, however that doesn't mean we have seen everything, far from it, all we have done is glimpsed a little of what there is to see.

We continued north past Banka Banka and Renner Springs then stopped at Elliot for a break near a memorial statue at a WWII staging post, where we took some photographs and enjoyed a cup of tea and sandwiches.

From here we continued north past Newcastle Waters,Dunmarra, Daly Waters and Larrimah before we stopped once more for a break about one hundred kilometres short of Mataranka.

Once we were on the road and getting closer to Mataranka we turned right on a sealed road that took us 8 kilometres in to Elsey Cemetery and the site of the original Elsey Homestead which was the location of the Australian Classic movie, 'We Of The Never Never'. This was a very interesting visit and for those who may have seen the movie (like 'One of Us') it had quite a bit of meaning.

When we left here it was only a short drive to Mataranka and out to the Mataranka Homestead Resort... if it could be called that. We arrived after the main caravan park area had been filled and found ourselves in the overflow section of the park, unfortunately although there was power, there was no water connection and there was not any grass throughout the resort. Having said that, the motel and cabins may be much better serviced and of a higher quality.

After booking in for one night and setting up, we put on our bathers and walked down to the Thermal Springs for a swim before returning to the caravan for a quiet drink, sitting out in the warmth of the evening looking over the palms and greenery around the springs themselves.

Having had our swim and enjoyed the atmosphere of the area, we have decided that we will move on in the morning and make our way to Darwin where we will settle for a week or so.

A break in Elliott

Elsey Cemetery - 'We of the Never Never' Fame

The warm Mataranka Thrmal Springs

Friday 17th June 2005

On the move again by about 8:20am after returning the key to the caravan park reception. Our first stop was just outside the gates of the caravan park where we took a photograph of the replica homestead used in the movie 'We of the Never Never'.

We then headed back out to the Stuart Highway where we turned north once more and drove through the Mataranka town site before winding the patrol up on the open road again.

This took us the 113 kilometres to Katherine where we refueled the patrol at the local Caltex Woolworths Service Station then discovered we didn't have a Woolworths docket so paid full price of 117.9 cents per litre for just over 90 litres. We hadn't filled up at a service station since Tennant Creek, however we had put 60 litres in from three jerry cans prior to arriving at Mataranka. We didn't spend any additional time at Katherine as we had previously had a good look around here last June when we stayed there for 2 days. ( See journal entries Katherine - 2nd June 2004 ).

From Katherine we continued another 91 kilometres north before was passed through Pine Creek and the turn off to Kakadu and Jabiru. Once again we visited these areas last year on our travels and they can be viewed at our previous journal entry Kakadu and Jabiru.

The country started to change as we came further north, the trees become taller and more dense and the grass started to get greener. Some of the hills had cuttings to make the road less difficult to travel. We passed by Emerald Springs Roadhouse and Hayes Creek Roadhouse before the small township of Adelaide River. It was then just over a hundred kilometres to go, past the turn off to Batchelor, Berry Springs and Humpty Doo and through Howard Springs before reaching Berrimah where the 'Free Spirit Resort and Caravan Park is situated.

We booked in at the resort for a week from today, however believe we may stay longer, perhaps a total of two weeks before we head off toward the Western Australia border.

Tomorrow 'One of Us' has confirmed that she will undertake some therapy, most likely at the Palmerston shopping centre which is only 4 kilometres from the caravan park. Tonight this therapy was assisted by the induction of a glass of wine or three....

Replica homestead from 'We of the Never Never'

Grass and trees - Free Spirit Resort
caravan park, Stuart Highway Darwin


Saturday 18th June 2005

This morning started at some ungodly hour when 'One of Us' decided to get in to the laundry before any others had a chance to use the washing machines. Whilst this was going on the 'Other One' remained in the caravan conducting some in depth research (sleeping) into the best form of relaxation we can undertake during the two weeks we intend to stay in Darwin. He thinks he just about has the answer, however it may take a bit more time to test the theory completely.

After such an industrious start to the day it was necessary to refuel our bodies with a bacon, cheese and egg toasted sandwich before getting back into the onerous task of planning our movements (or where we will be stopping) between now and our arrival in Karratha on 15th July. After telephone calls to friends (Robertsons of Pinjarra and Chapmans of Lancelin) we finally decided we would stay in Darwin until 1 July, then Katherine 1 night before heading to Kunnunurra for 5 nights where we will catch up with Ron and cousin Dawn Chapman. Then on to Fitzroy Crossing 1 night and Derby for 3 nights where we will catch up with Graham and Jocelyn Robertson. From here we will spend 2 nights at Port Smith and 2 more at Eighty Mile Beach before arriving in Karratha on July 15th, in time to meet daughter Kym and Son-in-Law Lee on the 16th July. We booked into caravan parks where we considered it necessary, however some of the more isolated park locations do not take forward bookings.

All that took quite a lot out of us so we required a bit more rest before driving to Palmerston so that 'One of Us' could undergo some 'Retail' shopping therapy. Here we visited the Target and Coles stores before making an essential stop at Liquorland where 'One of Us just happened to find that not only her favourite 'Omni Blue' sparkling wine was on special, her 'other' favourite, 4 litre casks of De Bortoli Traminer Riesling was also on special.....

We returned to the caravan at about 2:30 pm where 'One of Us' devoured some scones with jam and cream (the 'Other One' did get a couple..) before settling back with a book for the rest of the afternoon. We did think about a swim in one of the three swimming pools in the caravan park, however that does take some effort.... Maybe tomorrow.... As the Territorians say: 'NT' ("Not Today, Not Tomorrow, Not Tuesday, Not Thursday Not To worry!"

'One of Us' in Retail Therapy

We thought about a swim in one of
the three pools in the caravan park