Sunday, May 30, 2010


25 May 2010


It is supposed to be the dry season. Where is it? It is hot and humid!!! The temperature for the last three days has been around 32-33C. It is just so hot and humid to sleep. The road trains at night made it also hard to get a good nights sleep for some. From what we have seen, cattle are being taken down south in them.

A beautiful dawn this morning.

Then a rainbow appeared in the sky and it looked like we were going to get some rain. We were lucky as it seems to have missed it in the end.

On our way to Newcastle Waters itself a few drop fell and that was it.

It is not so long ago that the big musters were going through here. The last big cattle muster from Newcastle Waters to Longreach took place in 1988. That is not that long ago. Newcastle Waters is the junction of three stock routes – Barkly, Murrennji and North South Stock Routes and so was an important gathering place for drovers. It was a place for them to rest, catch up and stock up. The road is now a bit east of actual Newcastle Waters. There is a memorial to mark the last muster.

The old pub looks very lonely not far from the local school.

The waterhole was full of water and for once there were lots of birds feasting on the riches that water brings.

Just out of Newcastle Waters there is George Redmond high level causeway. Here is the real boundary between the desert and the tropics. With such lush vegetation at the moment the change was not as pronounced but you could detect the difference. The open flat spaces were behind us. The red soild of the centre have been left behind for what is called black soil. It doesn’t look black – it is a dark brown – but after any rain it is a nightmare to drive on and has the name black soil.

Back on the highway we were happily making our way north

when a police car coming towards us with blinking lights asked us to pull over.

There was a huge very wide road train coming some distance behind him. Imagine two semis pulling from the front and one pushing from the back and a huge wide load in the middle. Apparently it was a generator for a power station at Alice Springs. It was the second of three that have to be taken from Darwin to Alice. It will take them several days to do the trip by our calculations. Apparently a mechanic was travelling in the back vehicle following the road train.

Hubby just about jumped out of his seat with delight at seeing this pass. Within seconds of it passing our mood changed. He went into 4th gear and we heard an awful sound. He couldn’t get it into fourth or fifth gear. So we stopped whilst he had a look.

We then travelled slowly in third gear till Dunmara hoping there was a mechanic there. No luck. So after checking the manual he got under the car and spent considerable timeworking on it. We then went for a very short drive before coming back and more adjustments were being made. No matter what he did he couldn’t get it to go into fourth gear.

Decision time. We made the decision to go to Katherine or Darwin and get it fixed. After a while of driving slowly in third he got it into fifth and I was told no stops till Katherine. I was actually really looking forward to seeing Dunmara as during the brief period he was working in Darwin in his younger days he was involved with overseeing the building of this roadhouse. Our visit here was clouded because of the the car.

The mood was grim but I decided to keep enjoying the passing scenery. On the cut grass verges small termite mounds seemed to be sprouting like mushrooms.

We drove towards what appeared to be fog on the road. It turned out we were to drive through a heavy rain pour.

Five minutes later we were through it and the sun was shining, the sky was blue. It was unbelievable.

We decided to stop at Mataranka for the night . The track to Mataranka Homestead resort was lined with tall termite mounds.

At Mataranka Springs the palms tall and stately filtered the afternoon sun. They looked just glorious.

The paths were lined with palms and pandanas.

We went for a swim in the lovely warmish springs to cool down, refresh ourselves and to ease the tension We tried not to think of what was ahead and just enjoyed the moment.

A little wallaby/kangaroo visited us in the evening.

1 comment:

WPM said...

hi tony and rasa
some great pictures; must catch up on your return; have you got your squeeze box with you?
maura and bill