Mataranka to Glen Helen Gorge 1st - 12th August
Because we were passing Daly Waters we decided to stay again and listen to “Chilli” again and have another feast of Beef & Barra, it was just as good as the last time and we would recommend
it to anyone passing by
Overnight at Banka Banka station, nice to be able to camp on green lawn for a change and play a bit of music at the campfire. Also great showers with plenty of hot water. We stopped in Tennant Creek to top up our supplies, This town has the most number of indigenousness people we have seen on our travels and again I found that they do not ever make eye contact with you and when they talk to each other they are so loud. Then we drove back just a couple of km. To lake Mary Ann, what a surprise, a beautiful lake surrounded by lovely green lawns with barbecues and picnic tables and best of all showers & toilets.
On to the Devils Marbles, good national parks campground and a lot of people enjoying the amazing rock formations. There was a resident Dingo wandering around and the next morning he watched the campers and as each one left, he immediately went to their campsite to see if there was any food left behind. Pretty smart animal.
Freecamped again at a roadside stop called Prowse Gap about 250 Km down the road, nice spot but a bit close to the road.
5th - 7th August
What a change since the last time we were here (about 30 years ago) The town has developed a lot and the streetscape makes it a lot more appealing. We stayed just south of the gap at Heavy Tree Gap Resort, a bit ordinary but we had a very nice meal and entertainment at the Tavern attached to the “Resort”.
Spent a day in Alice Springs checking out the shops and the information centre and decided to go to the Desert Park the next day. We spent the whole day there, it was fantastic with a number of talks on bush tucker and bush medicine and a bird show. Also, a theatre with an excellent documentary about the evolution of Australia, and at the end of the film the huge screen rolled down so that we were looking straight out at the West McDonald ranges, a spectacular view.
8th – 9th August
Drove along the West McDonald ranges stopping to walk Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm, both very spectacular but Simpsons Gap was the one we enjoyed most. The road along the West McDonald ranges, is we think the most scenic drive we have seen so far. Arrived in Hermansberg
having planned to spend one night there, but we could not visit the historical sight that day because there was a funeral and the whole town was closed from 11am. The caravan park is owned by the community and is surrounded with a wire fence and you have to unlock a gate to get in and out, but we had no trouble and the people were very friendly and the park facilities were spotless including the laundry with free use of a washing machine.
The next day we went through the Hermansberg historical site, the birthplace of Albert Namatjira and it gives you a sense of the life led by the Lutherans in doing what they thought best for the Aborigines, today it seems like a good community and is alcohol free.
Backtracked a few Km to Namatjira Drive and camped overnight at Point Howard Lookout, a sensational view of the West McDonald ranges from the other side, got out to take some photo's and discovered we had a flat tyre on the right rear. I was trying to get the spare out from under the chassis when a young french couple pulled up to see if they could help, the young man was amazing, he laid down under Jazzabout and guided the lowering tool into the hole in the chassis so I could get the spare wheel out, he wanted to help me change the wheel but they had to be back in Alice Springs to return their hire car and I assured him that I was able to do it, thanking them for helping us we saw them on their way.
I was able to change the wheel, so we stayed overnight and then drove on to Glen Helen Gorge to stop at the Resort for two nights, good campground, nice showers and toilets and nice restaurant and bar, so we booked in for dinner. My steak was excellent but Lorraine's lamb cutlets were almost raw and she was only able to eat two of the four. There was an entertainer, Chris Arenston who played Guitar. Mandolin, Fiddle and Dobro steel guitar and sang, he was very talented and made up for the meal, so all in all we had a pleasant evening
The walk to the Gorge along the Fink river is lovely although a little rocky and was a bit difficult for Lorraine but worth the effort.
Fortunately we were able to get the tyre repaired here , so we can set off again tomorrow with a spare again, but I have rearranged the storage under jazzabout so the spare will fit in there and I can get to it without the difficulty or getting it out from under the chassis.
Sorry to have taken so long for this update, but there is such a lot to do and so little time to do this,
Regards to you all
Lorraine & Graeme