Winton – Mataranka
After leaving Winton on the 8th June, we spent the night at the Fullarton River rest area about 60 km from Cloncurry. We stocked up again in Cloncurry at the local IGA and were amazed to find the prices the same as home. From there we went to Mt Isa, and checked out the information centre, before driving on. The Mt Isa mines are right in the town and we were held up on the road by some huge machinery being transported to the mines. Decided not to stop in Mt Isa because it has a McDonalds, and we figure if they are in a town it is too busy for us.
Along the way we had been keeping in touch with Val & John Davidson who had been coming up the Centre, and it turned out we were both arriving in Camooweal on the 9th , so we spent the evening with them at the Camooweal Ponds with a great campfire and an ale or two? Good catch up for the girls so plenty of yacking.
10th - 11th June
Barkly Homestead was our next stop and what a surprise, an oasis in a very barren landscape, with a good shop and restaurant and fuel supply. We had Barramundi for dinner and it was good, although not as good as we have had in Darwin before.
12th - 13th June
We decided to get off the highway so we headed due north for Cape Crawford which is about 200 Km from the Gulf, checked out the Heartbreak Hotel but did not stay as we had been warned that because of the Miners being ferried in and out by helicopter it is very noisy, so we stayed for two nights at a free camp 14 Kms further on, beside the river and a beautiful spot.
One of the highlights of this trip so far was our stay at the Daly Waters Pub, it has to be seen to be believed, we have never seen so many Bra's, Knickers, Teeshirts, Hats and Thongs (foot) on display.
It was lunch time when we arrived so Lorraine had a Barramundi burger and I had a chook burger, (check out the photo)
We booked in for Beef & Barramundi from the barbecue for dinner, Lorraine had Barramundi (again) and I had ½ and ½. What a meal, lovely fresh salads and beautifully cooked fish and steak. They had three sittings to feed about 100 people and then we were entertained by Chilli, a real knockabout bloke who sang, told yarns and jokes and poetry, a great entertainer and a fair dinkum Aussie. We laughed till we cried.
15th - 17th June Mataranka.
A small town with nice parks, where we filled with fuel and did a little grocery shopping. We stayed at Mataranka Camping & Cabins for 3 days, to catch up with the washing and fill the water tank and just generally relax. A nice place to stay, very rural and we met a lot of friendly people, with good advice on where to stay or camp on the way to Darwin.
Just down the road, (walking distance) from where we are camped is Bitter Springs, a beautiful flowing spring at a constant 33 degrees temperature, where you can float down stream in the clearest water I have ever seen for about 300 mtr. in a loop and then walk back to the start in about 100 mtr. We have walked down there for the last two days, Me floating and Lorraine sitting on the edge and enjoying the warm water. Next stop, Katherine Gorge.