|Derek going marbles in|
So we finally left Queensland our home State and headed into the Northern Territory, we were very excited, it now really felt we were doing "The Lap". It was good to be able to get away early as it was another 700k day, however the difference which we didn't know then, is:
- The roads in the NT are absolutely fantastic, wide, straight, flat and not much traffic and you don't get caught behind trucks and caravans forever, it's easy peasy to overtake, and
- 130K speed limits - so unlike Queensland where the roads are crap, and you average about 80k's an hour here in the NT you can average a good 100ks an hour
It really is an exciting drive but this is where you all of a sudden hit the over $2 a litre for petrol, we paid $2.06 at Barkley Station Homestead, but then what do you expect, 200ks from Tennant Creek and 400ks from Mt Isa it is a little oasis in the middle of nowhere and very much appreciated by everyone - beautiful laws, great restaurant, nice food, good souvenirs - so its the price of travelling I suppose, we stopped here for a while to recuperate and take in the atmosphere which believe it or not is buzzing here, of course we didn't know it then, but 4 months later we would be back this way again.
|Panorama of The Devils Marbles|
What do you say about Tennant Creek, other than it comes up and hits you in the face - it is just so different, it really is an outback town, and not like a country town like we had been experiencing but outback, middle of nowhere type thing, dusty, lots of indigenous people, dogs everywhere, nothing very modern really to be seen, but lots of caravan parks, motels etc as it is a cross roads place, it is where you sort of have to go if you want to get to Alice Springs or north to Darwin so it caters well for travelers, and again to our surprise quite a lot to do in the area. Beware though ensure you are well stocked up on food, booze etc as its hard to get and if you do its expensive as hell,we paid something like $180 for tank of fuel, sausages, onions, a couple of tomatoes and bread - so recommend you BYO food.
|Mary Kathleen Dam|
We had a fantastic few days here, there are some good places to go and see all within a 20k's or so including the Devils Marbles, The Pebbles (both great rock formations), Barkley Mine and outlook, the old telegraph station and believe it or not one of the prettiest dams I have seen the Mary Kathleen Dam - which had beautiful grass, water and picnic area, and we spent a day at Warrego Mines (which is a public fossicking area - there was gold in them there hills) where Derek once again did some detecting - no luck here though. So overall we had a great time in Tennant Creek and once again spent a lot longer here than we would have thought. I will say though the natives do get a little restless at night and it can be just a tad rowdy, but after the first night you get use to it, we were there on State of Origin night and the police put on a sausage sizzle to help keep it all under control.
Our camping site here was lovely as well, and once again it is a place where everyone is travelling to somewhere so the afternoon drinks and chats are popular, and help to make any place a bit more pleasant - there seem to be towns like this where it's a part of the journey and not the destination, and when this occurs it seems like people are much more friendly and open to sharing experiences which makes the travelling fun.
It was cold though even though it was getting into mid June - the nights and mornings where freezing, but the flies were in abundance, so all you did was do the royal wave all day long, whilst wearing a jumper. While our original plan was to head south to Alice Springs and then on to Ayres Rock, it was our last night in Tennant Creek that I looked at the weather and Alice and Ayres Rock where even colder than Tennant Creek, but Katherine was warm - so we changed our plans and headed to Katherine instead - the beauty of no plans is you can go where the sun shines warm. No Regrets!