Day 114 of retirement

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Hi All

Saturday 30th September:

Left Darwin for Litchfield NP via Fogg Dam (200km). Now Fogg Dam is an interesting story of agriculture gone wrong.

Now somebody thought that growing rice would be good in the top end. So they dammed off a section of wetlands for their water supply. All good so far. Then they planted rice downstream from the dam, which grew very well. All good so far.

Then all the water birds (Especially the Magpie Geese) discovered this beautiful wetland with permanent water with huge amounts of feed (The rice) adjacent to the dam so moved right in. Not so good. It is estimated that bird life ate 25% of the rice grown.

It was then also discovered that we could import rice for a quarter of the cost it was costing to grow here. So to cut a long story short, the whole project failed.

The upside is that there is a huge beautiful wetland reserve for all the bird and croc life to live in happily ever after.

Made it to the Litchfield Tourist Park by 1:00pm and had snacks for lunch. Going to have a large dinner. Rested up in the afternoon with a cup of tea and a siesta. As the last few weeks have been pretty hectic we are going to chill out at Litchfield. We shall seek out a couple of waterfall / swimming holes and just relax for the next two days.

Sunday 1st October:

After a bit of a sleep in we made our way to Florence Falls (60km round trip). Lovely waterfall with rockpool to swim in. Being a weekend and school holidays, it was packed. So after a swim to cool off we made our way back to the Buley Rockholes (5km down the road). Still plenty of “tourists” but we were able to find a small rock pool all to ourselves. Has a small waterfall feeding it, so we had our very own jacuzzi.

Early afternoon and before the hottest part of the day we made our way back for lunch and a siesta.

Monday 2nd October:

A leisurely start to the day as we made our way to Wangi Falls to hike the 1.8km circuit round the falls. The walk takes you up one side of the escarpment to the creek that feeds the falls then back down the other side back to the falls.

We were very hot and sweaty by the time we got back so back to Buley Rock Holes and our favourite pool. After a very nice cool off we had a picnic lunch then back to the pool for some more cooling off. Total trip distance 110km.

Early afternoon and back to the cabin for an ice cream then a very nice siesta.

Tuesday 3rd September:

Left Litchfield NP for Mataranka Hot Springs (400km). Had a stop over in Katherine for some lunch and a quick catch up with WiFi. No WiFi at Litchfield and none at Mataranka so off air for a few days.

Arrived at Mataranka at 2:00pm ish and made our way to the cabin. Now there were a couple of things that bothered us. The aircon was working but just couldn’t keep up in the mid 30C heat. And the TV wouldn’t work. After a few hours wait the boss turned up to try and fix the TV but to no avail.

By this stage we were pretty hot and bothered. The boss was good enough to move us to the cabin next door with a working TV and better aircon unit. Once we relocated it was time to hit the hot pool. And what a relief it was in the 32C water temp.

A nice picnic dinner at dusk on the cabin balcony watching all the flying foxes head out to feed for the night, finished off the day on a positive note.

Wednesday 4th September:

After a bit of a sleep in we went for a drive to the Bitter Springs hot pools just up the road. Not as nice as the Mataranka hot pools. They are a little slimy on the bottom and in the flowing water. Didn’t bother to go for a swim so headed back to Mataranka.

Had lunch at the bar while watching “We of the never never” which was filmed in the local area. The homestead for the movie was built at the back of the car park and still stands today.

After a cup of tea and a lay down we headed back to the hot pools for the afternoon.

Thursday 5th October:

Long drive today as we left Mataranka for Wauchope (Devil’s Marbles) where we covered 670km in 7.5 hours (Had a few rest stops). A very basic cabin. At least the aircon works but no TV here, sadly.

We are staying two nights so that tomorrow we can visit the Devil’s Marbles just out of town. Might have to hit the pool in the afternoon.

Bizarre thing happened outside our cabin. I struck up conversation with a guy and his wife who were also booked into a cabin next door. It turned out he was originally from Port Lincoln which in 70km from where I was born and grew up (Cummins in SA). We both left the area many years ago but mutually knew people from Cummins. Small world.

Friday 6th October:

Bit of a sleep in then off to the Devil’s Marbles just down the road (6km). Awesome place with these huge granite marbles balanced in precarious places. And the red earthy colours in the shade and sunlight are just spectacular.

Then off to Wycliffe Well 20km in the opposite direct. Now Wycliffe Well is the “Roswell” of Australia. The roadhouse is full of “sightings” of UFOs by locals and visitors alike. Sadly we didn’t see anything while visiting. Weird place.

Back to our cabin for a light lunch and afternoon siesta before heading back to The Devil’s Marbles for the sunset. Sunset wasn’t the best due to clouds but when the lowering evening sun hit the marbles it was a brilliant light show.

Saturday 7th October:

Left Wauchope for Alice Springs (400km and 4 hours later). On the way, struck rain of all things for about 50km. It was actually quite heavy at times. The colours the desert produces under the stormy lighting was amazing. All very vivid.

The mighty Mazda got a bit of a wash and I see a few of the bugs were washed off the front bumper.

Arrived in Alice Springs and straight to the Info centre to book some accommodation at Uluru and Kings Canyon. Also looking at some local tours as well. Got quite frustrating at times as trying to coordinate everything was a real challenge.

It has rained on and off for the last week and a lot of the 4×4 tours have been cancelled due to the conditions. Anyway we managed to get a bit of an itinerary together for the next 10 days.

Sunday 8th October:

Little sleep in and then off to the camp kitchen for free pancakes. Each Sunday the management put on free pancakes for the holiday park guests. We got there right on 8:30am (Runs 8:30 – 9:30am) and the line was building. Over 1 hour they typically serve 600 ish pancakes. The record is 920 pancakes made in one sitting in the busy season.

They also had a very nice huge “pot” of tea made with real tealeaves.

The record for most pancakes in one sitting was 13 for male and 10 for female. We had one each and that filled us up.

Then off for a drive round the town (visited Anzac Hill) and stopped for some groceries. Back to the cabin for our afternoon siesta.

Settled in for the evening and Australia Survivor.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

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