A trip to the Northern Territory. Part 1
Having been absent from the world of blogging for quite a while, what better way to get back into it than showcasing our very recent adventure to the Northern Territory. Alice Springs being the furthest point we would go to and at about 2351km(according to Google maps) from where we live, some planning was required. particularly if your going to drive. Now Google Maps tells you it will take 25 hours. That’s one full day of driving plus one hour, no stops…. Throw in a car load of people(4 kids plus 2 adults), makes for an interesting trip to say the least! Don’t panic, we didn’t do it in a day +1. We did it over four days, had a look around, made our way back and ended up clocking about 6250km travelled in just under three weeks.
Hope you enjoy this series of posts, it may take a while but hope you can stick around and enjoy them as much as we enjoyed our little holiday!
A Road not so much less travelled
Saturday Night 18/06
Having ticked of several different lists, scratched my head more than a few times, what else do we need, what have I forgotten, do I need this if this happens? Time is fast approaching when the road will be calling us and I think we have everything packed, a bit late now if we haven’t! There is so many little things that you need to think about when your leaving on an extended holiday over what may include rough terrain. Major items may include bedding, clothing, food, cutlery, plates, cups, toilet paper, shovel. Did you swap the gas bottle over? Minor items may include, well what do you class minor, something that’s small? What about spare nuts and bolts, hose clamps, D shackles, tools, wire? I’m afraid nothing is small on a big trip like this, many things can go wrong.
Sunday Morning 19/06
I think the alarm went off about 5:30am, hoping to be on the road about 6:30am. We were planning for a big day to get us on the way. Morgan in South Australia was the destination 843km away and roughly 9 hours driving time. Seven o’clock we drove out the gate, a little late but not bad. Our adventure had started.
Morning tea saw us in Deniliquin for a quick cuppa and a fuel stop. Everything seemed to be holding together and the bikes were still behind us, always a good sign.
Lunchtime had us in Balranald and it was still cold. I did have shorts on but always find that more comfortable to drive in than jeans or trousers. To me car interiors can become quite warm and make one sleepy. Not a good thing. We pressed on for Mildura then Cullulleraine for another fuel stop. By this stage the sun was truly starting to sink in the western sky. Our dream of reaching Morgan on day 1 was evaporating as I was not willing to risk dusk and night travelling through kangaroo infested territory. We headed for Renmark and decided to call it a day there.
Camped by the Murray at a free camp site amongst the gum trees, wonderful, plenty of firewood! Wrong, there was no firewood. All those pesky campers before us had cleared any fallen wood out of there. Small twigs and plenty of bark had to suffice, amazingly we made do!
Monday Morning 20/06
Time to pack up and get back on the road and see how far we can get today knowing that we were behind our original schedule by 116km. Day 2 we originally pencilled in Coober Pedy but from our current location that was 935km away, realistically we knew that we wouldn’t be able to do it so we would push on until the light started to fail. Every stop takes longer than what you think it will. Made it to Crystal Brook for Lunch and more fuel, a nice little town. We then pushed on for Port Augusta. I had heard stories about this place but was heartened to notice a road sign that said “You have come a long way and so have we”. We stopped for groceries at about 3 pm here amongst all the army convoys. There was army stuff every where, then realised Cultana Army Training Reserve was not far from here. Boys had fun looking at everything!
Bushmaster, now that’s one solid vehicle and even being in a Pajero ourselves as I pulled up beside one I was still looking up to its drivers window. We pushed on through Port Augusta, came to a roundabout. Left was the Eyre Highway and Western Australia, right was the Stuart Highway and the Northern Territory. Right it was and now we were really heading north. We made it to a destination I like to call “Somewhere on the Stuart Highway about 70km south of Pimba”.
Beautiful sunset, lovely full moon, soft red sand, fireplace already prepared for us, oh and burr’s! Boys keep your shoes or thongs on please..Stuart Hwy on one side, Trans Tasman Railway line on the other, lovely and peaceful. Sort of!You get use to the road trains pretty quick because they go all night long. Three or Four semi trailer behemoths all joined together rumbling along in the dark getting louder as they approach you. The other problem was the other type of train, lights piercing the darkness a rumbling noise getting louder and whoosh, a goods train rolls passed on to some far-flung destination. Lucky there was only 2 overnight.
Tuesday Morning 21/06
Up early, pack and on the road again. Decided to get to Pimba for late breakfast at Spuds Roadhouse.
Decided on the Big breakfast and then to forgo lunch, we were trying to reach Coober Pedy for the night and have a look around. Got their early afternoon and it didn’t seem that appealing to us, so decided to stock up on fuel and supplies and press on to Cadney Homestead which we reached about 5pm. Cadney Homestead(Park) is a large Roadhouse with Bar, Restaurant, Various accommodation options and fuel of course, as are most road houses out here and across Australia. Get set up, cook tea, HOT SHOWER! Now that was nice!
Wednesday Morning 22/06
Final push for Alice Springs today which was still overcast and drizzling now and then. Reached the border about lunchtime and had a quick toilet break and a power nap.
Pushed on to Kulgera for Lunch
Alice Springs was within our grasp now and about 3pm we rolled into town. Pulled up to the MacDonell Ranges Big4 caravan park to be greeted with 2 queues of caravans and camper trailers waiting to check in! The person in front of me at the check in counter was a bit bothered since the caravan park had no reference of their internet booking. Oh no I thought, hope they have mine! All was well, checked in and made our way to campsite #316. This would have to be the biggest campground in Australia, there were at least 500 sites I think. Massive!
So that was our Journey to Alice Springs where we spent 5 days relaxing and seeing the sites! Stay tuned for part 2.