Sunday, 22 September 2013

Leaving Mt Isa out next planned stop was somewhere near Camooweal.

Country side around Mt Isa.
After leaving Mt Isa there was not a lot to see along the way except a lot of flat countryside - not too many hills around here.
We did see these cattle being droved along the road (the long paddock) near Camooweal which was probably pretty appropriate as Camooweal hosts the Drovers Camp each year.
This mural is painted on a wall at Camooweal and honours two local blokes who caught brumbies, broke them in and hen drove them to South Australia for the Australia Army.  Camooweal was not quite as big as I was expecting - population 310 and consisted of two service stations , a pub and a few houses and not much else.

We camped at a free camp just on the western side of Camooweal on the banks of the Georgina River.  It is a large camping area and there were only about seven or eight other campers there the night we were there.  The billabong had very little water in it.

Of course being camped by a Billabong on the Georgina River just outside Camooweal we had to have a campfire even if the temperature was still in the 30's.  The afternoon we arrived at Camooweal the temperature in our van was just on 44 degrees!  It was the hottest day we have had.  It has still been hot but not quite as bad.

Sunrise over the billabong.
After leaving Camooweal it was across the border into the Northern Territory.
Yes, they even have graffiti out here!
  This was one of the few days we have seen clouds since leaving the Atherton Tablelands.
We have certainly encountered some wide open spaces and long straight roads.  The roads have been so straight that they disappear into the horizon - they look like they disappear off the edge of the earth.  The country has been so flat and open that you can see the curvature of the earth.  As we drove further into the Northern Territory the countryside started to get greener and more grass.

We stopped at the Barkly Roadhouse for lunch.

After joining the Stuart Highway we stopped at the Pebbles.  An aboriginal scared site just north of Tenant Creek.

I was quite surprised that we did not have mobile phone coverage along the Stuart Highway considering it is one of the main highways in the Northern Territory.  The only places that had coverage was Tenant Creek and another place called Ti-Trees where you wouldn't want to stop.  We only stopped for fuel in Tenant Creek - it is not a very inviting place to stop.

We did stop to have a look at the old telegraph station which is just outside Tenant Creek.  It is being restored by the National Parks and Wildlife service.
It was then onto the Devils Marbles - or I prefer the aboriginal name of Karlu Karlu.  It is a beautiful place and has a very good atmosphere.
The area where the Marbles are is surrounded by four ranges - one to the east, west, north and south.

Whilst at the Marbles we climbed over the rocks and had our photo taken and
 played marbles... This one is so heavy.  I think I can flip it....
Then camped for the night.  Mmmh, not bad scenery....
We watched the sunrise .....
over the marbles

before a final play on them before leaving for Whytecliffe Well.....
where we were hoping for a close encounter with a UFO but there were none to be seen that day - only little green men!
So then it was onto the old telegraph station at Barrow Creek.  This old store room looked very picturesque set against the red hills and the snappy gums with their white trunks.
I was also disappointed with the places along the Stuart Highway such as Barrow Creek.  They consisted of a service station/pub, a caravan park and one or two houses but were very dilapidated and untidy looking.
We then checked out this ruin of a station homestead before.....
crossing the Tropic of Capricorn.
Is that a bend I can see in the road ahead?
Alice Springs.
We arrived in Alice Springs last Thursday. Alice Spring is bigger then I was expecting and is a much nicer town then I was expecting also.  There is quite a lot to see and do around here.
We spent most of Friday at the Alice Springs Desert Park. It is really interesting and they have shelters with seats all throughout the park which, on a hot day, are very welcome. They do a bird show with free flying birds as well as a talk in the Nocturnal house.

A Boo Book Owl taking part in the free flying demonstration.
Some little spiny critters in the Nocturnal House.

They have the park set out in areas such as the sand country, desert country and river country.

They have most of the birds of each region either in big aviaries which you walk through or into where they have seats and you can sit and watch and listen to the birds.   They have one bird which has a very shrill call and sounds pretty when you first hear it, but it's call sounds like "Did you get drunk" and after awhile it gets very annoying. (This is not that bird - it was very hard to see and even harder to get a photo of).
They also have some red kangaroos.
No, this one is not dead - it is having a roll in the dust.  I have never before seen a kangaroo roll on the ground like this but I did see two of them do it and each a couple of times.
We also when back for the night tour where we went into a different area of the park where they have a number of species that are now extinct in the wild or on the endangered list.
This is 'stick rat'.  It is not technically a rat but a marsupial.  We also saw some Marlas which no longer exist in the wild. They are similar to a paddy melon and are very cute.  In the enclosure we went to they also had brush tailed bandicoots, which we didn't see, and some bilby's which we saw fleetingly.
The next day we went to the Transport Museum and Hall of Fame.  If you are a truck enthusiast you could spend all day there.  A long the walls in this shed they had a picture and short story on all the people who have played a part in the establishment of the transport  industry. This is only one shed.  They have another shed which contains only Kenworth trucks and then they have rows and rows of vehicles outside.
Right next door to the Transport Museum is the Old Ghan Railway Museum which was also very interesting.  This photo is of the kitchen in the original Ghan train - imagine cooking in a wood stove, on a train, in the temperatures they have out here!

This is the dining room in the old Ghan which was considered back then as the height of luxury!  How times change!
The Todd River.
We are here in Alice Springs until Wednesday when we go out to the West McDonnell Ranges.







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