Day 24 – 28th July 2012 – at Mataranka

We left in a leisurely fashion after having a lovely quiet night at Dunmarra.

If you look on a map we are now in a latitude position almost up to Cooktown so naturally the scenery is beginning to change. The road once again was superb. At one stage we had to pull right over as a wide load was heading south. So glad it wasn’t in front of us as we would never have been able to pass it. There were 2 trucks both carrying a hugh excavator bucket each.

Our first stop was Daly Waters where there are remnants of another WWII airfield. Daly Waters is famous for its old historic pub, the inside of which is absolutely cluttered with all different sorts of collections – hats/t.shirts/paper money from all countries/stickers – you name it, it was there!

Just on the outskirts of the town is the trunk of a dead tree with a large engraved ‘S’ (now barely visible unfortunately) which was made by the explorer John McDouall Stuart on his next (and last) major expedition in which he succeeded in reaching the northern coast of Australia after setting out from Adelaide. This was May 1862. Interestingly, it was almost 80 years later, when soldiers began photographing this ‘S’ that its significance became fully realised. The tree is now in a small fenced area, but it is rather neglected.

The ‘S’ Tree at Daly Waters

We did a small self guided walk around the town. By the time we finished the walk we were all rather warm, so we are finally in warmer climes!

We drove on to a small town called Larrimah – nothing much to write about there. However, there was a small store which sold home made pies/pasties etc. which Ian and I thought would be a change for lunch. Well, the woman running this small shop was a bit of a character – having her own rules for patrons and yelling at anyone who did not obey them. We came along soon after some travellers had suffered her tirade, so very cautiously ordered 2 pasties. Much to our surprise they were $12 each. Admittedly they were very large and due to their size we managed to eat only 1, and I will freeze the other one for another day. They were quite nice thank goodness.

We then headed for Mataranka. At one stage Ian thought he saw a very tall man standing in the bush when we realised that it was a very high termite nest which had a round top like a head and someone had put a jumper and a hat on it. It really did look like a man. Later when we met up with Linda and Bruce, Linda had seen an earlier one dressed in a bra and hat!  Some people have a good sense of humour! Unfortunately we were past before we had the time to get the cameras out.

We arrived at Mataranka around 2pm. We knew we could not book in advance, but also knew it was wise to get in early. As we booked in, Bruce and Linda went ahead to find a site for both our vans when, surprise! surprise! right in the next site were Ian and Janice Baulch. I think they will think we are following them!!! Unfortunately Ian Baulch has twisted his ankle so they are taking it a bit easy.

Our tropical Van site

This Park is in a lovely spot. Bruce and Linda went for a swim in the thermal pool (after hiring a flotation device because the current takes you about 100 metres downstream and it is adviseable to have them). They enjoyed themselves. Neither Ian or I have bathers so we did not go for the swim. Plus Ian reckons it has taken him 10 weeks to get this warm — thermal pool or no thermal pool, he was not going to get cold and wet again!!! The temp. is finally in the mid 20’s, although the mornings are still cool.  Ian and I went for a walk to see the Little Roper River beside which this Park is set. We were not impressed. It looked like a stagnant water hole. The lady in the van near us also agreed. Bruce and Linda want to stay another night so we will have a bit of a rest day tomorrow. I will use this time to do washing and some housekeeping. Love to all. Janese and Ian

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