Thursday, 18 June 2015

Outback landscapes

Morning tea stop at Dunmarra

Just a quick post today...the last two days have been spent on the road. Yesterday we decided to keep going past Tennant  Creek and turn east for Barkly Homestead as we were making good time. We travelled just over 800 kms for the day... the same long straight roads and the same scenery. Stark but beautiful. We pulled up for fuel and morning tea $1.88 per litre for diesel. Across the road was the windmill above and behind that was a flock of whistling kites riding a thermal...I couldn't get them all in the photo, but they were going to high they were disappearing into the high distance.

Located 300 kilometres south of Katherine, Dunmarra is a small settlement on the historical Overland Telegraph Line. Today, the town is little more than a roadhouse providing fuel, motel accommodation, a caravan park and other services to travellers.
An interesting story is associated with the area's name. Overland Telegraph linesman, Dan O'Mara, disappeared in the region in the early 1900s.
Drover Noel Healy established a cattle station here in the 1930s and discovered O'Mara's skeleton in the bush. The local Aboriginal people couldn't pronounce 'O'Mara', and their attempts sounded more like 'Dunmarra'. This lead Healy to the name of his station. There is a monument to the Overland Telegraph Line beside the Stuart Highway south of Dunmarra, dedicated to Sir Charles Todd, Postmaster, General of the Province of South Australia, 1872
Whistling kites riding a thermal

We pulled into Barkly... a small oasis in the middle of the NT, just in time to set up before dark. There were no powered sites left so we set up on an unpowered site over on the camp ground.

Setting up camp at Barkly

Once set up we wandered over to the restaurant for dinner, and were lucky to get the last table in the bar as it was State of Origin night and many ringers from the outlying stations had come to Barkly for a night of watching footy. Loved watching them and a new story popped into my head...about the tenth one for the trip.

We had a quick meal and couldn't believe we were in bed by 7.30! Ian was soon snoring and I just had enough charge on the laptop to clear my email and catch up on the obligatory Facebook posts. It made me think how much technology has changed the world. I remember keeping in touch with family back in the late eighties when we caravened to Cairns with the kids...and we had to pull up at a telephone box to contact home! Now we can do it all via computer from our tent in the middle of the desert.

That was until we woke up this morning to no internet service at Barkly which was a pain as we were waiting to hear from Karumba to see if we could get it a day early.

We set off about 8.30am, crossed the border back into Queensland and adjusted our clocks about two hours later...and headed for an overnight stop in Cloncurry where it is only 23 degrees! Another long day on the road through beautiful outback scenery. We travelled about 620 kms today, pulling off the side of the road and topping up with the spare diesel we were carrying in jerry cans on the camper.

Outback morning at Barkly Homestead

NT landscape

The flatness ends...Mt Isa landscape

A quick trip to the local small Woolies where we were amazed to find everything half the price it is at home! Even in the middle of the Queensland outback bananas were only $2 a kg.
We are off to the Gulf in the morning...500 km to the north and back ot the warmth... and hopefully will have prawns and mud crabs and the elusive barramundi to report on.

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