We left Mt Isa sad and a bit daunted by the distance we had yet to cover in order to meet Angus’ parents in Katherine within the week. I had a tip of where to find decommissioned mining tip trucks. They were huge and heaps of them. Once again I seemed to enjoy this more than the boys.
We planned lots of quick one night stops and only one stop of 3 days for a rest. This was soon revised as we pulled in at Camooweal to have dinner on the side of the road before trying to cover more ground. Duke proceeded to vomit all over me whilst I was on the toilet. You can just imagine……parenting low point. It was now powered caravan parks for the next few nights as Eddie joined in the vomiting fun that night. Turns out that Camooweal was a memorable stop for my mum over 50 years prior on her family ‘walkabout’ when she was woken in the night by a donkey in her face whilst sleeping on the verandah of the Camooweal Hotel. How things have changed…...yet some have not.BANKA BANKA WEST STATION WATERHOLE
I was recommended a camping spot along the Stuart Hwy heading north, Banka Banka West Station. They had donkeys, camels, cows, historic mud homestead, hike to a waterhole and a lookout. Great for a few days rest. Note: A 1 hr return hike is 2 hrs with a tired 2 yr old on your back and a 10 week old on your front.
2YR OLD GRUMPY HIKER (L), DUSTING THE CAMELS (R)
We were pleasantly surprised by running into the in-laws a few hours earlier than expected at a roadhouse. We proceeded in convoy to Daly Waters. It sounds like everyone stops there and it is worth it but there is hardly anything there besides a very memorable pub and a local rodeo we were lucky to catch the end of. This was our one nighter before settling into Katherine. I had high expectations of a grande gorge we would be able to view from various angles on the river and from the top of the escarpment. Well having a new baby and almost 3 year old who has been missing his afternoon naps as travelling companions effectively rules out most hikes. The cost of the cruises were prohibitive so we took a short trip to one waterhole. Had a hard reality check that we are not in the city. Crappy “80s froth” cappuccinos, babycinos were made as a macchiato (espresso with milk foam (that’ll keep the kids up!) Duke was happily drinking his until we realised what they were and the soy replacement babycino was made with dairy. “We are not in Sydney anymore Toto”.KATHERINE GORGE
Whilst Katherine was very enjoyable, we did get the sense that tourism had created a censorship of the most dramatic parts of the gorge. We needed time, money and robust fitness…...when would one achieve all these things at once I wonder?
Katherine Springs. Now that was beautiful, enjoyable, accessible and free. Perfect. So perfect we went there 3 days in a row. Crystal clear spring water at 32 degrees meandered its way through a narrow tunnel of paperbark trees and pandanus palms. Muddy evidence on the trees indicated just how high the waters flow during ‘the wet’ and how quickly it recedes considering we were there just at the change of seasons. No photographic evidence as Angus was in need of coffee and I was too busy enjoying the therapeutic tepid waters.
RESCUED COMPUTER AFTER LEAVING IT AT A QUICK STOP (L) BREAKFAST AT A FREECAMP (R)
Advice from mum of 3 boys now grown up “Go in. Go hard.”
Quote of the Trip - Duke “I love lollipops and jelly’’. This is mentioned anytime someone says they love or like something. It is also requested as the subject of his dreams when we do goodnight prayers. We have promised he can have this for his birthday.