Lake Argyle to Mataranka Gregory NP Home Mulga Park Rd, Ayers Rock,Olgas,Lassiters Cave, Giles Weather Station Mangi Rock Holes,Geraldton Bore,Carnegie Station,Wiluna Durba Springs,Lake Disappointment,Wells 1 to Talawanna Tk, Rudall River NP Georgia Bore, Thring Rock Kunawarritji, Bullant Camp, Lake Tobin, Breaden Hills, Stretch Lagoon Kununurra, Lake Argyle, Devils Marbles, Woomera
Gregory NP, Katherine, Mataranka 5.30 Got up and dressed. Early breakfast. Sat finishing my notes. Terry is slothing still; he hasn't quite recovered from the driving he did on the CSR. We expect to get to Gregory NP today. May go on further or stay there overnight. Suffering from 'trip let down'. Yesterday. Terry wants to stay on the bitumen on the way home due to weld cracks in the metal canopy on the Navara round its roof. Yes it did take a pounding in the CSR. I wanted to visit more national parks on the way home especially around Alice Springs. But maybe I have enough images in my mind to go home and paint. Too many more may just muddy it. 8.15 Departed Lake Argyle CP. Cool morning, 20c and hazy skies. 9.00 Crossed the WA /NT border and passed Keep River NP. Looked like a good dirt road in open savannah with a few hills. Camping is available here and would be OK. 9.45 Lots of Boab trees on both sides of road.. Many very old with contorted and broken branches. What strange but lovely trees. Low broken escarpment on the R. that we are tracking along the road. 10.00 Mitchell grass plains now. And small trees. Mesa and escarpments on left horizon. Appears to be the Spencer and Pinkerton Ranges. We are close to the coast according to the map; only about 30-40 km away. No views of it from the road. 10.25 Crossing the East Baines River. Two large camp sites on right. One on each side of the river. This river is big and likely to have crocs. Camp site on west side of river seems the better one. High ground? Went into Gregory NP. Walked to lookout. No camping there but huge Boab at site of original settlement in 1856. First expedition into the area paid for by London exploration society, led by Gregory and highly successful. 11.50 Big Horse Creek camp ground. in Gregory NP.  On left of road. And just off road. Looked crowded when we drove through it. No swimming in creek and camp ground fenced off probably for crocodiles. Looked a flimsy barrier to me. 12.00 Lookout on left looks out over the Victoria river from a high bluff. Two lots of camper vans camping there. Crowded, good view, no facilities. Probably not a recognized campsite. 12.10 Timber Creek advertising cabins and Caravan Park, surrounded by escarpments, near the Victoria River. The town seems to be split into several parts. The first you pass appears to be an Aboriginal settlement with houses, health centre and school. Purple Mulla Mulla flowering and Kapok bush all over this area in the last 3 days. Also Sturt desert rose. 12.15 Real Timber Creek. Several groups of houses. Shady, very nice caravan park. Good hotel, river cruises, store and fuel. 1.00 Very attractive hills, escarpments on both sides of this small village. Back in part two of Gregory NP. Spectacular hill features and great river views. At about 11 Km out past the village travelling east. 1.10 Victoria River roadhouse. There is no village here, just the road house which is new plus a new bridge. Stay in Timber Creek instead of here. Unless you roadside camp. 1.25 We have been looking for a lunch spot. Stopped at Sullivan's camp ground. This would be OK as an emergency overnight stop, but is right on the road and the creek looks a bit suspicious for crocs. Warning not to enter creek or  swim - deep and narrow. 4.00 Arrived Katherine on the highway south at last. Had to add 90 minutes on to the time zone, so it was really 5.30 local time. Terry phoned ahead and booked a cabin at Mataranka. Somehow there was too much choice here and we didn't know which caravan park would be the best. All looked like Big 4 parks with big vans. This proved to be a bad decision, but we shopped then drove off to Mataranka 7.00 It was dark when we arrived at Mataranka and the only lit up place on the highway was a hotel/fuel stop with lots of drunks around. We drove up and down several times trying to find the left turn off to the caravan park in the dark. After several enquiries we discovered it on the other side of the town with the sign partially obscured. Unknown to us at this stage, Terry had dropped his glasses outside the car at the shop when enquiring and would have to drive back to try and find them after we had settled in the cabin. The caravan park and hot springs are actually at Elersley Rd about 7km off the highway at the end of a dirt road that never seems to end. It's a rambling old huge homestead stay. No homestead is in site and  a large old hotel with bars, a store, outdoor bistro and an old motel greet travelers inside the gates. A country and western show was in full swing outside when we arrived and about 40 - 50 bistro patrons and drinkers  were the audience. It was all very weird and it took a lot of effort to find our row of cabins somewhere in the dark in the huge adjoining caravan park. It was probably once a very fine resort but that day was long gone. The cabin was of a similar outdated and old standard as the rest of the place and cost $115 night! I got started cooking steak and a salad while Terry returned to Mataranka to search for his glasses. After dinner we settled back to watch TV only to discover it was broken. When we reported this to Reception they couldn't care less;  certainly a venue I would recommend people to avoid if possible. By 10 pm we were in bed (late for us!).
Thu 18th August : 700Km
Marker Boab in Gregory NP Gregory NP