Friday, April 17, 2009

Day 49- Daly Waters to Mataranka

The van park cleared early this morning. There were a couple of blokes that had travelled from Darwin to Daly yesterday and were doing Daly to Alice Springs today and then Alice to Adelaide the next day in a rush to get home before one guy's wife had their baby. Big days!

We were only planning a short trip of about 180km to Mataranka so we wer enot in a rush to head off. We had a walk through the skeleton of the town at the old Post Office and Gaol, and then drove out to the old WWII hanger. They have a heap of photos on display and info boards that are quite interesting but the place is really run down. They did a big clean up out there back in 1992 with plans to refurbish it cos it has been listed as a heritage site but i think they ran out of money. I hope they can preserve it soon. There is an old crashed (or smashed) plane half overgrown with grass out in the field and i think Mum and Dad must have taken Jordy out to have a look while i was in the hanger. He thought it was pretty good and wanted to show me. So we wandered back out and he yammered the whole time explaining to me about how there were "bits of aeroplane all broken... and the wing bits... and the men would land the plane and it all broke." Back on the road and heading north... we had heard about Frans at Larrimah. Apparently Fran home makes all sorts of cakes and scones and bread and totally home made softdrinks and icecreams etc and we thought we might call in and see what looked good.... and she was closed!!! How rude! Very sad. So no cakes for us and on to Mataranka.

Mataranka and Elsey Station is where the book We Of The Never Never was written just in case it was sounding familiar to you. I actually have never read the book but i am really keen to now so i am going to see if i can get a copy. I'm pretty sure they will sell them around here somewhere cos one place actually screens the movie every single day of the week!

There are a few camping options around the area with a few hot mineral springs and a thermal pool and quite a decent river, but we chose Bitter Springs. It's a more natural setting (instead of the concrete lined Thermal Pool) and the van park here is within walking distance.

We drove around looking for the perfect place to camp for about 10minutes! Just pick a spot already. Set up in 20minutes and then i gave the van a good clean out. A quick lunch and then into our swimmers and off to the Springs. We stuck the kids in the bike caboose and rode down.

The springs are really nice and the water is a constant 32'C. I went to a hot springs place over in Thailand but apart from that i think the hot springs down at Jenolan Caves about 20years ago is the last time i've been to mineral springs and Tim can't even remember the last time he was in some so it was fun for something different.

There are a couple of deep swimming hole areas and then a section of creek where the water flows somewhat fast and you can drift with the current down to two different areas that you can climb out and walk along a track back to the start again. As soon as they were in the water Jordy was off and floating down the river (we put his PFD vest on so he was safe in there in case he got away) and Tim had to chase after him. I went in with lard-arse (Darcy) and becuase of the minerals the water is not as bouyant as normal water and it's quite hard to kick and stay afloat. You can borrow pool noodles from the van park and it's lucky we grabbed some cos i needed two just to keep us both afloat! The pools are surrounded by tropical pandanus palms and tall trees and it's really quite beautiful. And the water is just crystal clear, amazingly so, i have no idea why it is so clear but you can see straight to the bottom even when the water is three metres deep. We thought it was rather amusing when a couple of separate family groups turned up and were all worried about the 'floaty bits' in the water! It's a creek, people! You are in nature. There are plants in the water and you might get a bit of moss or weed floating past. They stuck their toes in and look all dismayed and then we explained that there was a concrete lined thermal pool with no floaty bits a few kilometres away they were much happier and they headed back to the car for the drive over to the pool. And the springs stayed nice and peaceful for a while longer. :) I'll admit that there are two sections of the stream where the mineral and plant smell gets quite strong and a tad stinky but the water itself is lovely. I thought it might taste bitter (hence the name) but it actually tasted ok.

After we had soaked long enough and the water became uncomfortably warm we rode on back to camp. Tim went down to have a little at the river cos a few of the local kids and the groundskeeper guy here had caught a few barra in the river over the last week. The van park backs on to the Little Roper (instead of the main Roper that starts about a kilometre away). You could maybe put the tinnie in here but there is no real point and the guys are going to have a full days fishing later on cos we are staying here for a few nights. So they just threw a line in from the bank. Dad lost two lures in quick succession and got the shits and went for a drive to scout out the other local fishing holes. Tim hung around but did not catch anything. A local boy sitting in the middle of the 10m wide river just up from Tim caught a few! How rude! While the men were off fishing i put a Wiggles DVD on for the boys and Mum and i finally got to updating the blog and i helped Mum to put some photos on hers. She got an email from a friend back home that had a beautiful homebirth and is babymooning with her new little boy. Mum had a hard time reading the email to me through the tears and i know she wishes she were closer so she could see them both.

I made some fresh bread and we had that with the risotto i prepared yesterday. It's muggy and hot here (and was at Daly Waters too) so we have unfortunately left the dry heat behind and are heading back up to the tropics. Tim has always said he prefers the dry heat and because my experience with a dry heat in the past has often been to head from the seabreeze cooled coast to inland where it is just so much hotter i always thought that i must prefer coastal humid heat. But i think it must just have been generally a few degrees cooler on the coast. Cos out here the temp has not changed from a pretty much constant mid thirties but we have gone from dry to humid i have to say that the humid heat sucks! Bring back the desert! LOL!

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