Left Daly Waters Hi-Way Inn & Caravan Park
Mataranka Homestead - visited Thermal Pools
Mataranka town - Huge pies
Camped overnight at Katherine at Springvale
Homestead Tourist Park
During breakfast we noticed a group of
what seemed to be a family of aboriginals sitting by the roadside.
Apparently they arrived overnight.
A bus arrived and we saw them saying
their goodbyes to each other. We assumed the group leaving on the bus were daughters or sisters. The bus
left and they waved it away.
A couple kept looking our way and eventually the male slowly came over to us
with his head own and eyes averted. He was
extremely polite and asked about Judy's Corgis.
He said his wife was
very interested in them and would it be ok if he brought her over to see
them. Of course we told him it was very ok to bring her over.
I had a
great feeling of empathy for him. He obviously loved his wife very much
was feeling very inferior to us. I tried my best to make him feel at
ease but he had trouble accepting that we actually wanted them there.
His wife was extremely shy and lovely. She stopped and started and he had to keep convincing her it
was ok as they came towards us. She felt great warmth for the dogs and
giggled as she stroked them.
While his wife lovingly patted and stroked the Corgis, we chatted with him about where we were
from and going to and eventually they left and went back to the other
members of the group.
We packed up and headed over to the service station section of the
Caravan Park to refuel.
In front of us was the aboriginal family. We
watched as happy, grinning kids hung out of the windows as the male who
we'd talked to tried to start
the very dilapidated vehicle.
After much trying, the vehicle started and
limped out of the service station, with smoke pouring out of the
exhaust, and stopped by the side of the road. He happily hopped out and put
his head under the bonnet and went about getting it going.
As we passed by the vehicle, he had a big, wide grin as he waved to us.
His wife smiled
If there was anything I could have done to help them, I would have, but
as an electrician I am limited in my knowledge of motors.
Again I felt great empathy for them and hoped their life improved out of
sight, though I had my doubts.
The next attraction we were
looking forward to was in the Mataranka area.
I had heard of a
beautiful spot that was described to me as like an oasis. On my last
trip through NT I was told to avoid it as I was told that it was once
lovely and natural but had been spoiled by visitors and was inhabited by
bats that caused a terrible smell. They also told me there were bottles
and plastic bags in the water.
All of this sounded terrible, so I wasn't certain what we would find on our arrival. We weren't even sure
where to find the spot. There seemed to be some conflict in the
Looking back it seems maybe there are a couple of spots at
Mataranka that can be visited.
On arrival in the the area we
noticed signs pointing to various areas but the predominant signage
seemed to point us to Mataranka Homestead. We followed the signs
to that site and we weren't disappointed!
At first sight I thought - "another commercial tourist trap" - but I was
wrong. The commercial aspects are there but the beautiful natural
aspects of the site are free for all to see.
After tying the dogs to the
vehicle in a shaded parking spot, we wandered through palm trees past
the main complex of food outlets, bars etc until we came to an open
area. In front of us we could see a well set out and maintained camping
area to the right and directly ahead an area of dense trees.
coming and going from an entrance into the treed area with towels and
swimming apparel. Ray and Coral had arrived before us, so Judy and I
decided we would walk down the path into the treed area in the hope
of finding them. Judy went on ahead as I took photos.
A signboard at the entrance had a map and description of the walk. I
looked at it, still a bit cynical at what I was about to see. I was
totally wrong in my cynicism.
As I walked down the path I was greeted by huge palms and a wonderful
natural setting. I could have taken a huge number of pictures but had to
control myself and just take representative photos. It really was
spectacular. There were none of the aforementioned negatives.
The water was crystal clear and there were no bats, just the happy
sounds of birds that flew between trees.
Judy seemed to have disappeared
somewhere in the system of tracks that wound through the magical
scenery, so I continued taking photos assuming I'd catch her eventually.
She was looking for me too and wandered out of the "green" area and
onto the western edge where a track took her to a set of waterfalls. I
saw the track but decided that she wouldn't follow it as it looked so
barren - but she did!
I didn't see her for what seemed
an age but eventually she wandered out of the bush wondering where I had
been. She told me of a wonderful spot with waterfalls where she sat and
cooled her feet in the waterfall. I was envious but decided that it was
too far and too late to tackle the track. Hopefully I'll see it on
We never did find Ray and Coral along the tracks but found them back at
the vehicle, talking to the dogs.
After we had our fill of the
area we drove on to Mataranka, the
We needed fuel again, so
I pulled into a service station that advertised huge meat pies. They
The pies were huge, even for my appetite. One pie would
make at least 2 "normal" pies. The content was delicious!
The meat had
huge lumps of well cooked meat which was held in place by what you could
only describe as a pastry roof that bulged from restraining the
I ordered TWO, not realizing the huge size.
As we drove on I
attempted to devour one but became bogged down and had to give in and
save the remains and the other one for later. Judy ordered one but had no
chance of eating it and had to do the same.
Around mid afternoon we pulled
into Katherine and began looking for somewhere to camp.
We saw a sign pointing to
Katherine Visitor Information Centre
and followed it. It's a great information centre.
The staff were really
helpful and soon we were heading for
Springvale Homestead Tourist Park.
Click on the pictures for larger versions