Monday, 14 January 2013

New Year – New Adventure

Darwin to Julia Creek

Tuesday 1st January

We left Paul’s early and drove to Mataranka. It is still incredibly hot. Unlike those brave pioneers who followed the stock routes, we are following the air conditioning route……none of this free camping rubbish…..give us powered sites!!!!!

To this end, we stopped at ‘Territory Manor Motel and Caravan Park’….$30.00 and worth every cent. The reception area was deserted and there was a clipboard and a note saying ‘leave your rego details, find a spot and we will catch up with you tomorrow’…so we duly did just that, went for a swim in the pool and tried to stay cool for the rest of the day.

The night did prove somewhat problematic in that the air conditioning got soooooooo cold that Ron would wake up and go and turn it off only to find us dripping wet again within ten minutes and we would have to put it back on. This happened no less than about four times although it seemed more like forty.

My upper back and chest pains that I have been having for the last couple of years (the ones that doctors did every test known to man and still can’t find a reason for) have become really unbearable and that also made for a bad night.

Wednesday 2nd January

I was still really sore this morning and got Ron to rub my upper back…..oh joy oh bliss… felt sooooooo good!!!!!

We left Mataranka at nine and headed south.

We stopped at (95) Newcastle Waters Rest Area for lunch. We thought about staying the night… was very hot but there was a nice breeze and NO humidity…..but we woosed out.

We continued on to (92) Renner Springs Desert Inn (the name sounds much grander than the place). We parked up, plugged in and went straight around to the pool. The water in the pool was actually cool!!!!!

Then we came back and had nana naps…although technically not a nana yet…but …..maybe. Once again Telstra has outdone itself and we have no mobile coverage. The bub is due tomorrow!!!!!

Later in the evening, after dinner we sat outside for a while looking at the stars until the call of the air conditioner became too much and we went back inside.

Thursday 3rd January 2013


I was up at 7 o’clock this morning so I could beat the heat (ha ha) and walk around the little lagoon in the camping area. It was very pretty with lots of birds. I followed the signs and immediately took a wrong turn and ended up in a little back water behind the main waterway.
It turned out to be quite fortuitous because I came across two black swans there

 After breakfast we set off along the highway once again.

  We continued on to (5) Barkly homestead and followed our now regular routine of book in, park up, go for a swim and then settle into the air conditioning.

Ben rang…..still no go on the baby front…..

I did some more knitting, a bit of reading and burnt our first incense stick thanks to Cheryee’s birthday present. Indie is fast becoming a Hippy van.

Friday 4th January

We headed off towards Queensland and made our first stop just over the border – (315) Camooweal billabong. We stopped for lunch in almost the same spot as we stopped on the way up.

They have obviously had a bit of rain since we were there in October (almost three months to the day). The place was still teeming with birds. As we sat eating we contemplated the advantages of staying overnight. The temperature was pleasant and there was a lovely breeze but we decided to push on to Mount Isa instead.

The lovely Liz (who lived down the road in Helensvale) moved to The Isa not long after we left. Her daughter, Tash lives there and Liz is hoping for work in the mines.

We arrived on her doorstep in time for afternoon tea and had a fabulous catch up on all the goss. Ron and I then decided to go to the Mount Isa Caravan Park (the same one we stayed in on the way up) and book in and then all four of us could go out for dinner.

Liz rang us to give us directions so we could meet up with Tash and her  (at the house where Tash has been housesitting) and we could all go together in Tash’s car to ‘The Overlander Hotel’ for dinner. Turns out The Overlander is directly across the road from our caravan park….too easy Campesie!!!!

Since I had a good half hour up my sleeve, I hurried off for a quick shower.

The pub did look a little rough around the edges but the food was to die for…..I had Barra with avocado, prawns and hollandaise sauce (as did Liz and Tash) and Ron had Chicken Parma. They all came with chips and salad in portion sizes that you could not jump over. They were delicious.

Saturday 5th January

I could not believe it…..I forgot to take photos of Liz and Tash…..too busy having a good time!!!!

Anyway, I was up early (around 8.30) so decided to take advantage of the weather and do some laundry. I could not find the dress I had worn yesterday anywhere and suddenly thought OMG, I’ve left it in the shower last night.  Well, I scuttled off and there it was still hanging up where I had left it. I did not know whether to be impressed by fellow campers honesty or offended that no-one liked it enough to pinch it!!!!

At 11.00am Ron and I rang the courtesy bus from The Buffs Club and got a ride down there. We had a coffee in their coffee lounge then nipped over to Coles across the road and did some groceries. We came back to The Buffs, had a drink, sat in the sports bar, watched some cricket and then caught the courtesy bus back home. I thought it was a bit cheeky but the lady in the caravan park advised us to do it because everyone does.

There is still no respite in the weather. It is still in the 40s. But looking at the news (when we get a chance) the whole country is in the same boat. There are lots of places worse than where we are and I can’t believe poor old Tassie!

Sunday 6th January

Heading out of Mount Isa, we were amazed at how the vegetation has come back from the bush fires that had been through when we came up in October.



We were also petty amazed to see camels!!!!


We drove on to Cloncurry (a short stop for fuel and groceries) and through to Julia Creek.

We have stopped at (303) Julia Creek Caravan Park and have decided to stay here until the grandbaby is born…still no sign of him yet!

The caravan park here is another council caravan park and is very nice. There is not much shade but the amenities are lovely, there is an Olympic size swimming pool next door and it is only 500metres walk to town. The other big plus is that it is only $50.00 for three nights so we have booked in till the12th.

The managers of the park have loaded me up with maps of the town and strict instructions to visit the Tourist Information Centre. For the moment though, it is just park up and put on the air con.

We put the awning out but the breeze was so strong we took it down again.

Mark, a long term resident stopped by for a bit of a chat with his dog, Penny….much amusement all round!!!!

We have settled in for another warm night.

Monday 7th January

This morning doesn’t seem quite so hot but at 10.00am on the dot, it was off to the pool. It is only open from 10.00am til 2.00pm.

We stayed for the whole time. It is great. It costs $1.60 each and it is almost completely covered in shade cloth so the water is actually cold!!!! They even supply noodles and other floats and toys for free.

After our swim, we went for a walk into town and dutifully went to the Tourist Information Centre. It was really good. It comprises a group of fettlers cottages and each one has different info relating to the area. We watched a video on the Great Artesian Basin and another on the Julia Creek Dunnart – a little marsupial mouse type creature thought to be extinct but actually coming back now.
We went and bought groceries and real coffee. You don’t appreciate how rare it is to find a real cappuccino machine out west!!!!!! We walked around town and went to the park with the mosaic chair (another of the Caravan Park manager’s recommendations)

We actually slept without the air conditioning on tonight. It was warm but there was a wonderful breeze.

Tuesday 8th January

Ron and I spent the morning in the pool yet again and after lunch Ron retired to the air con and watched telly and read while I worked on my diary in the Camp Kitchen.

I intend to get on with more knitting shortly (I have finished my second banana in pyjamas and am working on a mushroom shaped rattle). I am also reading ‘The Casual Vacancy’ by J.K. Rowling one of my birthday presents from Ron.

Wednesday 9th January

We spent another quiet, albeit hot day in Indie with the air con at full bore.

We did of course spend our 4 hours (10.00 till 2.00) at the pool.

We thought about walking to town but decided against it. The sun would burn the flesh right off your bones.

The temperatures have not dipped below 40 degrees since we arrived!!!!


Thursday 10th January

We decided to brave the elements and walk into town this morning so we set off at 8.30 to beat the heat.

We did the groceries and I bought another of the ‘Friendly Grocer’ coffees.
We were about to return home when I espied ‘Colemans Country Wear and Hairdresser’.
Ron left me to it and headed home with the groceries.
The shop sold mens, womens and babies apparel, all manner of fabric and haberdashery and contained a separate room for the hairdressing salon! Since there was only one other customer, I was shown in straight away and had my tresses trimmed by a lovely young woman for the princely sum of $30.00.


I then sallied forth to the Tourist Information Centre, because although Ron and I had seen the dunnart film, there was also a live exhibit of Digby the Julia Creek Dunnart.

  The poster outside warns about the vicious creature within. I thought they were joking since he is only 30cm long including tail. He is a cute looking little critter, much like a marsupial mouse but my guide assures me that pound for pound they are more vicious than Tassie Devils and Digby spits and bites and hisses like nobody’s business. He is three and a half years old (they only live to about three years usually so he is a good six months past his ‘use by’ date). They only have the one because males and females must be kept separate because otherwise they eat each other – no wonder they are almost extinct!!!!!!!

After that, it was back home and off to the pool for our morning swim. I had a lovely chat with Sharon, the lifeguard whose husband is the sergeant of police.
We have new next door neighbours. This is the fourth lot who have moved in next door. There are over 28 powered sites in the park but for some reason, every one parks next to us then they scuttle inside and we don’t see them and then they leave the next day with ne’er so much as a by your leave!!!!
The wind has sprung up tonight, there is heaps of lightning and Indie is actually rocking in the wind. There is no rain yet though.
Friday 11th January
After our usual morning dip, we went back home and got ready to leave tomorrow. We have decided to travel towards Townsville just on the off chance that we might be getting a grandson one day soon!!!


  1. Well, well, you two are becoming quite the adventurers. I might have to start calling you Mike and Mal (You are Mal, Penny, short for M'lady!). I can't believe it's 2013 and you have been travelling for 9 months. Where has the time gone? It's Tuesday 15/1, so I'm hoping to hear about the grandbaby soon. Poor Anita having to be so very pregers during this nasty heat wave. I'm glad they have that enormous a/c in their house ... Mum and bub will need it. Glad to hear you are both keeping well for the most part. Those chest pains have me concerned, but not at much as you I bet. Are there any plans to return to the big smoke for a visit this year?

    Love and hugs,

  2. Sooooooo lovely to hear from you....
    Ronnie tells me you are going for a new job....
    Good luck!!!!!!!!
    hope it works out well.....
    (You may have to brush up on your maths though....
    we left home in July so it is only six months – but I do agree it has gone by very quickly!)
    I have just come back from the pool after a nice swim and am waiting patiently now for sun downers......
    Life’s good!!!!
    We will be heading south at the beginning of February but don’t know how long it will take to get back there
    Don’t worry though....we would not dream of passing by without descending on you all!!!! (or maybe you should worry!!!)
    Stay well