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May 2013 - Mt Isa to Alice Springs

After a few days dosing up on big smoke facilities we headed back out into a bit more remoteness.
First stop was West Leichhardt station just North of Mt Isa. This is a working cattle station with tourist accommodation. Had a pleasant few days amongst green grass.
This part of the world missed out on wet season so was very dry and stock numbers were down.

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More rocks in this area and a contrast to the black soil plains to the East.
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Further North was Lake Julius, stopped in there for a look but lots of no camping signs so moved on. Next major stop was the Burke and Wills Roadhouse famous for nothing other than being in the middle of nowhere, or halfway between Cloncurry and Normanton.

And so we arrived in Noramanton, and found a big swimming pool and other water features:
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Normanton is famous for Krys the bloody enormous croc that was shot here in the 60's. Hard to believe this is a lifesize replica:
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Cultural event was Saturday night Karaoke in the Purple pub.

Grooming kids:
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Normanton to Karumba is only about 70km and on the coast at the Eastern End of the Gulf. Very popular with grey nomad fishermen who migrate here for the winter. Some spend between April and September here every year.
Outdoor classroom.
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Sunset over the sea, bit of a novelty, especially when with warm nights and the local fish and chips.
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Mandatory play on the beach.
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From Karumba we headed toward Lawn Hill National Park, via a few back roads south of Burketown:
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Didn't come across many road trains until the Gregory to Lawn Hill Road,
Before:
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After:
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Lawn Hill Creek is spring fed and well worth a visit. We stayed at the National Park camp but theres also a privately run campground at Adels Grove about 10ks out.

Lots of fish, turtles and the odd freshwater croc. Apparently these mind their own business if you leave them alone. Ella got bitten on the toe by a turtle.

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Justified carting a canoe from one side the state to the other.
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Plenty of nice swimming holes:
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Still very warm here. low to mid thirties during the day and only got down to 20 at night.

Back to Burketown for grazing supplies. Amusing local road sign:
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From there we headed West toward the Northern Territory via the Savannah Way. This is the unsealed road that follows the Gulf.
Found it very difficult to get reliable road conditions and river levels. Its also 320km with no fuel or much of anything else so were a bit nervous heading into it.

Crossed into NT
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Being so dry all the rivers were very low. Normally this road would be still closed this time of year.
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Made it into Borroloola with only one buggered tyre. Wasn't a particularly appealing place, so we continued on to Cape Crawford further south. Confusing name as its nowhere near the coast but is a "Cape" of the Barkly Tablelands.

Campground behind the roadhouse and live music every night by a one man guitarist/Singer called Road Dowsett. Most expensive fuel so far ($2.09)

We were going to go to Lorella Springs bu the road in was very ordinary. Took us well over an hour to do 45km. Then we broke a water tank hose so decided to abandon the next 120 odd km and head back toward Borroloola and further North to King Ash Bay. The campground there is run by the local fishing club and very well serviced.
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They had a pub serving meals most nights of the week. Mobile phone service, and a shop/servo that was well stocked. Fuel way out there was also the cheapest in the area.

Cracked a few coconuts without losing any fingers:
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Did some relaxing
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And Schoolwork
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After 4 days we headed to a station stay we had lined up back near Cape Crawford. The two girls there were the same age as our lot, so it was a good week for kids to make new friends:
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Admire the view from the top tank
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Play with chooks
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Tour to the tip:
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And learn how to find, capture and groom a semi wild horse, well an old semi gone wild horse:
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We boosted the numbers at the local KICS session (Katherine Isolated Childrens Services). They bring out a trailer load of toys every few months for a get together of local kids.
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Weekly assembly at Katherine School of the air:
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More green grass
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Grooming feral bush kids. By the end of the week they had graduated from thongs to no shoes:
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Evan found a few things to drive around:
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And was a bit sad to leave:
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From Cape Crawford we headed south down the Barkly Tablelands highway. The first 80 odd km is a gradual climb with a bit of changing scenery. After that its another 300km of pretty much nothing:
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Turn right at Barkly Roadhouse, then more flatness into Tennant Creek. Camped about 10k out of town at the Pebbles:
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In Tennant Creek we went to the first "supermarket" since Mt Isa, then on to the Devils Marbles:
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Lots of rocks and more caravans. There were about 50 odd and most had cleared out by 8 the next morning.
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Bit windy at the top:
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Been a bit of rain further south, this is about 300km North of Alice Springs:
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Crossed the tropic of Capricorn and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees. Was "only" 23 when we got into Alice Springs.
Nights have been in single figures so were doing a lot of whinging and digging out all the cloths we have.

Covered a bit of the country in the last month:
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West MacDonnell ranges this week then back to Alice next weekend for the Finke Desert Race.
Then to the big Rock and North again.

Posted by enookway 04:50

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I love a sunburnt country,blue skies,red dirt,fantastic, ENJOY.

by pittsy

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