The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

13 June, 2013

Made it to the Top End

Pelicans at Longreach Waterhole

After leaving Coober Pedy we had a wet sail and decided not to stop and camp until we made it to the Territory border, hoping for sunshine and warmer temperatures ...... not the case!!!  We camped 2 metres inside NT [Ref 073] but that did not seem to increase the temperature. 

The line in the bottom LH corner is the NT/SA border, we're the second van on the NT side

Then to Alice Springs, still not a lot warmer, lots of campers getting ready for the Fink Race but still overcast so we only stayed one night then onto Devils Marbles [Ref 024].  The weather was starting to warm up but still cold nights.  Even though we had camped there several times previous it was nice to stop for a day without driving on.  I also made the most of taking lots of photos and watching the sunrise.  As it happened we were there for the first Rangers talk for the season, so had a fire provided by the Rangers and learnt about controlled burning.  Also meet a Canadian lad who was travelling through Australia, his objective was to travel around the word without flying.  So far he had achieved this but has already had some interesting adventures travelling on cargo ships.

Over 40 campers at the Devil Marbles

One of many sunset piccies

The Rangers talk, nice and warm

One of the locals admiring the van!!

From here we travelled to Tennant Creek, although not the most popular of overnight stops we caught up with Megs and Andrew, Megs is a friend of Briony's from her Governessing days.  Good to see their two children, Sydney-Jack and Lila-Rose.  At last the shorts came out and some of the coats and jumpers put away.

We had heard about Longreach Waterhole [Ref 094] and was keen to see if we could get the van in. The Waterhole is situated just outside Elliot and was a great stop over.  In fact, we stayed 3 nights.  What a great spot, even for amateur birdwatchers we saw Pelicans (ok they are everywhere), Jabirus, Brolgas, Silver Larks, Zitting Cisticola, Murray Larks and was entertained throughout the day by the Whistling Kites.  A great place to stay (put this in the note book DD) until the Saturday of the long weekend when the locals from Tennant Creek come out to play on a jet ski, yep woke me up and scared the living hell out of the Pelicans.  Wasn't too bad and the bird life came back during the day.  Every morning I sat outside with a cuppa to watch the sunrise over the billabong, life is great .....

More Pelicans at Longreach Waterhole [094]

One of many sunrise piccies

Our camp

Just to prove I did see a Jabaru

If you look hard enough you can see the Brolgas

Oh another day another sunrise

Guess what ...... sunrise, I had to take these for Hels

After leaving Longreach Waterhole we camped the next night at Gorrie Airstrip about 250 km further north.  On arrival we thought we had found the airstrip which, we thought was a bit overgrown but never the less found a secluded spot to camp on one of the airfield building concrete pads (Hels made some comments about taking the van into scrub, but just had to clear a few termite mounds!).  Scared the blazers out of us when we saw a F250 towing a Bushtracker come around the corner as thought we had the place to ourselves!.

As it turned out when we were leaving in the morning they saw us and called us up on the radio, we hadn't actually found the airstrip but only a straight section of road constructed at the same time as the airstrip which commenced in 1942, with the airstrip completed early 1943. US funds were utilised for the construction of the runway and airfield facilities and at one stage during it's operation, the site contained some 6,500 personnel.  Thankfully we did get to see the actual airstrip which looks in good condition and I understand is still used on occasions today.

Camp spot next to the building footings at Gorrie airstrip

From here we headed into Darwin where will spend the next week or 2 catching up with friends.

1 comment:

The Retro Roamers said...

Ya!!!!!!!!! no more jumpers. Wot's this about having Gorries to your self. You two weren't up to no good now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!