Saturday, 19 July 2008

Renner Springs - Newcastle Waters - Daly Springs - Larimah - Mataranka

411(3732) kms

Campfire singalong
It was our customary early start - pre dawn - and whilst Sue prised the sleep from her eyes, I caught some nice early morning light photos of the pink sky and a giant windmill in silhouette on the film camera unfortunately for you. We were on the road by eight, still with a day to catch up and health issues for me still unresolved. The asthma puffers were giving me a share of nasty side affects which I would have rather avoided.

Our 411kms today took us north to Mataranka. On the way there we called in at Elliott for fuel - as desolate a place as it was on our previous visit in '95. Houses were either half built or half torn down and the residents here and there seemed lost in some sort of dream haze which didn't register visitors. We didn't see Day Waters, as it’s off the Stuart Highway to the west and beyond it, the Tanami Desert, but we stopped in the shade of a tree for morning tea. They have extended their buildings at the roadhouse to include more motel space for the passing trade.

Mataranka Resort was reached just before 1:00pm leaving us all afternoon to kick back and relax in the thermal pool. The pool was lovely - cleaner than I remember it - but then it is managed by the National Parks. The area enclosed inside the NP fence is crossed with walking trails and all sorts of little nooks and crannies, although every track we went on we got looks from grannies. The resort which adjoins it is managed by a private group and it has become a dirty echo. Decay is obvious in everything from the service, to the entertainment, to the campground (luxurious grassed sites in 95 are now deep dust bowls) and the amenities. Sue rates their toilets and showers as the worst we have seen.

Still, you make the most of things and we had a few cleansing adult soft drinks, ordered dinner (Sue's first night off) and listened to a local lass singing to Midi-files!

We walked hand in hand after dinner, finding our campsite in the moonlight before crawling into our swag and letting the possums sing us to sleep.

For the record, they were better at carrying a tune and their Midi files sounded like real leaves rustling in the lazy warm breeze.

We should sleep well.

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