Continuing our journey back to the highway and northwards to Alice in the N.T, we were surprised to see a salt lake before stopping at the Henbury Meteorite craters and saw the huge Blue moon rising. Continuing north, we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn and then watched enthusiastic indigenous AFL players at Tennant Creek. A few days after leaving Uluru we pulled into Mataranka, a small township south of Katherine, with hot springs nearby. Four days at the Bitter Springs caravan park were enjoyed. It is a lovely, shady park with a short walk to the 32c springs. We spent hours floating down the warm stream with our pool noodles and also visited the more formal thermal pools south of Mataranka. It was difficult to leave and head for Nitmiluk National Park near the picturesque Katherine Gorge.
We had enjoyed a Katherine Gorge cruise a few years ago, but this time we took the kayaks to the end of the second gorge – a tiring yet exhilarating 7 hour, 14km return journey (plus 500 metres of carrying between the gorges) that left us tired but very relaxed.
Our final stopover before crossing into Western Australia was the Keep River National Park. It is a small park but the geological formations are similar to those we expect to see in the Bungle Bungles. We camped at the Jarnem campground and trekked the 7 kms to the lookout and aboriginal art site in the 34 degree heat. The birds were singing and as we walked the green tree frogs croaked. On the drive in we had collected a mass of firewood and had lovely fire coals to cook our vegetables in the camp oven. The stars at night were bright, white diamonds against the black sky. The road was rocky and very corrugated which made the trip in and out quite perilous, nonetheless we had a relaxing few days here.
Next we treated ourselves to an idyllic 3 nights at the great Lake Argyle Resort. Lake Argyle is 25 times larger than Sydney Harbour! Here we swam in the very special Infinity Pool every day and chilled out and washed the car and van for the first time in many months; although possibly a waste of time as the next adventure will coat the car and caravan again! A short distance further west we reached Kununurra where we left the van to explore some of the Gibb River Road.
The Gibb River Road is a well known alternative route for the 4×4 enthusiast full of corrugations, dips and rocky roads, between Kununurra and Broome. Although we would travel via the highway via Hall Creek and Fitzroy Falls we also had several places up the Gibb Road that we wanted to visit. We headed off to Emma Gorge in the El Questro Wilderness Park. It was a long difficult hike into the gorge over large boulders and rocky areas. Hidden in the gorge was a beautiful turquoise pool and large water fall into the gorge. Then to the Zebedee Springs where thermal water ran into a stream that we enjoyed soaking in after our exertion in the gorge. On to El Questro Station and finally we crossed the Pentacost River to Home Valley. The absolutely unique panorama that covers the sky line along this section of the Gibb River Road is breathtaking.
Edit 29th August: Added photos of Keep River N.P & Lake Argyle to the gallery.