Todays adventure began with us waking up at our free camp spot, next to the highway in the NT. The warm night before had turned into a very warm morning so after a quick pack up we were on the road.
Our destination that day was the town of Katherine, where my dad had been born in fact. On the way we stopped into the only town along the way, Timber Creek. While there we had some scones at a little shop on the side of the road. It seems the scones took on a more timber consistency rather than there normal fluffiness, as you would expect, but nevertheless we had a nice pit stop and continued on.
We arrived in Katherine around lunchtime and first headed to the visitors center as we always do. A lovely lady, who gave us an insane amount of pamphlets, helped us and then we headed to the supermarket. They had a Woolworths, there was cause for celebration!
With a fridge stocked for the night, which was half beers, we headed to the towns BIG4 caravan park. Along the way we stopped first at the town’s Toyota yard as we had noticed a noise coming from the car and something strange about our wheel, when we drove the car bounced quite a lot. In the back of our minds we assumed it was just the bumpy NT roads, but worth checking up on. And Alex’s suspicions were right, the noise was nothing bad in the end, but the bouncing had been caused by a blown shock absorber on one of our front wheels. The mechanic said he could not help us for at least a week and that we were better not taking Toyota parts but cheaper ones, which did the same job. We asked if driving to Darwin would be fine and it was all ok. So with that information in our back pockets off to the caravan park we went, where we checked in and got a nice little spot next to a lovely couple from Victoria.
As the sun stayed up for a little longer than in WA, we took advantage of it and Facetimed with my family. In the end we got to see all of them as they were having a cute family dinner at my sisters, very nice to see them all and of course recount our last few days, as well as our adventures in Kununurra…
This caravan park was definitely a step up from our free camp spot the night before and technically with out weekend away to Purnululu where it was also bush camping, we had not really showered for 4 days. Ok yes we had used our bush shower but it’s not the same ok. With a massive shower block that also had washing machines we set to using up their facilities.
Whilst I was doing some washing the power seemed to go out, at first I thought it was just the laundry light had switched off because it was around 7/8pm and the normally they shut lights off at a certain time to stop people using them. But no I came back to our spot and the water had also stopped running, noted by an older couple who’s caravan pipes now suddenly didn’t work, oh no.
Turns out the whole towns power had blown and after 10-15 minutes it all came back on. But for that period of time I was worried I would then not have a shower for 5 days…Alex had been lucky to go beforehand so in his nice clean state he just relaxed on his phone during this whole thing. Where there was me panicking about no shower, thankfully for the whole town and I it was not a long powerless stint.
After this all occurred, Alex and I slowly realised that it was getting quite late and we should probably start to cook. At 10pm we sat down to eat at the campers kitchen, where all around us people had long since gone to bed. On the plus side we had the whole kitchen to ourselves, where we played some music and danced around like dorks.
Another beautiful warm night gave way to a lovely warm day. We intended on visiting Katherine Gorge, however once we arrived at the national park we were informed that they mostly did tours, but also that they would recommend using a full day or two to explore and take our time. We did not have this intention as such, as we arrived at midday and had intended on stopping quickly to then drive to Litchfield National Park further up. So after a look at each other we decided to get back in the car and give it a miss on this occasion, after all we could stop by on the way back down from Darwin if we wanted to.
With Litchfield National Park in our sights we headed in that direction. On the way we stopped in at Douglas Hot Springs which my dad had told us about. Dad we stopped in, it was just as your friend described, natural pools that heated to 60ish degrees but then at points cooled down and were fresh. We first walked around ourselves just putting our feet in certain points to test the water. It was pretty hot in places and with it being a very warm day it just felt strange to go swimming in warm-hot water. So with the intention of leaving we headed back to towards the car, however on our way back we met another young couple (there weren’t any others around the place) who told us that there was a lovely spot where you could stand and have cold and hot water on you at the same time. They seemed very excited about it and said they sat there all day the day before, so we followed them around to the spot.
About 2 hours passed where we were talking to this couple whilst standing in very hot water. You could even see the bubbles coming up from the sand, which is where most of the heat came from. But the couple were really lovely to talk with, we stayed 2 hours after all when we had been leaving when we met them. They were originally from Poland, had come to Australia to study 7 years ago, become citizens and had moved around every few years. Currently they were 4 months into an intended 5 year trip around the country in a caravan, they intended to volunteer at national parks around the country and then eventually find somewhere they might like to settle. We realised how much time had passed and said our goodbyes. We got their number to possibly catch up somewhere else on our travels and then drove again.
Litchfield National Park was slightly too far away for us given the time of day, so we decided to stay one night at the nearby town of Bachelor. We checked into the Bachelor Holiday Park for the night. We were placed right up the back of the park and it was beautiful. Picture Bali with its palm trees and humid weather, but then mesh in a vision of Jurassic Park on top of that, if you can. I have a strange imagination, or way of explaining things based on things seen before, but I kid you not it felt like we had stepped into a Jurassic park scene with a Bali/Australian theme somehow, I know weird. It also reminded us of Jungle Book but we thought that might be too weird since it’s a cartoon…or even that show Swamp People, in America where they live near the water and catch alligators, another setting that came to mind where we entered the NT and the town of Bachelor…
The town back in the day had a pub called the Rum Jungle, it apparently still existed and in our minds we pictures a wooden building by the water with palms all around it, really cool and old school. We were wrong, it was just a regular country pub.
But getting there was fun in itself; in Alex and Alyce style we got a little lost. We set off in the dark in the direction we thought the pub was, walking down pitch black streets where all of a sudden lots of birds started to fly over head. Or that was at least what Alex thought they were, until one flew near a dim street light and we saw the same outline as Batman’s insignia. We were surrounded by bats flying above, in a small town in the middle of nowhere, where we did not see anyone else on the street = creepy. We got to the end of the street, looked around and had no idea which way to go to the pub, so we walked back. When we got back we passed the park owner who said we had been going in the right direction but had to keep going just maybe only a hundred meters further. So back we went, down the dark creep bat infested street, we turned left and fund ourselves at the pub.
We had a drink and then headed back to cook dinner; by this time it was around 10pm. We were really not great with time. Whilst cooking dinner we decided to have a few more drinks, and it was quite a fun meal to cook whilst a little alcohol happy. It safe to say our dinner tasted amazing and Li I successfully made your peanut sauce!