Drove further along the Victoria Highway to site of the original Victoria River Crossing.
Looks inviting but it is still a crocodile river although they are most unlikely to come up this far
Camped at one of our favourite campsites, Manbulloo Homestead about 9km west of Katherine. Yes I know I don't like caravan parks but this is a station stay with a cool green camping area under the shade of huge towering mahogany trees, and I'm prepared to pay the $23 a night for it. They encourage you to wash your cars so the grass gets watered.
Today is our 40th wedding anniversary, so in a token gesture of goodwill and surprise that we have survived this long, we went out to a delicious Barramundi dinner at the Katherine Country Club.
Went into Katherine for shopping and oil so I could do an oil change. We've done around 10,000km on this trip so far with a further 3000 to go.
Changed the oil and filter while J did the washing. I made a bit of a mess with the oil filter but J didn't make any mess at all with the washing. That's the difference between blokes and girls.
At Manballoo there is a huge dog-poo tree near the office. It's a bean tree whose fruits look just like the aforementioned doggy-doo.
The fruits look just like the real thing and if you tread on them, they stick to the soles of your shoes, just like the real thing.
J defrosted the freezer. In the warmer more humid climates, the freezer quickly freezes up to letter box dimension and there is a fridge in the camp kitchen here so we just packed everything into insulated bags and stuffed it in their freezer for an hour os so while the ice melts off. Then we have a nice clean empty fridge/freezer again.
Went into Katherine again via the "Waste Disposal Facility" which is a very convenient place to deposit waste oil and it's container, absolutely free. They even have a weigh-bridge to park on although the reading wasn't very complementary, 5.58 tonnes when our maximum should be 5.5, and half our tanks are empty. One of us is going to have to go on a diet.
The Katherine River at Manbulloo
In the Centrelink Office we learned a new word, humbugging, which apparently means threatening or harassing people to extort money, drugs, favours etc and seems mostly directed to the indigenous population and is not allowed!. I now know that when we heard the "Hey whitey, got any grog?" harassment in our Gibb River Road campsite we were actually being humbugged.
A bit more shopping and some wine which is only sold between 2 and 6pm and you need to have your photo id scanned in case you're on the D and D offenders register, which I'm not, she checked. But strangely here you can buy as much booze as you can carry, but since it's expensive and they don't sell casks, that wasn't very much.
Left Katherine after filling with 130 litres of fuel (cheapest yet at $1.54 less 10c/l Coles discount) and drove south down the Stuart Highway. We accidentally avoided the vehicle checking station with its "All Vehicle Over 4.5t Must Prepare to Stop" sign, which I misread as 45 tonnes of course.
An hour later we called in at lunchtime to Bitter Springs, a most beautiful water feature in the Elsie NP. A crystal clear, blue water and thermally heated creek running though a huge grove of palm trees.
Naturally we had to take a dip.
Bitter Springs, a crystal clear, thermally heated creek
Me not swimming towards the steps
However our visit was marred by the arrival of a group of 20 or so English girls in micro-shorts, from places like Dorset and Essex, on a tour of Oz. They'd just done a 3 day walking trek in Kakadu and couldn't believe how far everything was or how beautiful Bitter Springs was and now they unknowingly planned to upset my swim.
They all stripped down to multi coloured bikinis right in front of me (well us really, I barely noticed) and this completely disoriented my swimming endeavours, as you can see in the pic, but with J in control of the camera, sadly I have no photos to prove it.
Continue our trek here, from Tennant Creek to Alice Springs via nothing but boring bitumen, interesting Larimah, quirky Daly Waters various Devil's Marbles.