NOW: BUCHANAN HIGHWAY TO WA BORDER
After a one night visit To Katherine for a dentist and an obligatory stop at the Daly Waters Pub we called in to the ghost town of Newcastle Waters where all the old stock routes meet. We were surprised to find water on both sides of the road as we drove through the floodway but we also saw the Todd River flow when we were in Alice Springs so you never know!
Our ultimate destination is the Murranji Track on the Buchanan Highway so 8kms north of Dunmarra we left the Stuart Highway and headed west. The track had dusty and then rocky sections and was in better condition than we’d expected. There were many floodways, dips and causeways so we’re sure it’s a completely different drive in the wet. There was water in the Victoria River crossings despite this being the driest stock route in the country.
After an overnight stop at Jaxper Gorge we headed along the rockiest section of the road and into Victoria River. We’d planned to stay at Sullivan Creek but it was dry, dusty and exposed so we went back to the Victoria River Roadhouse with grass and shady trees. When did our flat 7 pin plug fall off? Luckily we had a spare in the toolbox! We checked outa the Victoria River boat ramp, climbed the Escarpment Walk and found a good fishing spot at the old river crossing. We saw several big barramundi but the birds were more interested in our lures than the fish.
Our next stop was Bullita Homestead in Gregory River National Park. Originally Charlie Schultz who ran the nearby Hulbert River Station used Bullita as an outstation. The existing homestead was built in the 1950’s and the outbuildings and cattle yards have been preserved. This is limestone country where the acid in rain has cut sharp ridges and the algae causes calcite flows in the river bed. The road to the limestone gorge travels up the rocky creek bed for some distance and past the Tufa Dams which are natural rock pools.
At Timber Creek we cruised the Victoria River where both fresh and salt water crocodiles sunbake on the sand banks. The sea eagles and kites showed their hunting skills and the sunset across the water was just stunning. Everywhere you look there are stunning cliffs and spectacular vistas.
As we travelled west on the Victoria Highway we passed the boab that explorer Gregory marked in 1856 and on to Keep River National Park. Bushstone curlews gave us a bedtime warning and morning alarm each day. We saw the sun rise and walked up Jarmen Lookout before it got too hot passing the emu rock art at Nigli Rock. In the late afternoon we caught a freshwater crocodile floating in the water in the Keep River.
NEXT: BUNGLE BUNGLES
See you on the emu track
Cheryl and David