Uluru and Kata Juta once upon a time known as Ayers Rock and The Olgas. This is my third visit here (2001, 2006, 2021) and each time it becomes more of a circus hahaha. Uluru and Purnululu (Bungle Bungles) are the two most unusual places in Australia.
Kings Canyon to Uluru is about a 3.5 hour drive on good paved roads. On the way you will see Mount Conner, a flat topped mountain in the middle of a plain.
Kata Juta (The Olgas) I went on the Walpa Gorge walk, the easy one.
Uluru (Ayres Rock) spectacular with hidden gems. I followed the Kuniya and Mala walks.
Alice Springs to Kings Canyon via the Meerenie Loop road. This road passes through Aboriginal land therefore you must get a permit from the Alice Springs Visitors Centre for $5.
I made a short detour to see the Gosse Bluff Meteorite Crater, the road which is quite rough takes you into the middle of the crater and being very big and old it looks like you are surrounded by a range of hills. Unlike the Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater which is clearly visible when you stand on its rim.
Frome the Crater to Kings Canyon was on the Meerenie Loop road which needs to be graded it is in poor condition.
21,055 kms so far
From Jabiru I drove South to the Daly River Pub in the middle of nowhere on the Stuart Highway. The Pub itself is the attraction being decorated with all kinds of rubbish and is considered a must see for tourists. Everything is overpriced and it is packed with tourists.
Next stop on the way South to Alice Springs was Devils Marbles.
The Stuart Highway which runs from Darwin to Port Augusta through Alice Springs is mainly one long straight road 2,834 km long, yet it is littered with wrecked cars.
Alice Springs, last stop to stock up on supplies for my journey through the desert. Altitude 545m and a dry climate, comfortable in winter during the day and sometimes freezing at night.
Litchfield National Park is just over an hours drive from Darwin and has some small waterfalls and swimming holes. The most interesting thing I saw were the Magnetic Termite Mounds, they are flat and oriented North South so they receive the sun in the morning and evening while being protected from the midday sun.
Kakadu National Park, the main attraction for me was the Rock Art or Murals from the Past. A spray can was gargling the paint and spraying it out of your mouth, paint and brushes came from the bush.
The park is on Aboriginal Land and you must buy a $30 Park pass, valid for 7 days. Alcohol is banned, I was issued a pass at the Caravan Park to enable me to buy alcohol at the bar.
Darwin – population 147,000, capital of the Northern Territory and the northermost city in Australia. It does not rain here during the dry season from May to September with a day night temperature range of 20 to 30 degrees celsius. A perfect place to wait out the school holidays as many of the city people are in the countryside filling up all the accommodation.
Darwin Military Musuem – Darwin was bombed several times by the Japanese during the 2nd WW and was the base for Allied Forces fighting in the Pacific. There are currently around 5,000 military personnel based in this area.
Fannie Bay Gaol – a very relaxed prison and where the last hanging took place in Australia in 1952.
Darwin Museum and Art Gallery
Aviation Museum – interesting place with the only B52 bomber in the Southern Hemisphere.
Jingili Water Gardens and the Botanic Gardens
Darwin Waterfront Precinct
Mindil Beach and Harbour Cruise from Cullen Bay
WW2 Fuel Storage Tunnels and Craft Breweries
Cairns to Normanton
It rained for the first two hours ascending to the Atherton tablelands, tortuous winding road, up to Ravenshoe, highest town in Queensland at 930m. Then down to the plains and the road straightened out, fuel stop at Georgetown, after that single lane road alternating with 2 lanes, lots of road kill and eagles on the road and a big goanna crossed the road. About 250 km out of Normanton on a one lane road caravan coming in the other direction threw up a stone, small crack in the windscreen. This time I have windscreen insurance included in my policy, this is a must if you plan on travelling in rural areas.
Normanton to Hell’s Gate Roadhouse
Definitely in the Wilderness now hardly any traffic, road alternated between paved and gravel. Hells Gate is not a town just a Roadhouse with a Caravan Park and some rooms. Fuel $2/litre most expensive so far. Cold at night 16c no flies or mosquitoes and reasonable Telstra signal so I decided to stay for two nights. Applied for the Northern Territory visa from here and it was granted immediately. Read about the lockdowns in NSW and WA, once in the Northern Territory I should not have to worry about crossing borders again for a few weeks. Two small planes landed and picked up a group of tourists travelling between outback stations by air and taken on tours from each stop by road and then back to the plane. Watch the video, this is how you get around in the bush. Darwin lockdown until 1300 Friday, 02 July and the NT school holidays started on 26 June and go for three weeks until 19 July. They are the only state to have 3 weeks holidays all the others have 2 weeks.
Hell’s Gate to Borroloola
This road is gravel all the way to Borroloola after about 50km I crossed the border into the Northern Territory and the road deteriorated immediately with one deep sandy patch about 100m, corrugations and many dips with a few creek crossings with water in them, had to pass a road train early on after following for about 15min came to a creek crossing saw it on gmaps and knew the guy would have to slow down and zipped past, then a couple of very slow vehicles, caravan and a van otherwise most of the traffic was coming the other way. Ran over a big dead snake again and a wallaby ran across the road in front of the car very close. Telstra signal in Borroloola but very slow, almost unusable for anything other than email and messaging.
Borroloola to Mataranka
One lane paved road all the way to the Stuart Highway which is Northern Territory’s one main road between Darwin and Alice Springs. Once again lots of vehicles coming the other way, only a few going in my direction. The Mataranka caravan park was full but there is always place to pitch a tent. The weather was pleasant and cold at night, not a bad place to relax for a couple of days. Due to the number of people staying they had live entertainment every night at the restaurant.