Australia, Normanton, Hells Gate, Borroloola, Mataranka, 27 June – 02 July 2021

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.

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1 Response to Australia, Normanton, Hells Gate, Borroloola, Mataranka, 27 June – 02 July 2021

  1. Lilly Isaac says:

    Chris where are you I hope you are somewhere in Western Australia all the states are having problems locked down hope you are some place where it is safe hope you are in contact with your family as well hope to see you soon from Aunty Lilly

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