We woke to a cool, sunny and very windy morning and headed straight over to the famous Banka Banka spring water hot showers. It must be the softest water in the Territory!
Tough driving conditions today. The wind was very, very strong – along the Stuart Highway it was very much a strong cross-wind and Bertha was buffeted mercilessly. Regular stops were a must as it was a real effort to keep on the road and out of the way of on-coming traffic!
Our first stop was at Three Ways at the intersection of the Stuart and Barkly Highways, where we had coffee in Bertha before refueling. Diesel was $1.71 per litre.
At Three Ways we turned east along the Barkly Highway. The very strong cross wind moved around to a head-wind at times and made driving extremely challenging and tiring.
We pulled into the 41 Bore Rest Area for lunch in Bertha. This is a great place to stop for a brief stop or over-night, as camping is permitted for up to 24 hours. There are lots of tracks around the area with plenty of nooks and crannies in which to set up camp. It is quite bushy and there is some protection from the wind although you would need to be careful of any overhanging branches. Several travellers came in and set-up camp while we were there.
Refreshed, we headed further south to Frewena Rest Area for a stretch and another break from the wind. Overnight camping is permitted, but this rest area is very exposed. At least we could get off the road for a rest.
The last couple of days we have been amazed at the large numbers of vans and motorhomes on the road and the majority are heading north. We seem to be about 4 to 6 weeks ahead of the majority this year as we are already heading South from Darwin while most traffic seems to be heading North.
We arrived at Barkly Homestead at about 2.30pm and the caravan park area was already filling up. No one really wants to be on the road in this weather. Like many roadside stops Barkly Homestead is a combination of service station, roadhouse, tavern, caravan-park, motel, and working station. We stayed here in 2013 and it was good then but they have improved things and extended into other paddocks. After setting up we had a wander around and enjoyed some very tasty coffees and a treat in the restaurant. Happy hour is between 4.00pm and 5.00 pm and dinner service starts at 5.30pm. There will be live entertainment from 5.30 pm. This will do us for tonight!
We have mobile reception and can receive 4 TV channels !! At least we can catch up on the news after being off the air for a few days.