We woke to blue skies and sunshine but quite strong winds which had howled through the night. Ann even got up at one stage and wound down the TV aerial. After packing up and giving Bertha a bit of a clean we headed north. This has been a good stopover to catch up on things, including communications.
Our first stop was at the Tennant Creek Telegraph Station some 11 kilometres up the highway. The Telegraph was an essential communications line before central Australia opened up and we have seen many restored telegraph stations on this journey to reflect this. This one was especially remote and was, in effect, a mini-village with most needed service, like butchers, food storage etc on site. The Tennant Creek Telegraph Station closed in 1935 but the property was used by linesmen until 1950.
From Tennant Creek our next stop was at the Three Ways Roadhouse. Three Ways is so named as it is the intersection of the Stuart Highway with the Barkly Highway which heads east into Queensland. The roadhouse was extremely busy with very long queues for fuel so we had coffee in Bertha.
Another 50 or so kilometres along the highway we stopped at the Attack Creek rest area (Camps 9 #84) for a quick look around. This is a big space with a drop toilet and other basic facilities for travellers. There were several travellers happily set-up here, with washing lines and one van had a generator going. This would a good place to stop overnight. There is also an interesting story about this place featuring our old friend John McDouall Stuart and his various expeditions. This place is the site where the native Waramungu People attacked Stuart’s expedition party and successfully defended their traditional lands. The stories continue with gold being found in the area and later with the Warumungu People’s fight for native title. An interesting place to visit but you probably wouldn’t make a special trip just to get to Attack Creek.
Further up the highway we slowed down to have a look at Banka Banka Station (caravan park). This is a very popular stop and we stayed here in 2013. It was very rustic and not very organised then but things appear to have changed. We did see some new facilities and they are really packing the vans in now.
We continued up the Stuart Highway – this highway is also known as ‘Explorer’s Way’ because of the way that McDouall Stuart and his several expeditions trekked from the Southern Ocean to find the ocean in the north.
Sunday lunch was at Renner Springs Desert Hotel/Roadhouse. Being a Sunday we thought that we would treat ourselves to a roast lunch, but there were no roasts on the menu so we settled for a steak sandwich with the lot. They were huge and we could possibly have shared one between the two of us. Absolutely delicious though, and not overpriced for what we were served. This is an interesting place with a large collection of caps on the ceiling in the shop. We also had a friendly peacock come to share some lunch with us as we watched the constant flow of travellers and truckies coming in to refresh themselves and refuel their vehicles. There is also a caravan park out the back.
We skipped their coffee after lunch, as they only had instant, and continued north through the town of Elliott, which was pretty dead given it was Sunday afternoon. We did notice a sign to an historic WWII Staging Area, which we assume is associated with the Staging Area at Barrow Creek – we weren’t game to follow the dirt road this time!
We eventually stopped in a gravel pit about 20 kilometres north of Elliott and did a basic set-up. There are no facilities here but we are fully self-contained so that’s not an issue. We even have 4 bars on our phones. There are about a dozen different caravans and even a huge Winnebago Nullarbor A Class motorhome.
We’ll just have a relaxing evening and catch up on some reading as we don’t expect to have TV reception.
Wonder where we’ll be tomorrow night?