We were woken during the night with Bertha seeming to be full of smoke. We checked and it seemed that a fire that had been burning in scrubland on the other side of the highway the evening before had moved to the other side of the highway across from the caravan park where we were staying. No one seemed very concerned so we turned on the exhaust fans to get rid of the smoke and once it was all clear, we closed the skylights which we normally leave open during the night in warm weather. This was not a pleasant experience but I guess fire is an issue that vanners should be acutely aware of.
The morning was hot but sunny through the smoke haze. We headed south down the Stuart Highway and turned off and drove approximately 20kms on a sealed road to explore Edith Falls (Leliyn).
We loved this place 20 years ago and although it has been upgraded in a very environmentally way, Edith Falls (Leliyn) is a truly calming and restful place to visit. After walking to the falls along well maintained paths and admiring the views, we returned to the kiosk for coffee. They don’t serve take-away cups here (as we said – they’re very environmentally friendly) so we were served our coffees in nice mugs complete with fabric holders as the mugs were hot. Very thoughtful!
There is a small campground here and if we ever come back this way we would love to spend at least a week here.
There have been a lot of fires along the highway and we are a bit over the sight and smell of burnt landscape pretty much all the way south to Katherine.
We pulled in to the RV parking area behind the Katherine Information Centre and topped up our supplies at Woollies. Bertha told us that it was 40 degrees outside when we returned and it felt like it too.
We continued south along the Stuart Highway and just before Mataranka there was a very loud bang at the driver’s window – it sounded like a cricket ball at full pelt but the feathers jammed into the window surround indicate that we were hit by a grey bird. We were a bit worried that there may have been damage to the fibreglass panel behind the door but there was no trace of damage other than the feathers.
We pulled in to Mataranka, known as the Capital of the Never Never. We parked under a magnificent Banyan Tree while we inspected Bertha.
After a cool drink we continued south to Warloch Rest Area (Camps 9 NT 95) where we stayed for the night. This is a lovely camp area and we were amazed that about 20 vans were set up there at dusk with more arriving later. We sat outside talking to our neighbours and enjoyed our dinner under the stars.
No TV, Internet or phone tonight.