The start of this week saw me staying at a lovely wee spot just out of Normanton called Flinders River, otherwise known as Wanderers Walk, as a fellow told me in Normanton. The rivers full of crocs, mostly freshwater, but the odd salt water croc shows up. Needless to say I kept away from the edge and said no to a swim. The evening was bliss. I very carefully collected some firewood, keeping an eye out for snakes, started a fire before sunset and cooked my dinner over the flames. I had one cheeky beer in the fridge and decided it was a good enough time to crack it. The sun came down and provided a stunning backdrop over the outback. Birds and kangaroos were everywhere. I just sat back and watched the view, hoping to catch a glimpse of a croc. Unfortunately I didn’t see any, but then again I do have man eyes and I was probably staring right at one.
Earlier in the day I ventured across to Karumba. Karumba is the only town along the southern Gulf of Carpentaria that is within sight of the Gulf itself. Being only 70kms from Normanton where the road splits off from to Savannah Way to Matilda Way, I couldn’t resist the short drive to see the shore. I knew it wasn’t a beach you’d really want to go for a relaxing dip in, as its known to have crocs a plenty. Still, it was well worth the drive.
From A1 to State Highway 83 and then onto A2, here I am in Mt Isa, or as they call it, The Isa. I was shocked to see just how big this place is. I decided it was time I had a shower that wasn’t out of the back of my van, and a kitchen that wasn’t 50cm2. So here I stayed for 2 days to catch up on social media posts, contact various media outlets and try and get some exposure for this tour! No Snap Fitness in Mount Isa, but I did pass an Anytime Fitness, who were nice enough to let me use their facilities for 2 days while I recoup. Thank you guys for the kind gesture. I really appreciate it.
I ventured on up to Telstra Hill on my last evening in Mount Isa, for a view of the sunset. As you can see it was stunning. There was hardly anyone around, and from all angles was desert. Perfect backdrop for some butt shots. After my short hike I spent the evening in the camp kitchen with a couple from France and an Irish guy named Mike. We swapped stories, camp spot advice and talked about outback driving etiquette - something I absolutely have to support with a video tutorial one day soon. Obviously out here there are long hauls with hundreds of kilometres of nothing in between, and you have to find ways to entertain yourself. I was telling them how I found it rude when people wouldn’t wave back. Now Mike had a hell of a lot more experience driving these roads than what I have and he told me he had started flashing his lights instead of waving because he had become lazy. In addition, if the person he flashed his lights at didn’t wave back, he tooted them. I found this quite entertaining, and so I obviously started doing the same thing right away. I giggle every time. Cheers Mike for the little recommendation that helps get through the big drives.
From here I ventured over into the Northern Territory. Its amazing how your surroundings change so dramatically in such a short space of time. I stayed just outside of Three Ways for the night and then carried on to Mataranka the following day. Australia’s outback really is quite special. Its wide open spaces gives you a sense of relaxation. You can’t help but feel consumed by nature, and its ability to sustain such teeming wildlife.
Mataranka was amazing. The thermal springs were something not to be missed. Mataranka is a small town south of Darwin that’s home to Bitter Springs, Mataranka Springs and Elsey National Park. There are a number of scenic locations on offer, but never enough time to squeeze them all in. Bitter Springs was somewhat more natural than Mataranka, as it was relatively untouched and still supports a very small amount of aquatic life. Under the water's surface life struggles with raging currents in the wet season and warm, nutrient-rich water that is low in oxygen through the dry season. The nutrient rich springs support plenty of algae, which drifts to the surface and collects in rotting mats where insects thrive and become food for birds, lizards and other small animals. Sunlight shining through clear, nutrient-rich, warm water provides perfect conditions for plants and algae to grow. I found these springs and their surrounds quite fascinating.
On my first night in Mataranka I camped at Julmurark Campground in Elsey National Park where I met two awesome girls from ‘The Territory,’ - Claire & Leanne. I was in such need of human interaction, that I basically gave them no choice but to hang out with me for the evening. I parked up and instantly walked over to have a yarn. They were camping for the evening for a catch up and I totally crashed their party. Sorry girls! We cooked together, ate together, then talked the night away, agreeing that this was better than any Saturday night in the city. We are so lucky that our country offers us such beautiful escapes that we can enjoy at no cost. I told them about my story of stripping my way around Australia for Melanoma Awareness and they agreed to get their skin checked and help spread the word. Such a great night with you ladies, I feel very blessed to have met you both. The following morning we went for a dip at Bitter Spring and we parted ways. Later on I caught up with the Cosgrove Family - Vicki, Darren, Jay Jay & Ella; some great friends from the Gold Coast. We had a beer at Mataranka Homestead and then I took them into the awesome campground from the previous night where we set up camp and enjoyed a couple of wines. In our time here we explored the springs and even went on a bike ride to Mataranka Falls. The Nights were spent talking about life by the campfire, making funny videos, and really just enjoying one another’s company.
Don’t forget, if you know anyone who is organising a hens party over the next few months, you know who to contact. This tour is dedicated to giving your hens night a male stripper they’ll never forget! Check the main page for information, destination dates and rates. I am contactable anytime. If I am out of range, please leave a message and I will get back to you. Let’s raise as much awareness and funds for the Melanoma Institute as possible! And don’t forget to get your skin checked and spread the word!