Saturday, May 13, 2006
We met our first obstacle just 2 and a half hours into the trip when we reached Pine Creek only to find that the Stewart Hwy had been cut due to flooding at Katherine. This occasionally happens when there has been monsoonal rain in the Katherine catchment areal. In this case it was a heap of rain dumped after cyclone Larry hit the North Queensland coast on the 20th March.
Dad and I drove back to Darwin and spent 3 days listening to the radio in the hope that the road would be opened. Thankfully for us, and many of the people of Katherine, the flooding was not as bad as the 1998 flood and we where on our way just a few days later. It could have been much worse.
The trip went quite smoothly after that and we saw some truly beautiful country along the way. However I did have a deadline and we needed to make up some time so we averaged a thousand km per day leaving little time for sightseeing.
The Northern Territory is a great place to experience the openness and quietness of this country. One of the highlights of our trip was when we stopped the car somewhere south of Tennant Creek at some very early hour of the morning. The sky was so clear that the stars formed a thick blanket of sparkling white lights which totoal encompassed us. We were enveloped in a panorama of lights from distant constellations. Satellites zipped across the sky as we considered how lucky we were to be able to experience such an amazing view.
Along the way we saw all kinds of wildlife and birds, including, about 60 Wedge Tailed Eagles, a flock of budgies, Major Mitchell Cockatoos, and some Cockatiels. There was quite a bit of carnage, I removed about 10 dead kangaroos from the road, but only did this in the morning before the sun gets to them, by mid morning they can really stink and are often so mangled it's an impossible job. There is an open speed limit through central Australia and one carcass left on the road can result in the deaths of many more animals who come to feed on the carrion. As far as I know I managed not to hit any animals bigger that a dragonfly, (not bad for a 4,000 km + trip)