9th June 2017–Barkly Homestead to Camooweal

Distance: 263 km
Fuel: 32 L

It was bitterly cold this morning; only 9’C in my camper according to the gauge – there was some delay while I plucked up the courage to get out of my snug bed. By the time I showered, ate my cereal and had my coffee my hands were frozen and I had to dig about in the back of the car for my warmest jacket. Because it was so cold I was off pretty early – in fact before 8am, by far the earliest to date I think.

As I drove along the Barkly Highway I found myself reflecting on how much I enjoy looking at the Australian bush to the point of almost Dorothea MacKellarishness (though less poetic).


A lot more traffic on the Barkly Highway of course – ‘a lot’ being a relative term meaning that I had to overtake about five caravans and a couple of road trains and saw a couple of dozen vehicles passing in the opposite direction.

The head wind of the past few days is playing havoc with my fuel consumption. It is a very cool wind too, coming from the south east, I wear my light jacket even in the mid afternoon.

Today my journey crossed into Queensland from the NT and a different time zone so I was able to take a picture of the border from the NT with my car half an hour ahead of me in Queensland.


Fortunately this time difference also meant that I didn’t arrive at the caravan park at quite such an absurd time of the morning than would have otherwise been the case.

Now I am back in familiar territory I am consciously trying to stay at towns and roadhouses I have not stopped at before because often in Australia there is only one road between distant places and the tendency is to stay at the same places. Camooweal is one of those little border towns half way between Mt Isa and the Stuart Highway where you need to stop for fuel and not much else though it does have a fair sized pub and two caravan parks.


6th June 2017–Katherine to Daly Waters

Distance: 295 km
Fuel: 33 L

Left the caravan park at about 8.30am and headed straight down the Stuart Highway to Daly Waters, very much in familiar territory now. Didn’t stop at any of the many ‘historic’ WWII airfields or hospitals because I did so last time I was down this way. Anyway most of the airfields have just been reclaimed by the bush and are barely visible

Last time I was here I stayed at the Hi-Way Motel so this time decided to stay at the Daly Waters Pub Caravan Park. I thought it would be quieter than the roadhouse. Nope! from when I arrived at about midday there was a continuous stream of campers and vans filling the place up. The pub was doing a roaring trade.

170606 028 Daly Waters Pub170606 030 Daly Waters Pub170606 032 Daly Waters Pub170606 048  Daly Waters Pub170606 033 Daly Waters Pub170606 035 Daly Waters Pub

Revisited the Stuart Tree – you can just vaguely make out the ‘S’ carved in it.

170606 006 Daly Waters Stuart Tree170606 008 Daly Waters Stuart Tree

Also had a look at the Daly Waters Airstrip once a fairly busy hub, it claims to have been a ‘complex’ especially leading up to and during WWII but now just another bush landing strip though with a tarmac surface.

170606 011 Daly Waters Airstrip170606 012 Daly Waters Airstrip170606 010 Daly Waters Airstrip170606 019 Daly Waters Airstrip170606 020 Daly Waters Airstrip170606 021 Daly Waters Airstrip

Am stopped here because I have decided to get off the Stuart Highway and take a detour to the Barkly Highway via the Carpentaria and Tablelands Highways instead of continuing down to the Threeways Roadhouse and getting on the Barkly there.

I had a couple of beers or six at the pub ($8 a schooner!) but they have a happy hour at 5pm to 6pm which I tested – $4 midis. Afterwards I ordered their kangaroo steak which was surprisingly good and well priced.

170606 050  Daly Waters Pub Meal

Tomorrow I plan to stop at Cape Crawford and this journey is about 100km longer than staying on the Stuart but I have never been there before (road less travelled and that).These highways are sealed but a single lane so oncoming trucks have to be treated with a lot of respect (ie you take to the dirt). BTW ‘Cape Crawford’ sounds nautical but it is actually about 140km inland from the Gulf of Carpentaria.