Wednesday, September 5, 2018

To Mabel Downs -- 4 Sep 2018

Lots of driving today.  Did a drive around Fitzroy Crossing township to see if I had missed anything worth exploring.  Drove out to the original concrete causeway that had been the only path across the river for ages.  Coudn't drive across it as the road down the cliffs is barricaded closed.  Topped up diesel and hit the road, next stop Hall Creek.  Along your way there was a nice rest stop set high on a cliff with all conveniences.  Good place to stretch the legs.

Just before Halls Creek there is a major turn off south, prominently signposted ALICE SPRINGS.  Not an expected destination from up here.  But it is in fact the start of the 1000km Tanami track, one of Australia's famous cross desert 4WD adventure trails (think also the Birdsville Track).  I kept driving!

Halls Creek presents as a very civic proud township.  Bright signs everywhere, neatly kept streets, free wifi in the town centre, and a very comprehensive tourist information centre. This was a gold mining centre, and I think a small amount still goes on.  In the Tourist Centre there was a display cabinet with small nuggets of the local product for sale, a couple at $10,000 and $13,000.  I commented to the attendant that they were brave having such valuable merchandise on display in a simple glass cabinet. "There's a lock on the door" she replied, apparently quite unaware of how easy a smash and grab would be!  The Shire Council collaborates with the local Lands Council to provide local employment in small arts industries etc.. The paintings I saw at the main gallery seemed very over-priced to me. 
Another 150km along Highway 1 brought me to the Mabel Downs Caravan Park turnoff.  I was all booked in and quickly shown to my Safari tent which is mounted on a timber platform on stilts.  It was quite stuffy at first, having been all closed up in  the heat of the day.  A nice breeze came along just after dark and cooled things down nicely.  The tent has a very comfortable double bed and an ensuite with shower, toilet and washbasin.  No power.  Lighting courtesy a couple of battery lanterns.  Sat on the balcony after a pizza dinner and marvelled at the stars.  I had forgotten what the Milky Way really looks like.  The campground is very quiet, and I slept soundly.  The wallabies around seem pretty tame, so I suspect they find food to suit their tastes here.

Today's photographic offering can be found here.

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