Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Holiday time - On the way to Arnhem Land

We had been very excited about this trip away. It’s been over a year since our last trip to the high country & we definitely needed a break. Seeing more of Arnhem Land has always been on the bucket list & we love going north.  We did the western side of Arnhem Land with Mats family in about 2002 or 2003 & then didn’t get to do any of it on our big trip in 2014 so we were keen to explore some more. 

This trip was to be more family orientated as our little man is now 2 & a half & we are travelling with my brother & his wife & their kids aged 3 & 5 & some friends as well. My brother Josh is mates with one of the park rangers up here & it was to good of an opportunity to pass up for a visit. 

We set off a day earlier than the others so had a pretty easy first day into Winton. We took the easy option & set up in the caravan park for the night & had a walk around town in the afternoon & a few beers at the pub. An early night & the next morning we packed everything up & headed out to the dinosaur experience just out of town. We had an interesting 3 hours looking at the laboratory, collection room & amazing walking tracks they have made on a jump up overlooking Winton & western Queensland. When they open the museum & new laboratory in the next 5 years it will be an amazing tourist attraction.

                                         View from the lookout at dinosaur canyon

Dinosaur museum at Winton

We headed back through Winton & grabbed some lunch & headed onto Kynuna to meet up with the others. We camped at the back on the Blue Heeler Hotel & when the others rolled in after a huge day driving we were all pretty excited & it felt like our adventure was starting. An early morning pack up & we were on the road again at 6:30am, not bad for 3 camper trailers & kids. 

Most of us had never been out this far & we had a quick look at Camooweal & Mount Isa as we drove through. Lunch lined up with a stop at the Queensland Northern Territory border & we got some photos & the boys had to have a beer under the sign. It really started to feel like we were getting closer even though we still had so far to drive. That late afternoon we made it to Three Ways Roadhouse & called it a day & set up a basic camp ready to get going early in the morning again. 

Mataranka was the destination for the next day to give the kids the afternoon to get out of the car & use up some energy. We stayed at the homestead as the springs at Bitter Springs were closed for crocodile management. We had a lovely swim in the springs at the homestead & dinner at the restaurant. 

The next day was the last push up to Nhulunbuy & to get there we had 750km to drive with 600km of them dirt. When we left the bitumen & hit that red dust the adventure really started. We saw some buffalo pretty soon after & had to get some photos. We also saw lots of donkeys & a few cattle. The road was surprisingly good for the most part & we made pretty good time. We filled up with diesel at Bulman at $2.05 a litre. The roads around Bulman were the worst of the whole trip. About 30kms out of Bulman one of the camper trailers got a flat tyre but other than that we had a fairly uneventful trip. 

We were all relieved to hit the bitumen again because we knew we were almost there. We rang Josh’s mate Terry & found out he actually lived at Yirrkala just south of Nhulunbuy. As we turned into the community we got a glimpse of a gorgeous white sandy blue beach & couldn’t wait to explore the next day. We set the 3 trailers up in his front yard & met his fiancĂ©e & kids & they cooked us up a feed while the kids had a great time playing. The next day they showed us around Nhulunbuy. We went out to the beach near town, it was gorgeous, such a pity you can’t swim. We then headed to the wharf where the barge comes in & boats are loaded & walked on the beach there for a look. We then went out to a few of the camping spots nearby to have a look & then to the Lattram river where you can swim & had a BBQ lunch while the kids had a swim. Back home for a while & then we had dinner at the boat club & watched the sunset over the water, magic.

Touching a dinosaur bone 

Dinosaur canyon 

Dinosaur canyon 

Beach at Nhulunbuy 

Swimming at Latram River
NT border 

Daly Waters Pub 

Helicopter at Daly Waters 

Central Arnhem Road 

Waterholes on the central Arnhem road 

Waterholes on central Arnhem road 


Beach at Nhulunbuy 

Time to run!