An update on where we’ve been…. PART ONE – Lake Argyle & Mataranka
So, time for a long overdue blog post I think! When we left, I had great intentions of updating the blog at each town, or significant area that we went through, but it is actually a lot harder than I expected!! Between sightseeing, hiking, swimming, rehydrating, caring for the family (laundry is actually worse/harder when travelling), sleeping, eating and, of course, more rehydrating there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of time to sit at a computer!
Anyhow, here’s a bit of a re-cap of the last month or two… 🙂 I’ve broken it down into a couple of smaller posts, so that’s its hopefully not too long and boring!!!
After leaving the Gibb River Road, we drove south to Lake Argyle, which was truly amazing! That Lake is absolutely HUGE – the size of 18 Sydney Harbours. It covers a massive land area, and has something like 20,000 crocs living in it! We did a fantastic sunset cruise, which was up there as one of my highlights of the trip so far. It wasn’t cheap, but it was awesome, and very informative. We learnt a ridiculous number of stats, all of which I can’t remember now, but were very interesting at the time!
We had the opportunity to jump off the boat and have a swim twice throughout the course of the cruise, which was pretty cool. Our last swim, right on sunset, was just magic! While we were all out swimming and taking in the gorgeous surrounds on our noodles, the crew kept our thirst at bay! Did you know that beer floats? No? We didn’t either til then! Unopened of course, the crew threw us out a few coldies, and even sent out floating tables full of wines and nibbles for the girls!!! The boys had a ball on the cruise too. They had unlimited soft drink, and were able to climb up and jump off the roof of the boat!
The resident muso at Lake Argyle was great too, putting on a concert 2 or 3 nights a week with the awesome lake as his backdrop. What was really interesting about him, is that I actually went to school with him back in Wagga!! It’s amazing the people you come across, and just how small our world is! (In case, you’re reading, and from Wagga High – Class of 1998 – it was Steve Case!!!)
Lake Argyle Resort was pretty memorable for the boys too, however not in a way that you might expect! It was actually the first place that they ‘got a job’ (unpaid unfortunately!) As you pull in to the Resort, upon arrival, you are met with the friendly grounds staff who escort you to your site. Lachie thought that looked like fun, and decided to lend a hand! By the end of our 2 night stay, he was actually escorting, directing and assisting drivers to back in to their sites.
The other main attraction at the Lake Argyle Resort is the amazing infinity pool! It is seriously very cool, with the most awesome views…. A fantastic place to relax and chill 🙂
From here, we kept tracking east, crossing back into the Northern Territory. Whilst at Lake Argyle, we were recommended a festival the following weekend, so made tracks for it. The Barunga Festival is a celebration of sport, culture and music, in a small Aboriginal Community that is closed to outsiders all year, bar the Festival Long Weekend. It was great for the kids to experience, with something always going on (footy matches, music, entertainment, cultural workshops) and they had a ball. I’m not big on huge crowds (or portaloos!), so it wasn’t totally my cup of tea, but it was fun to experience nonetheless!
Our next stop was Mataranka. This is a small town right on the Stuart Highway, and home to the Thermal Springs. We visited both Bitter Springs and the Thermal Pool at Mataranka Homestead, which are both very different. Bitter Springs is a much more natural environment, where you float down a small creek. On the other hand, the Thermal Pool is a lot more ‘touristy’, with cemented rock walls, steps etc. Most people usually prefer one over the other – for us, it was Bitter Springs!
Whilst here, we met a lovely couple, Des & Telka, and actually stayed with them for a week, helping out on their property. They are in the process of building a new camping ground, so look out for them in the months to come! This will be a very unique outback experience, and I highly recommend looking them up! These guys are as ‘Aussie’ as you’ll get, and love a yarn, a beer and a campfire!
While we were there, the amenities block was under construction, so concreting was on the agenda. Chrissy jumped in and got his hands dirty, labouring for a few days. In return, we camped for free on their property, and shared an evening meal with them.
Des and Telka were fantastic hosts, and also took us out in their boats for a day of fishing on the Roper River. This was easily the highlight for the boys! Jacko was lucky enough to catch his very first barra, and at 61cm, it was a decent size too!!!! Not to be outdone, Chrissy went out the following morning, and managed to jag himself an 80cm aswell! The smiles were from ear to ear 🙂 It was definitely a great experience for them, and awesome for us to witness!
Continue reading PART TWO of our last couple of months here when we arrive in Darwin!
– KR 🙂