Yes I’m covering some territory in the Territory.
I’m having a damn good run – a “DGR” – the rocket and I have made it to the Northern Territory.
Kms travelled to date……………..7690 kms
Top Speed…………………………………130kms (no joke)
After my PDG- pre-departure check leaving Gordonvale in QLD, I was on the road heading for Charters Towers. It was a beautiful drive , slow rolling hills, hardly any cars, hardly any trucks, amazing scenery.
Charters Towers is a mining town full of incredible heritage buildings, lots of pubs and friendly townsfolk.
I stayed a couple of nights at the Royal Private Hotel, the First Lady of Charters Towers, a great pub dating back to 1888.
The Royal Private Hotel, Charters Towers
I was able to demonstrate my smoothie making and cooking skills to other travelers in the huge communal kitchen, it was fun sitting around the kitchen table sharing stories, cooking tips and having a laugh. Rick and Bec had traveled somewhere between 500-600 kms from their cattle station to catch up with their grandchildren who are about 600 kms the other way; so with 1200 kms between them, they all try and meet up each month at the Royal.
A cattle station or two – signs just out of town
I checked out the night life, the rocket and I seemed to fit with the heritage vibe and pace!
The road leading out of Charters Towers towards Mt Isa is red and dusty.
The rocket enjoys lurking along the long open roads.
Just before Mt Isa I drove into a tiny little town called Cloncurry, I suppose you would call it a cattle station town. The annual Cloncurry and District Show was on, which is reportedly “The Best in the West” offering two days of fun filled activities for all ages, shapes and sizes! From cattle displays, horse events, roving entertainment, ukulele players, children’s puppet shows, sideshow alley, live music, fashion parades, ringers rally, food stalls, bar facilities, fireworks and say no more…. a demolition derby!
Demolition derby action at the Cloncurry Show, definitely a highlight of the night.
The town was packed, everything was booked out, except for a tiny piece of grass on the side of the road. In Sydney it would be commonly known as a nature strip, but in Cloncurry it had my name on it, Mick’s campsite for the night. The tent went up in the dark and was down before sunrise. It seemed like a good idea at the time. By morning I had heard every road train rumble through town, needless to say I didn’t get much sleep.
From Cloncurry it was only a couple of hundred kms to Mt Isa, a bigger mining town!
The mine is literally right in the centre of town. I enjoyed great hospitality at the Mt Isa Hotel overnight.
Next morning it was off to Tennant Creek. The rocket was just purring along, beautiful countryside and amazing colours with the red dust against the blue sky.
Cruising through Camooweal, population now 311
I took any detour I could to check out the sights. On the road itself there is no shortage of road kill from the night before, crows, cows, eagles, black snakes, the odd aboriginal in the middle of the road again – but you tend to come to expect that, not many cars and the odd road train. No phone connection, you could be anywhere in the world……very peaceful.
But I wasn’t just anywhere, the rocket and I were in the Northern Territory.
Dash Cam – 130kms – you gotta be kidding!
About 200 kms out of Tennant Creek at a place called Barkly Homestead, I stopped to refuel at $2.00 a litre I might add. There was a couple of hours of sunlight left and I was keen to get moving to make it to Tennant Creek before dark. I noticed a little trail of oil from under the back end of the car and then found a little puddle of oil, not much, but enough to be concerned. The dip stick was still looking fairly healthy so I knew I hadn’t cooked anything or drained the sump out. It was a bit touch and go as to whether to continue or not, especially as I didn’t quite know where the oil was coming from. Common sense prevailed and it was time to play it safe and thank goodness for NRMA Roadside assist.
I didn’t want the rocket to end up on the side of the road like this old girl.
2 hrs after calling the NRMA, Jesse arrived from Tennant Creek in his flat bed truck, loaded up the rocket and bundled me into the cabin, off we went to Tennant Creek.
We reached our top speed of 130 kms per hour, the fastest the rocket has ever traveled, even if she was on the back of a truck.
Nothing like a free ride
We got to Tennant Creek faster than we could ever have imagined, even if it was on a tow truck, there is nothing like a free ride. I stayed at the Eldorado Motor Inn, luckily they were looking for a good looking ukulele player for the next couple of nights. Lets hope the mechanics can work out where the oil is coming from while I’m the tenant at Tennant Creek.
Tennant Creek, what hill?
Peak hour in Tennant Creek
Sunset at Tennant Creek, the town comes alive when the sun goes down!!
Could this be the only way out of town?
I’ll keep you posted.