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We travelled from home to Elsey National Pk, near Katherine, in 5 days, most days were of 8 or so hours of driving. After staying at Noelene’s mum’s the first night, we free camped at World’s End, near Burra in SA. A lovely, quiet spot at Burra Gorge with trees, dry creekbed, firepits and drop loos. It was a lovely place but the morning was an early wakeup call by thousands of birds. After a loooong day of driving we reached Coober Pedy and stayed at a park where they warned us of many 6/7 year olds who were pilfering belongings at night, so we locked everything up that night. What a shame the view of the Indigenous people is coloured by this minority.

Northward and we travelled on to Alice Springs. Having done the West Macdonald Ranges with the kids and the East Macdonald Range last year, it was just a stopover at the Macdonald Ranges caravan park. The same place we stayed 19 years ago on our first trip to the outback. We were delightfully surprised to be informed that a photographer/musician that had entertained us all those years ago with his slide shows of the outback and his bush songs was still a regular at the park. Unfortunately we missed Barry Skipsey as he performs each Thursday night and has done for over 20 years.

The next long day of driving was to Elliot where we tried to retrace our steps when we travelled with the kids 19 years ago, by staying in a heavily treed small caravan park. We found it but, though the store and bowsers were still operational the park had essentially closed down though a few stayed in spots long term we think. The owner said, ‘Give us $20 and park anywhere but not all the power poles work….try them out’. It was recognisable from all those years ago, despite the overgrown weeds everywhere and general feeling of decrepitude! We enjoyed our night and the memories it brought back of the older people we had met there many years ago who got the shady spots by getting there very early (and not spending time looking at any spots along the way!)

From there, it was straight to Elsey National Park where we camped, as we had on that previous trip with Liam and Lynsey. The wild donkeys were still there, rarely seen (we did this time!) but heard all night, braying and calling…..though not running up and down the road as previously! We went for a dip at Mataranka thermal springs which was lovely but warm. We were unable to swim in the Roper River as we had previously, as they had not scanned it for salties after the wet… definitely closed!

After getting to Katherine we headed west to some National parks….and a bit more relax…..but that’s another blog!