Home' Rotary Down Under : July 2014 (NZ Pacific) Contents TRAVELLER
58 Issue 563. July 2014
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with giant road trains and travellers in 4WDs and RVs. We
have noticed since entering the outback that there are not
a lot of ordinary sedan cars, most people opting for 4WDs.
Like other similar stopovers there is not a lot to see, but
our intrepid driver insists on taking us to the Historic Daly
Waters Pub. It happens that there is the annual rodeo on
over the next few days and the camping ground adjoining
the hotel (and rodeo venue) is filled with vehicles, horse
trailers, caravans, horses and cowboys. We paused at the
hotel for a drink and you would swear you had stepped
back through time. Words, pictures even, cannot adequately
Our trip from Longreach to
Darwin, which with deviations will
exceed 2500kms, requires one
last 600km leg. We are on the
road by 7am heading north with
a luncheon stopover at Katherine.
We are swapping drivers all the
time and the roads in the NT seem
a little better to me. I am uncertain
whether that is due to the Federal money spent on building
them or the fact that there are not many people driving on
them. I suspect it is a combination of the two.
The landscape changes as we move north with the
scrub and trees becoming greener and higher as we move
from desert (or arid land) to tropical jungle. We note the
“inhabitants” are changing too, with little sign of kangaroos
anymore, but many signposts warning of crocodiles.
On our fifth day on the road we begin to observe some
clouds in the sky. They gradually darken and just after I
hand over the steering wheel there are definite signs of
rain approaching. We stop and hurriedly take the suitcases
off the roof rack and pile them around Eleanor
in the back seat. She holds them steady while
we drive the last 100kms into the city during
what Graeme describes as rain like he has
encountered only once before in more than 50
years in Australia.
Searching for a hotel my brother-in-law selects a Hilton
right on the Esplanade so that it is handy to everything. I
note that it costs about twice as much as the roadhouses
we have been staying in as we travelled west and north,
however, the facilities are commensurate with that cost.
We have visited Darwin before and have some knowledge
of the attractions, but there is no beating having someone
who knows the area show us around. Graeme worked
in Darwin for about seven years rebuilding the city after
Cyclone Tracy so he is a good guide. He also locates a
“builder mate” from those days,
who happens to be in town at the
time and he joins us as another tour
guide. We are very lucky as without
these two helping us we could have
missed lots of scenic attractions –
and quite a few shops.
You cannot visit Darwin without
being struck by the immensity of the
cyclone that devastated the city and
almost emptied it out while they rebuilt it. Another feature
that strikes us is the effect of WWII on the city. Driving
in from the south there are the remains of many wartime
air strips, some right alongside the main highway. In the
city itself there are many gun emplacements and historical
sights commemorating the many attacks that took place
between 1942-43. One is somewhat in awe standing
by these monuments that salute the gallant defence by
Australian and US forces.
Throughout all of this we battle with daytime temperatures
in the 30s and 20s at night. Maybe it will cool down as we
move southwards on our next stage.
“We paused at the hotel
for a drink and you
would swear you had
stepped back through
time. Words, pictures
even, cannot adequately
The Historic Daly Waters Pub
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