Alex had checked out fuel prices on Petrol Spy and surprisingly diesel was cheaper in the little town of Mataranaka than much bigger Katherine so we went to fill up. We were astonished to see two Road Trains loaded with Army tanks. It took quite a while for a big enough gap to appear in traffic for them to get out of the Truck Park and onto the road. Once they’d started everything on the Stuart Highway had to wait for them to get clear. We thought we might be travelling in convoy with them but didn’t see them again after we’d topped up with fuel.
About 40 kms out of Katherine we did become part of a convoy led by a transporter carrying a giant earthmover. At one point a passenger bus managed to find its way passed the line up until it was behind the transporter. The driver of the transporter told the bus driver that a wider section was coming up soon but there were a “couple of Wobblies coming through first”. I’ve only ever heard VWs being called Wobblies but soon coming towards us we saw two caravans, the “Wobblies”! After they passed by the bus was off but we stayed behind the transporter and even got an escort through Katherine.
Instead of stopping in Katherine to stock up we decided to go straight to Manbulloo Station Caravan Park, about 10 kms out, in the hope of getting some choice of site. At 11:00 we were the first ones booking in and I was able to ask for a shady site but I don’t think we were even set up before the stream of new arrivals started.
We went back into Katherine to see if Kmart had lightweight shorts etc but no luck so we had a nice drink at a little caravan set up and I was able to get a delicious GF Berry Friand and a Berry Smoothie.
Fold-up bikes are popular with travellers.
There is a Low Level Nature Park just out of town so we went to check it out, that’s where the Bats were roosting. NT at this time of year has a lot of strategic burning happening and there was some close to the industrial area, the Kites were taking advantage of the burn to hunt for escaping critters.
Back at camp we walked down to the river after we’d cooled off in the AC. Along the bank it looked like jungle and I was beginning to wonder if we’d even see the river until a little path became obvious. The river looked beautiful but we can’t completely relax beside the rivers up here because of the crocs. We didn’t see any.
Tomorrow there’s supposed to be a Market on in town so we’ll check that out. We’re booked in for another night but might even extend that by another day, if I don’t melt tomorrow.