All was quiet when we left Tennant Creek and the Stuart Highway seemed to have mostly local cars rather than caravans, motorhomes etc. We intended to cover 508 kms which meant only quick stops. Our first one was at Bonney Creek Well. The first record of it is in December 1878 when a well sinking party set out to find water for cattle and sheep being sent north. Later the well became important for those installing the Overland Telegraph Line.
During the 1930s the well was replaced by a bore and during World War II a catering corp was based there to feed the convoys of troops being taken north. The bullet holes in the windmill’s tail stem from this time.
Further along the road we passed Karlu Karlu or the Devil’s Marbles.
Wycliffe Well is a place we’ve stayed before and listened to an old man playing the organ as we ate our dinner in the roadhouse. Today the place looked deserted apart from the car parked in the carport behind the still operating Service Station. There were no campers in the campground, the miniature Steam Train track we saw being built around the Well is fenced off and there is even Razor Wire along the outside fence. I think it needs some fresh energy to revitalise it.
It’s obvious from place names that the Stuart Highway in this section follows old droving routes and we stopped to read the plaque on a Teamsters’ Memorial. In my view it would be more interesting if the memorials had a relevant sculpture as we passed others built of the same stone in the same or similar shape with only different text on each plaque.
More modern installations are the mobile phone booster poles we passed at a few locations.
The area we were in is classified as “Central Desert Region” but it’s certainly not how most of us picture a desert.
Unlike Wycliffe Well, Barrow Creek seems to be undergoing a facelift, we didn’t stop but it looks very different from the last time we passed through.
Somewhere along the way we passed the Tropic of Capricorn but we didn’t need an obelisk and sign to tell us we were no longer in the Tropics!
Ti Tree seems to be a place split by the Stuart Highway. On one side is the Caravan Park, Roadhouse and small shop. Some women were selling art work on the verandah. Across the other side and about 200 metres back from the road is a community-run shop selling garden produce, groceries, sandwiches and hot foods, general merchandise and souvenirs. It also serves as a Post Office and sells fuel.
A little further down the road is Red Centre Mango Farm which not only grows Mangoes but also grapes. It’s not Mango season but in the freezer of the Atco hut shop were tubs of Mango Sorbet and Mango Icecream which I couldn’t resist. Our lips were numb by the time we’d finished our tubs.
We arrived in Alice Springs about 3:00 and made a dog’s breakfast of setting up the Camper, I think we were both tired out and not thinking logically. We’ve had a tasty pizza for dinner, the fleecy blanket has replaced a sheet on the bed and the quilts are ready for us to crawl under! Desert Winter Night, we’re prepared for you!