After a short two-hour drive, we arrived in Camooweal and after setting up the motorhome, we promptly went to the bar for a cold beverage while the girls enjoyed a red lemonade and a few bowls of chips. We saw lots of pretty ladies all dressed up for the races and men in big hats! We got the courtesy bus to the Drovers Camp Festival where there was an abundance of live entertainment, a bar, food, cows, flies and dust! The girls were quite content sitting under the shade listening to the bush poet and other entertainment. We also wandered through the Camooweal Drovers Museum and had a look in the art gallery.
While most locals returned to their camps for an afternoon siesta, we stayed around and the girls got to watch some bronco branding. They found it overwhelming, especially when a weaner got roped and landed with a thud. They thought the calf was being hurt, however it was later explained to them that the calf is well looked after and it sometimes squeals because it is scared, not because it is being harmed. This information put the girls’ minds at ease, but still weren’t keen to keep watching. After a country feed, we watched some more entertainment and called it a night, so headed back to camp for a good night’s sleep.
Not long after leaving Camooweal, we came to the Northern Territory border and took the obligatory photo underneath the sign. We were heading to Tennant Creek and along the way we saw all the Variety Bash vehicles; there were some interesting cars and occupants that kept us entertained. Barkley Homestead was a stop to refuel the Winnebago and our bellies. Also, at the homestead were more Variety Bash participants, dressed in costumes and in high spirits.
We arrived in Tennant Creek and checked into ‘Outback Oasis Caravan Park’. We had a happy hour in the bar area and the girls managed to play a few games of cards, before it was shower and dinner time. The girls were happy when we served dinner which was not roo-stew, and during all this chaos Eliana managed to lose a tooth and subsequently was anticipating the arrival of the Tooth Fairy!
We were aware that Tennant Creek had been reported to be unsafe and a place of high crime, due to several incidents being published in the media earlier in the year. Prior to our trip, and also during the first few weeks, the majority of fellow travelers had said they used Tennant Creek as a refueling stop, but would not stay a night or two in the town. The park we stayed in was off the main road and the owners advised us that Police do regular patrols throughout the night. At no stage did we feel frightened or threatened and seeing the Police patrol (with spotlights), it reassured us that we were okay and safe.
We left the park a little later than anticipated, but soon arrived at Karlu Karlu (the Devils Marbles) where we took plenty of photos and did a couple of the walks. It is very surreal to be standing amongst the boulders. Karlu Karlu translated literally means ’round boulders’ and throughout the reserve, there are heaps of these ‘marbles’, many of which are precariously balanced on top of one another. The marbles were formed from an upsurge of molten rock that cooled and became solid beneath a layer of sandstone. The granite solidified which caused fractures and over time water infiltrated the cracks which broke down the sandstone and granite. This revealed rounded granite boulders.
After enjoying lunch with a view, we headed to our next stop which was Gemtree. We arrived quite late, and were very thankful that Aaron checked us in after hours and his son Thomas directed us to our site. We spent the night under 5-million stars and just wish we brought along some firewood! If it wasn’t for an early start the next day, we would have loved to sit outside and enjoy the view and serenity. We were all quite tired from our time exploring today, so we opted for early showers, a quick dinner and headed to bed.
–Tina and Kylie
September 1, 2018