Letho's Blog

From the Outback to the Tropics

by on Dez.20, 2010, under The Outback

Thursday 16th of December – Monday 20th of December 2010

Leaving Alice Springs in the afternoon we drove 500 kilometres up north towards Tennant Creek to have a look at the famous Devils Marbles.
We used the carpark as a camping opportunity as many others and after having fought an unsuccessful fight against very aggressive mosquitos finally crawled into our tent to sleep. We were rewarded with one of the best tent pictures ever:

Our campsite at Devils Marbles

Our campsite at Devils Marbles

The merciless sun already sent out heated arrows but we nevertheless explored the great area.

We even got to see one of the famous dingoes (a wild dog) that came by the camping site.

Dingo at our campsite

Dingo at our campsite

Enjoy this short clip for a good panoramic overview of the scenery:

A bit further north we stopped at the Devils Pebbles, the little sister of the Devils Marbles but all in all not a very interesting site.

More interesting in this heat was the Mary Ann Lake where we took a swim.

Mary Ann Lake at Tennant Creek

Mary Ann Lake at Tennant Creek

Back in the hot car we drove a couple of kilometres north and then turned east on the very boring highway. A few remote petrol stations every 200 kilometres provided a bathroom and a cold beverage but we didn’t stop for long knowing we had a long drive ahead of us. Finally after 660 kilometres we arrived very late at Mount Isa, a town of residents and stayed the night at a the only hostel in town which turned out to be a very crappy one.
The next day nothing new happened except for endless driving (590 kilometres) on the Flinders Highway through Cloncurry, Julia Creek, Hughenden to our camping site at the Porcupine Gorge National Park where we had a good night’s sleep.

Our campsite near Porcupine Gorge

Our campsite near Porcupine Gorge

Here the Porcupine Gorge Lookout:

A nice little clip for you to enjoy as well:

Now further north, direction Cairns, with a quick stop at the Kalkani Crater rim. Here we were surprised by sudden and very heavy rain after which my camera refused to function. Still we have some pictures from before.

After that we drove further along our last dirt track for quite some time:

We spent the night at the War Memorial Camp ground, had breakfast and a nice coffee in Mareeba and guess what, continued driving north. It already became apparent the last 100 kilometres that we had left the Outback behind us and had entered civilisation again since the frequency of towns and other cars and people rose quickly. It is interesting how even smaller villages in a row can give you that feeling of civilisation in contrast to the vast remoteness of endless land and streets.

We passed some parts of the Atherton tablelands which are the hinterlands of the tropics and again accidently, as it happened already several times before to us, came across the most beautiful waterfalls ever – the Emerald Falls. I know I said this before about the McKenzie Falls in the Grampians and I stand to my word, so to put it more correctly, this was the most beautiful waterfall EXPERIENCE ever. This is because you can actually swim close to the waterfall – something we had never done before! And let me tell you if you are a novice too, this is an experience of a kind.
This waterfall was quite a small one but still the current of it made it almost impossible to swim directly towards it…

Have a look:

On our way back we met some other Germans, exchanged travel stories and tips and headed off again. Next stop was Kuranda with the Barron Falls. Obviously, there isn’t much water although we got drenched with a sudden afternoon tropical shower – not cold but pretty wet. Imagine the difference between the dusty, hot, remote Outback and the crowded, humid, rainy tropics… very strange if you go from one extreme to another. Anyway, we came back to the Barron Falls a couple of weeks later and have a look at the difference:

Finally we drove to Cairns, checked in into a hostel and realized that at last we had left the Outback after all.

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