Part 9 – Mataranka to Tennant Creek

Day 24 – Mataranka to Tennant Creek

Difficult to drag oneself away from Mataranka but there was a lot of Australia still to see.

Our focus for the next  2000 kilometres was south.  Lots to see in-between but still south. We hit the Stuart Highway again – a 2800 kilometre strip of bitumen that runs from Darwin at the Top End of the Northern Territory to Port Augusta at the head of the Spencer Gulf in South Australia.

After travelling in The Outback for a while one gets get inured to long distances. “Ah, it’s only 200 km down the road”. “It’s just 150 km”.

No drive along the Stuart Highway is complete without a stop at Daly Waters.

During his third attempt to cross Australia from south to north John McDouall Stuart came across these natural springs in 1862. He named them after the new Governor of South Australia, Sir Dominick Daly.

Today the main attraction for tourists at Daly Waters is the pub, decorated extensively with banknotes, bras and other memorabilia left by visitors from all over the world.

For the more historically minded it is interesting to note that Daly Waters was an important airfield during World War II.  It also served as a refuelling point for early Qantas flights to Singapore.  And a visit to the ‘the Stuart Tree’ is a must.

Bush poet Jimmy Hooker conducts a nightly show at the Tennant Creek Caravan Park. Very popular with ‘grey nomads’.  Tammy was captivated.

It was a pity we didn’t try more of Jimmy’s damper because on returning to our camp we discovered that a dog or other animal had taken our steaks that I had left on the table to thaw for dinner!

Go to Part 10 – Tennant Creek to Alice Springs