Brisbane, QLD

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

THE LAST LONG DRIVE (Savannah Way 16)

This was going to be the longest and the last long drive along The Savannah Way or as it is sometimes called, "The Top Road." It stretches across the top of Australia from Cairns to Broome. In 2009 we travelled from Broome on the west coast to Darwin. This year I travelled from Cairns to Darwin. (see map). So now I have been the whole way across. This tme our last leg was from Ngukurr to Darwin, 658k.
 We set off early and came across some water buffalo.

 Once again there were many river crossings, no bridges just causeways.

 There were kapok trees along the road, with their pods full of kapok.

 After many miles we came to the little township of Mataranka. It has a population of 250. The area is famous for cattle and thermal pools. We stopped for morning tea and a quick swim.

 I didn't have time for a swim because I was too busy taking photos.

 Jeanie Gunn's autobiography, "We of the Never Never" was written about her life on Elsey Station near Mataranka. A movie was made of the story and they built a replica of the homestead for the movie. It still stands as a museum depicting those early days.

 After morning tea we drove on for miles and miles. We watched a DVD about John McDuall Stuart, a famous explorer, who found a way for the overland telegraph from Adelaide in the south to Darwin back in the 1800's. Finally, we arrived in Katherine for lunch and a group photo. There was a statue of a bushman in recognition of all the pioneers and cattlemen who helped develop Katherine. It is a larger town with 24.000 people living in the area, 60% are indigenous.

 We were a bit disappointed that we couldn't stay another night here because there are many things to do and see. Luckily, I did stay here on our last trip from the other side of the country. There is a beautiful big gorge, Nitmiluk. There are photos on my post here:

 After many more miles we were getting closer to Darwin. We stopped at Adelaide River War Cemetery for a leg stretch.

 This cemetery is for the people who were killed during sixty bombing raids on Darwin by the Japanese in World War 11. They were mostly RAAF service men but there were many civilians and nurses killed also.

 Finally we made it to Darwin and a very comfortable hotel room. It was a strange feeling to be back in civilisation after being in so much remote country.

I watched the beautiful sunset over Darwin Harbour while getting ready for our final dinner with our new friends that we had made on the tour. However, the tour hadn't quite finished as there was a tour of Darwin scheduled for the last day. But it wasn't the last day for me. My friends, Ann and George had organised another few days touring, where we would end up on the bottom of Australia. 


  1. That was a very interesting tour you have made there in the north.

  2. Hello Diane, beautiful images from the last of your tour. The swimming hole looks nice. I love the pretty cemetery,sculpture and sky shot. Thanks for sharing your trip! Enjoy your day and the week ahead!

  3. Did you collect some kapok to make yourself a nice pillow or mattress? In my memory, kapok was a horrible material for bedding. We were at Adelaide River War Cemetery very early in the morning, maybe 8:00. It was just so beautifully maintained and while I knew Darwin had been bombed during WWII, I didn't know much detail. Outside the cemetery was a group of grumpy looking young Aboriginal men. Whoa, what is this about. Our coach driver explained they were waiting for a mini bus to take them to their work for dole scheme which I judged at the time to be an excellent scheme, but John Howard? abolished it soon after. I look pretty grumpy in the morning before I go to work, so they had my sympathies.

  4. Oh yes, more great photos. What a trip you took.

    1. Thanks Andrew for following and commenting so often

  5. What an incredible journey and the thermal pools look heavenly. You definitely saw a lot of country and I am so thrilled you shared the sights with us!

  6. i sure would like to get in that spring, and just float and stare at all the beauty around it. love the sunset and the old station building and that yellow flower is gorgeous. i like the cowboy statue because i have always loved cowboys.. the cemetery is beautiful and sad at the same time

  7. Your trip was full of beauty! The pool does look magical. The buffalo looked interested in y'all. How do you get across a causeway if there are no bridges? Boat?

  8. What a pretty pool for a swim. I hope that sign wasn't a crocodile warning! The sky is so blue and then that sunset is stunning.

  9. Wow very interesting post abok kapok tree

  10. A quick armchair travel is always fun...too. Love the photo of the water buffalo and more. I have never been so far up North.

  11. Great photos and it sounds like you had a really good time. Glad there is a bit more at the end still to follow. Take care, t'other Diane

  12. This has been a fascinating trip with many beautiful sites visited. Your sunset photo is gorgeous.

  13. Hi Diane, I have SO SO SO enjoyed following you on this amazing trip... Sounds like your fun is not over though.... Thanks so much for sharing so much wonderful information about this area... I really enjoyed the MAPS so that I could 'see' where you were...

    Gorgeous set of pictures.

  14. More great photos, of what was a wonderful, fun holiday, I wouldn't swim because I don't swim just saying.

  15. Great photos and travelogue story of your northern travels. Well done.
    Good to realise that you didn't try the Paul Hogan stunt with
    that water buffalo, I would have put my money on the buffalo ha ha!
    I am pleased that you highlighted the war cemetery outside Darwin.
    The Japanese air attack on Darwin used MORE planes than were used
    on the bombing of Pearl Harbour - something that many overseas
    people would not know.
    Again well done - take a bow.

  16. What a great trip - I'm sat in Darwin now, getting ready for mine!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Darwin

  17. Another wonderful tour Diane. Brilliant photos!