April 10 Materanka – The Devils Marbles
We pulled out of Materanka a bit later than planned and feeling pretty tired after waking to a vomiting daughter at 2:30am, then having to deal with the cleanup and washing her sleeping bag before we could go anywhere (She didn’t even have time to get out of bed when it hit).
Fortunately, it seemed to be a one time deal and when she woke up in the morning she felt fine just ravenously hungry!
We headed south for a long days driving planning to camp at Devils Marbles and see the sun set and rise over the rocks. Along the way we paused at the oldest surviving hangar in the NT at Daly Waters. It was originally an International Airport in the 30’s with a Dutch airline using it as a stop on the Batavia – Sydney run!
Lunch was just hot chips from a roadhouse as we wanted to push on to camp as quickly as possible, however Blu had other ideas.
The clutch had been feeling odd through the course of the day and as we arrived in Tennant Creek at 3:30pm it decided it didn’t like the idea of disengaging at all. A quick word with a local mechanic confirmed my fears that the Clutch Master Cylinder had failed. While they didn’t have time to do anything that day, the local AutoPro had one in stock and changing it was an relatively easy but fiddly job. (Big thanks to Dave from Lehman Mechanical in Perth for the phone assist!)
By the time it was sorted it was 6pm and we were all hungry, so the local Red Rooster seemed the best option for a quick bite before fueling up and driving the last hour to the Marbles watching the sunset through the drivers window as we pulled out of Tennant Creek then driving the rest in the dark (We had missed sunset on the Marbles, but I didn’t want to miss the sunrise!)
We made camp in the shadow of the amazing rocks and got the kids into bed. Then we chatted to the neighbours for a few minutes before actually tucking into our bed as opposed to just lying on it in a pool of sweat like we had been doing for the past couple of weeks! The breeze past the tent meant we didn’t even need our fans on. It was nice to be cool!
April 11 The Devils Marbles – Alice Springs
The nice was broken at about 12:30am when we awoke to Zach vomiting. Fortunately he had made it far enough to poke his head out the door of the tent, so we didn’t have any cleanup to do (this was even more of a relief at a campsite with no water, drop toilets and a take your own rubbish rule!) However, our sleep was broken and with our alarms set for 6am to beat the sunrise, we awoke feeling extremely tired after 2 restless nights.
The sunrise on the rocks was spectacular and well worth dragging our tired bodies out from under the warm sleeping bags and rugging up for.
Once the bright oranges and purples changed to a brilliant blue, it was time to pack up and hit the road for Alice Springs. As with Clarissa, Zach was feeling much better and showed no signs of the previous nights queasiness.
Although today was going to be another long drive, there was more to break it up. Not far down the road, we paused at the Wycliffe Wells Roadhouse, the self-proclaimed “UFO Capital of Australia” it comes complete with little green men and a UFO landing pad out the front. We paused for some pics and got the kids an alien pin for their bags then kept moving before we were abducted :p (Cue Twilight Zone music)
As a result of the two rough nights, the kids passed out in the back of the car as we drove the next leg to Barrow Creek.
The old telegraph station at Barrow Creek is in remarkably well preserved condition, partly due to the fact that the last linesman and caretaker didn’t leave until the 1980’s! We took the opportunity to stretch our legs and have an explore before moving on.
From here the landscape began to change from wide open plains to slightly more rugged hills and plateaus as we pushed further into the center. The Red Center Farm Store provided us with some delicious homemade Mango Swirl Ice-cream for morning tea as we drove on. Mango is Zach’s favorite!
By lunch time had crossed the Tropic of Capricorn and were in Alice Springs to do some shopping and check into the Big 4 Caravan Park for an afternoon and night of luxury (Grassy site, Nice Showers and Toilets, a Playground with a Bouncy Pillow and a Swimming Pool with a Waterslide) before heading much more remote for our last week of travel.
Speaking of our last week of travel, today marks our 100th Day on The Road! It has caused us to reflect on the amazing adventure we have had and everything we have seen in the last 1/3 of a year. It seems like a very long time ago that we were pulling into Kalgoorlie for our first night of the trip. We have had so many amazing experiences and have been so thrilled to have you on this crazy ride with us!
I’m going to tuck in now because tomorrow we have a 7hr drive heading through Kings Canyon to Uluru and I want to make sure we are there for the sunset!