We were heading north on the Stuart Highway towards Mataranka when Steve got this great idea. Instead of a 3 hour drive straight up the Stuart Highway, how about a 1 week side trip? So we turned right and left the nice paved road for a long, mostly rough and dusty loop around the Savannah Way. Much more interesting!
Our first night out, we camped on a gorgeous ridge top free camp just off the road. Nobody drives on this road at night and few even during the day, so it was just quiet with birdsong and beautiful views of the bush then a million stars.
We had a brief stop in Borroloola for fuel and a barramundi burger for lunch. We are thrilled to be back in the barramundi zone, which just happens to be our favourite fish. Barramundi zone= crocodile zone though, so now you have to think before you jump in a body of water. We also had a look at the local museum. Borroloola was memorable for having dozens of kite hawks flying low over the town streets. Wherever you looked up they were there.
We camped the next night at the lovely Caranbirini Conservation Reserve. This had a gorgeous waterhole complete with bird hide and some ‘lost city’ rock formations to walk around. We spent dusk and dawn at the waterhole’s birdhide and had a walk through the rock formations which were interesting. We had the place all to ourselves.
Then we hit the dirt again! The nice thing about heading north into Savanannah country was there was more and more water, more trees and green and more birds. We love the desert areas but it was nice to be in more moist environment again and be able to swim. Swims now mean you must check for crocs. You can swim with freshwater crocs after scaring them away. It is the saltwater crocs you need to be aware of and avoid the water in these areas.
First stop was Lorella Springs Wilderness park. It is a million acre family owned station that is no longer a working cattle farm, though there were a few cows around as well as the odd water buffalo. There were plenty of gates to open and close as you drove around the property however. Like Adel’s Grove it was a bit pricey at $20 per person per night. $3 litre of diesel, $5 for 2litres of milk and $8 for a bag of chips! There was no fuel for another 500kms so we had to buy some there unfortunately. We did find our very favourite camp spot of the whole trip here. The property went right to the coast and was very popular with fisherman. It was full of 4WD roads that led to beautiful water holes all over the property. We saw only off-road caravans or camper trailers/tents here as the road to get in is rough. You can camp anywhere on the million acres but as the roads were pretty rough on the property most people camped at the campground and went out into the park during the day. It was a beautiful campground with a hot water spring to soak in. After 2 nights in the campground where you had to hear people’s barking dogs and generators we found an easy access camp that we had to ourselves that was our favourite of the whole trip so far. We called it our billabong and we stayed 5 nights at Lorella Springs we loved it so much.
This Emu hung around the homestead along with the cooks and peacock. It would walk right up to you, but if you had no food it was not interested in staying still for a photo. We spent the 5 days driving around the 4wd roads to get to nice waterholes. This is what it looked like.
We saw the buffalo or another later on the road. Steve got out and did the Crocodile Dundee move from the film, as a joke and surprisingly the thing ran away!