. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: May 15, 2000

Monday, May 15, 2000
Daily Waters to Barkly Homestead, NT, Australia
Australia's FlagNorthern Territory's Flag

Map
Barkly Homestead, NT, Australia:
Latitude: 19° 42' 44" South
Longitude: 135° 49' 39" East
Altitude: 649 feet
From Seattle: 8600 miles
Lodging: Camp - Barkly Roadhouse

Map
Today's Travel:
Country: Australia
Region: Northern Territory
Route: Car: Carpentaria Highway (A1), Tablelands Highway (A11)
Start: Daily Waters
Stop 1. Cape Crawford
End:Barkly Homestead, NT, Australia
Road Miles:439 miles
Linear:394 miles
Weather: Partial Sun / Mostly Sunny

Available Photos:

Nothing but road Tablelands, NT, Australia

All photo images © 1997-2000 Anthony Jones - Images may not be used without prior written approval.

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Map
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 1131
Miles Driven:183261
Linear Dist: 216559
Countries Visited: 68
Regions Visited: 258
More stats...
Hotels: 375
Friends / Family: 293
Camping: 126
Hostels: 253
Transit: 70
Other Lodging: 13
Beers: 3980
Hide...

Journal Entry:
A long driving day. Followed the National Highway (A1 - the highway that circles Australia) as it turned off the Stuart Highway (the north - south highway that goes right through the center of the country) and onto the Carpentaria Highway. The new road is only one lane of pavement with half a lane of gravel on either side. The idea being when two vehicles approach each other they'll both pull off on to the gravel. Luckily there's not a lot of traffic - actually there's not a lot of anything. In the 300 kilometers (180 miles) I did on this road I passed a dozen cars, one windmill, and one turnoff for a cattle station. Even the scenery didn't vary much - the road ran arrow straight through perfectly flat bush country only the density of the trees varied (and not much).

At the Cape Crawford roadhouse I stopped for lunch (a microwaved meat pie), diesel, and a stretch before turning 90° south onto the Tablelands highway. This road is configured about the same, except not as well maintained, and the gravel sides aren't as wide. There is some excitement though - there are turns, and lots of cattle on the road - makes for fairly stressful driving. The cattle are scary as they wait until the last minute to decide if they're going to move for you (they don't always) and it's unpredictable which direction they were going to run - saw several dead on the side of the road. A sure way to wreck my car. A couple hours south the terrain changed - now there is only foot high grass and an absolutely featureless flat plane stretching to the horizon - I can guess why this is called the Tablelands - it makes Kansas look interesting.

The highlights of the day were the wildlife. In the first hour I went across a creek and saw crocs! I stopped to look from the floodway - I think they were freshwater crocodiles (the smaller, less dangerous ones). A bit later I turned the car around to watch a ten foot snake (don't know what kind) vanish into the grass - only stopped at clearings for toilet brakes after that. Also, I saw my first dingo today! Wasn't really exciting it looked just like a dog or maybe a jackal. Another hazard were the giant Wedge-Tailed Eagles - usually feasting on kangaroo roadkill - they're huge and would wait until the last minute to decide to postpone dinner. They're beautiful and big - they must have a five foot plus wing span - sometimes they seemed bigger than the car! Over the last hour of the drive I saw hundreds of kangaroos and a couple wallabies (or maybe unattended joeys).

Got to the Barkly Homestead (just another roadhouse) at the junction of the Barkly Highway (what I'll take east tomorrow) a half hour after a great sunset. In the 4 hours / 400 kilometers / 240 miles I spent on the Tablelands highway I saw one other car! Skies are clear and the rooms are expensive so I pitched my tent had dinner at the roadhouse and headed to bed early.


Related Sites:
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: Australia
CIA World Fact Book: Australia

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