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.