Darwin to Mt. Isa on the Savannah Way

We had often thought about cycling in the area of the Gulf of Carpentaria, however, the logistics were just too hard to organise. Then we saw that ROC Tours was doing a Darwin to Mt. Isa trip visiting some quite remote areas and better still we could get in a few hours “outback cycling” each day.

The tour is not quite a cycle tour and not quite a bus tour; it’s an outback camping, bike riding, bushwalking, waterhole swimming, sight seeing sort of trip bumping along Australia’s northern outback roads in a 4WD truck/bus.

Here’s some photos that I hope will convey some of the beauty of the area and give an insight into the good times we had.

Once you leave the town of Katherine you realise that you are out in the “never never”…..

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Scene of an early Australian film. “We of the Never Never”

…..and onboard your home for the next 12 days.

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Filling up at the Doomadgee Roadhouse

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Breakfast is served

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Dinner around the campfire

We rode some good roads and some very bad roads.

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Not far to Tomato Island our next food stop.

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Long straight roads but at least the corrugations and bulldust are not bad today

But some days were harder than others.

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Sometimes I wasn’t sure which was worse the deep bulldust holes or the deep corrugations.

We visited some amazing places along the way.

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Bottom pool at “Nanny’s Retreat” Lorella Springs Station

 

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Swimming along the narrow gorge

We swam in hot springs.

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Mataranka Hot Springs

We climbed gorges looking for Aboriginal art made thousands of years ago.

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Fish and lizard rock paintings found at the back of a rock ledge

We drank cold beers at a remote bar on Lorella Springs Station.

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Lorella Springs bar. Only open in the dry season.

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Steve multitasking. Swimming and drinking beer.

We rode most mornings and then waited to be scooped up by the truck.

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Good roads makes anyone smile

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Waiting at the bus stop

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Here it comes

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Lunch stop

Of course there were always some house keeping duties.

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Bikes going up on the hoist

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The hoist motors

In the bush the signs are often “improvisations”. No need for anything fancy here.

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How far to Lorella Springs turn off ?

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Hell’s Gate Roadhouse. Yes we did get coffee and wine as well as cane toads and green frogs in the shower.

Some signs needed a little more attention.

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Yes this is Crocodile territory

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I don’t mind the frogs but draw a line at sharing the amenities with snakes

There were other minor hazards to look out for.

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Cattle, water buffalo and wild pigs were also hazards, although easily avoided

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Bushfire still smouldering in the early morning

There was also the occasional water hazard.

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Well Maureen almost made it !!

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While others took the alternative route

We visited great rock pools and explored National Parks.

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Butterfly Springs rock pool

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Water Lilly flowers

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Waterfall at Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill Gorge)

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Some of us went through lower and upper gorge by canoe

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South Lost City. A great walking area.

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Visiting Riversleigh fossil area

There was always lots to do….like getting the bus out of sand bog……

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Just a little big bogged !. Unload everyone and dig a bit to get going again.

…..or just having a break and stretch during the morning ride.

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Energy bar stop.

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When you find a piece of bitumen road….do what the lizards do. Stretch out in the sun and enjoy the day.

And in case you forgot what day it was…there was always someone to help.

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Well that answers the question…..

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