Daly Waters – Elliot – Renner Springs – Tennant Creek (xxx kms)
Not verything goes smoothly on a trip, and this morning was no exception. As we were leaving the cabin, Bruce checked that I had the keys. Suffice to say, 10 mins later the keys had disappeared from the face of the earth. And, a frantic 30min+ search did not unearth said keys. It was not my finest hour, and we headed off. I insisted on returning to “fes up” and to lodge complaints about various deficincies of the room, the main one being the toaster exploding in a flash of blue flame. After another hour an hour, I emerged, somewhat triumphant it must be said, with a $50 refund! Bruce was less impressed than I thought he should be; more words; and a smouldering slience from us both for the next half an hour. And, then back to situaion usual, and we chatted away.
Elliot struck us as something of a shithole, and indeed our suspicions were confirmed at the service (ha ha) station, where we were going to order coffees. The self-confessed Grump (according to sign) behind the counter couldn’t even muster a g’day, let alone a smile, and I headed for the door. Elliot Service Station: -5 stars (or 5 pilesOfShit, if you prefer).
Renner Springs was a major truck stop, with service station and shop, pub in service station, and caravan “park”. The pub was ecletic (see photo), and we somewhat tentatively ordeed a steak sandwich for me (first red meat in a week)and avacodo sandwich for Bruce, and coffees. The nosh was excellent, as was the coffee. There was an interesting map on the wall, showing the size of the various cattke stations. The largest is Brunette Downs (at 12,000 sq. kms), which makes Kalala (at 4000 sq. kms) seem small.
We were traversing the Barkly Tableland, and Barkla is one of the largest administrative regions in NT, with a population of around 6,000 people, and a bazillion flies (more on that later). More later on population density.
We passed a marker that is close to the place where the north-south telegraph line was joined in 1872. It was completed in under two years, and comprised 36,000 telegraph poles. It reduced the round time for a message from Australia to England from 100 days to a matter of hours, via the newly laid (undersea) cables from ASia to Europe.
Stayed in the Tennant Creek Caravan Park, which was delightful with grassy camping areas, a great kitchen area, and super-friendly staff. We were entertained until well after 3AM by music from a nearby local gathering, which added some local colour. Restocked before heading bush, and I cooked for the first time: a decent enough Spanish omelette and salad (well, Bruce ate it).