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Burketown to Roper Bar, Northern Territory

With about ten percent of the distance covered on our trek across the Top End of Australia from Normanton, in Queensland, to Mataranka, in the Northern Territory, we again set out on our journey.

Our first stop was Burketown Hospital to have a painful insect bite on Rod's leg checked out. Obviously the one that latched on hadn't cleaned its teeth or proboscis recently!

The district nurse, a laconic type, inspected the bite and advised that it was a particularly serious infection. Then proceeded to advise and warn us that the bugs in the Top End were bigger than Texas compared to their southern cousins down when it came to initiating skin infections.

Prophetic news that we didn't want to hear!

It was necessary to sit in the hospital waiting room for a couple of hours until a Royal Flying Doctor Service doctor from Mt Isa could return the District nurse's call, endorsing her diagnosis and the prescription of 'heavy duty' oral antibiotics.

We spent the time studiously inspecting wall charts and jars displaying a smorgasbord of the Top End's most wanted list... dangerous critters,if given half a chance...would sliver, leep, creep, crawl or maul their way to the exposed skin of southern visitors...in order to inflict incapacity, disease and sometime's death.

...EXCELLENT!

Upon leaving we were advised that the infection would require further attention as soon as we reached 'civilisation'. Based on our intended route, Katherine, in the Northern Territory, was chosen.

Before heading off we consulted the map...noting that our chosen route was marked as "four wheel drive only" and "unsuitable for caravans".

Although a bit apprehensive, we had met a couple at Leichhardt Falls the day before and they informed us that they had just come through from Roper Bar, towing an offroad caravan.

There's nothing like hearing of road conditions direct from the horse's mouth and being assured that if we took it steady, we wouldn't have any problems...we proceeded.

Two days of bone-jarring corrugations, shallow but nasty dips and washed out floodways followed. In addition we had to ford several rivers...the worst being the Calvert, which had a steep entry and departure angle. It was also signposted as being the favourite playground of the Estuarine crocodile.

In addition, it turned out to be deeper than expected and water washed above the wheel arches on the Prado as we churned our way across. Fortunately, however, we had taped the caravan door and front locker in anticipation.

Through the water we could see large boulders and pebbles littering the river floor and the prospect of being hung up on one or having the engine stall was not a welcome thought.

...in that unfortunate event, I doubt that either of us would have got wet in reaching terra firma!

Burketown to Roper Bar, Northern Territory


The country through which we travelled was remote and savannah-like, punctuated only by small sandstone ranges that popped up out of nowhere.

 

St. Vidgeon and Lomarleum Lagoon (Northern Territory)

Our decision to take the Roper Bar route to the Territory and three days of teeth-chattering rough dirt roads was vindicated by our discovery of the picturesque Lomarleum Lagoon.

Located about 500 metres off the road, behind ruins at St. Vidgeon, 65km east of Roper Bar, it's a truly idyllic spot.

Lined by shady trees and swaying reeds, it was studded with water lilies.

We selected a camping spot literally about three metres from the waters edge ...indulging the cool breezes sweeping off the water's surface and feasting on the panoramic views that could be enjoyed from each window of the caravan.

We're still not sure whether crocodiles were present in the lagoon...or more to the point...whether they could propel themselves the three metres or so at the van...to score a free meals on wheels...but we suspect not.

Lomarleum Lagoon

 

Lomarleum Lagoon, St Vidgeon near Roper Bar, Northern Territory

Croc bait on the banks of the lagoon

 

 

Croc bait on the banks of the lagoon


 

Dawn over the lagoon...it was carpeted by a gentle mist which quickly dissipated with the rising sun.

A room with a view Lomarleum Lagoon

A room with a view...from the bed looking out the caravan window at the lagoon.

Roper Bar General Store

Roper Bar General Store; including pizza takeaway and petrol station.

Note the fenced enclosure... presumably to protect the fuel pumps!

 

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