Tanami Track (part 2)

Surprisingly enough, our second night camped on the Tanami was our warmest night yet. There was a little chill in the morning until the sun was fully up, but it quickly warmed up for another beautiful day.

Sunrise on the Tanami

We crossed the border into WA (wanted to get a photo but someone had stolen the sign!!). 
On the way to Halls Creek we took a detour to see the Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater and we are glad we did, WOW! It’s huge and it’s amazing to see.

Years ago we went to see another crater in Qld and after a long hot walk to get to the top, I can’t say we were impressed. But this one is totally different and definitely worth seeing.  
The Wolfe Creek meteorite crater is the second largest crater in the world from which fragments of a meteorite have been collected. The crater is 880 metres across and almost circular. It’s believed that when the meteorite crashed to Earth around 300,000 years ago, it weighed more than 50,000 tonnes and would have been travelling at 15 kilometres a second.

Although the crater was officially discovered by Europeans in 1947, the Aboriginal people knew of it and called it ‘Kandimalal’. Their story is that two rainbow snakes formed the nearby Sturt and Wolfe Creeks as they crossed the desert. They believe the crater is where one snake emerged from the ground.

Now, onto some not so nice parts of the trip ….. 

George had mentioned earlier on that the brakes on the trailer didn’t seem to be working, we’d tried a few things out and couldn’t work out what was wrong. We weren’t sure if it was the brakes or the brake controller so we decided to continue on to Halls Creek (didn’t really have any other option anyway!) and deal with it there. We rang Cub Campers back in Sydney and asked them if they had any ideas. After telling us what to look for, George found that the wire connector for the electric brakes had been cut (obviously to do with the rocks and corrugations on the track). Cub called us back within about 5 minutes with approval to get the repair done wherever we could and they would reimburse us under warranty.

It was after this that we also realised that a chunk has been taken out of one of the trailer tyres, so we headed to the Toyota service centre to get another tyre fitted. Of course we have spares with us, but thought we’d buy another whilst we were in civilisation! 

We then went in search of someone to repair the brakes! We have to give a big shout out to the boys at Baileys Auto Repairs in Halls Creek who dropped everything to fix the trailer when we randomly rocked up at the store!

Oh and in case you were all wondering …… another 30 degree day!

Tanami Track (part 1)

On our first night on the Tanami we stayed at Tilmouth Well, about 2 hours from Alice Springs on the Tanami Track.  What a great little roadhouse this was, clean and good grounds right on the Napperby River (which is currently dry). We were surprised at how quiet it was there, only 3 other cars. We decided to have dinner and a beer in their restaurant and Shelly had a breakfast wrap the next day aswell, all of the food was great. Highly recommend a stop at this place if anyone is in the area, the owners are really friendly and helpful too.

There was also a little Staffy staying with one of the other guys, so she came over for a visit with us yesterday morning, what a cute little girl she was! So tiny compared to Gelly, but with just as much excitement, strength and cheekiness!

Speaking of cheeky puppies, the other night we checked our surveillance cameras at home and saw Charli sitting in the herb garden, after rewinding the footage we saw her break open the back gate and jump in the garden staring at the back door – willing it to open! This went on for at least 1/2 hour. How can one dog be so loveable, but so incredibly naughty! At least our housesitter said she doesn’t appear to be fretting too much this time ……. Of course Gelly couldnt care, as long as someone feeds her and gives her pats and tickles, she’s happy!

So yesterday and today saw us travelling along the Tanami Track. This road is basically a shortcut from the southern states to the Kimberley region of WA, rather than having to drive up via Katherine in NT.  The road goes through some of the least populated country in Australia. It travels through the Tanami Desert and it’s very remote with nothing around. We’ve passed a few road trains and the odd 4WD, but we are going hours without seeing anyone. 

The whole track from start to end is 1046km and there is one roadhouse (Tilmouth Well) at the beginning of the track on NT side. Other than that there is no camping areas (just need to find a spot off the side of the road) and no facilities (except the odd aboriginal community off the track that ‘may or may not’ have fuel and ‘may or may not’ be open!). So basically you need to ensure that you carry enough fuel and supplies to cover the distance. 

Last night we camped on the side of the road. We found a fairly large area far enough off the road and we had the area to ourselves.  We arrived at 4.30 pm and had no cars go past until 6pm. I think there would have been about 5 cars and a truck or two the whole time we were there, it’s certainly remote. 

eating ice blocks at camp

George cooked us dinner last night on the Webber, we watched an awesome sunset and relaxed in the quietness. 

The stars last night were unbelievable, they felt like they were raining down on us, like we could literally reach up and touch them. The Milky Way was so bright, a trillion little tiny stars. We’ve done a fair bit of outback travel and this is the biggest and brightest we’ve seen the stars …. I thought the night sky at Mutawintji was good, but this was so much better. 

The video above is our campsite in the Tanami, so quiet and secluded.

Started off towards Halls Creek today, crossed the WA border and gained 1 1/2 hours! Roads are a lot more corrugated towards the WA end of the track, nowhere near as smooth as yesterday. Again, lots more rolled and/or burnt out cars and 4Wds on the side of the road … apparently this is where cars go to die!

The off-roading starts today!

It rained on and off last night and we started the morning with some light rain. That also meant packing up the camper wet, which isn’t fun! We left early this morning with the hope of arriving at camp early enough to set up and let the camper dry out.  Hopefully our tarp on the mattress trick works and our bed and doona isn’t wet tonight!

Today we are driving straight up the Stuart Highway to Alice Springs and then turning onto the Tanami Track, our first off-roading for the trip (and basically what we are treating as the start of our trip, our driving days get shorter from here on).

We crossed the border into NT this morning and of course we stopped for photos!

This mornings fill was the most expensive fill so far, at $1.59 per litre for diesel. We are expecting this to get a lot more expensive going forward! So far for the trip we are averaging 16.33L/100 at an average cost of $0.22 per km.

We took a little detour today and decided to visit Rainbow Valley as we missed this on our last trip to NT as we were delayed in Alice Springs getting some mechanical work done. Glad we took the drive in today, it’s amazing. Would have loved to be there at sunrise or sunset as I’m sure the rocks would have changed colour as they do at Palm Valley.

NT has lots of monuments and things marked out on the side of the highway and this is one we stopped off to see today. The Northern Territory Cannonball Run was held from 22 May to the 27 May in 1994 on the Stuart Highway from Darwin to Alice Springs and return. 

On 24 May, during one of the timed sections near Alice Springs, a Ferrari F40 crashed into a checkpost killing its occupants and two track officials.

Phone and Internet reception is going to get less frequent from now on so blogs and photo posts will be a little less often. We will try to ‘check in’ with SPOT when we can, to let you all know we are ok, when we don’t have reception. You’ll see a notice pop up on Facebook and realise what I’m talking about!! (the post also gives coordinates to know where we are)

this is SPOT!

Oh and in case anyone was wondering, it’s 24 degrees in Alice Springs this afternoon 😝 …… goodbye cold miserable winter weather!