We left Katherine early with a long day’s drive ahead of us. Our first break was Mataranka Homestead. Built in 1916 to serve the original sheep station, the homestead borders Elsey National Park and is situated between two rivers, the Waterhouse river and the Little Roper river.
The early morning sun bathed us as we walked to the thermal pool.
The thermal pool is spring fed, bubbling at a constant 34ºC. The dappled light on the surface of the water adds to the relaxing atmosphere.
The river was so peaceful and still
and the return walk was hugged by majestic palm trees.
In the early 1980s, a movie based on Jeannie Gunn’s “We of the Never Never” was shot around Mataranka. A replica of the old Elsey Homestead was erected for the film and still stands at Mataranka Homestead.
200km along the track we stopped at Daly Waters. The name was given to a series of natural springs by John McDouall Stuart, after the new Governor of South Australia, Sir Dominick Daly.
There was some interesting signage in the town.
The famous pub is decorated with memorabilia left by visitors from all over the globe. Rumour has it that it started in the 1980s with a drinking bet between a coach driver and his female passengers.
The beer garden was delightfully rustic
and the signage theme continued.
We lunched a bit further on at the roadhouse at Dunmarra, a small settlement on the historic Overland Telegraph Line. We were joined by a group of apostlebirds, named after the apostles because they travel in groups of 12.
I like to know how places get their names and this one is quite convoluted. Dan O’Mara, an Overland Telegraph linesman, disappeared in the region in the early 1900s. Drover Noel Healy established a cattle station in the 1930s and discovered O’Mara’s skeleton in the bush. The local Aboriginal people couldn’t pronounce O’Mara and their attempts sounded more like Dunmarra and so, the station was named.