Heading south: my first taste of the outback

from July 2

Today was a full day of driving on our journey down to Alice Springs from the north, and I enjoyed it. My body needed a break after all the hiking and climbing I’ve been doing.

In the morning, we went to a thermalhot pool at Mataranka The water felt quite tepid, and I caught a chill. It wasn’t like the hot pools I experienced in New Zealand or that we have at home. The brochure description “a sparkling thermal pool surrounded by lush tropical forest” was a bit of a stretch. The tour company must have a good marketing team. Once my fingers started to shrivel from the water, I got out and ventured into the coffee shop. Central Australia just does not do good coffee, as I’ve discovered time and again today.

There’s not much else to say about the day. We went to a few interesting pubs along our drive, most notably the one at Daly Waters, where people tack a memento of their visit to the wall. Money, underwear, you name it, they probably have it.

I’ve heard that outback Australia is like the rest of Australia, only 30 years behind. Based on the pubs I’ve seen today, I’m guessing that’s a pretty accurate description.

We camped at Tennant Creek tonight, and the facilities were the worst so far. I opted out of showering and some girls even opted for the bush rather than using the toilets. We arrived after dark and will leave in the dark tomorrow, so I’m glad I won’t see what the place looks like by the light of day.


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