Day 9: Monday 8 June – Churchill Head to Manbulloo

From: Bush camp at Churchill Head

To: Vince Connolly Limestone Creek roadside camp area, just south of Manbulloo, NT

Distance: 646 km

Time: 8.5 hours

(Authored by Catherine!)

Once again we were up early, but as we had moved states, we had a bonus half hour in bed and still left at 7.30am! As always we were treated to a fabulous sunrise as we showered – ah how we love our apartment! 

We continued northwards on the Stuart Highway to Katherine where we stopped off to do some last minute food supply stocking up. We don’t see any more shops until Friday, so we needed to ensure we had all our lunches and dinners catered for. 

Our key challenge is fresh fruit and vegetables. There are strict quarrantine regulations each time you cross state lines – some stricter than others. Crossing into the Northern Territory, restrictions were largely limited to banana plants and beehives but tomorrow we cross into Western Australia, meaning another change in clocks (back a further 90 minutes) plus no fresh fruit,  vegetables or honey. Tough call. We also have two potted herbs – coriander and basil, which both have question marks over them at this point. I guess we will see tomorrow. If they are included I will pluck off all the leaves and put them in the freezer (of course we have a freezer!).

After our shopping, we filled up with fuel and set off again, this time heading westwards for our final 40 minutes along the Victoria Highway. 

We parked up, along with about 10 other campers and caravans, at a ‘camping permitted’ roadside rest area. On the surface of things, this looks like a great location:

  • Lots of space between vans/campers
  • Clean toilets, rubbish bins and picnic tables
  • Plenty of shade giving trees
  • Wildlife – many birds and hoppy creatures around
  • Fabulous sunset (seems to be de rigour in these parts!)
  • Free

The downside is the road. We are about as far away from it as you can get, with many others camping about 50 metres from the edge – but at about 200 metres away it doesn’t make a roaring 3 to 4 carriage long road train any quieter or more invisible…we’re a little anxious about the amount of sleep we’re going to get tonight. There has also been the odd ‘locals’ vehicle driving past, hands on the car horn and yells of ‘yeah-hah’ out of the window (this must be what they call the Wild West?)…great!

Tomorrow we ‘only’ have about 4.5 hours to drive, and we will be at our long anticipated destination – Lake Argyle. And then our holiday will begin all over again!

Finally…our top three learnings from podcasts today:

  • George Takei of Star Trek fame started his life in a POW camp behind barbed wire in the USA because his family’s skin and look was ‘wrong’ post the Pearl Harbor bombings – despite being born in the USA to parents who were born in the USA…
  • The bacteria in our stomachs alone weighs about 1.5kg! Does that mean I am lighter when I am taking antibiotics? (Answers in the comments field below please!)
  • Despite Fidel Castro’s dictatorship (and in fact because of it), Cuban biotech have developed a treatment for final stage lung cancer which turns it from a terminal disease (eg 10 months to live) to a potentially chronic disease (eg not cured, but living for potentially another 10+ years with a good quality of life). It’s not on offer outside Cuba yet (USA are finally doing trials), but many ‘terminal’ lung cancer patients from around the world who have heard about it are flying there to get treatment and doing really well.

Thank you for continuing to join us! 

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