The Savannah Way – Cairns to Katherine – Part 2 of 2
Today was a long, long driving day and we camped at Robinson River overnight just off the side of the road. There were lots of cows on this trip, some of which have learnt how to jump across a cattle grid. Amazing to watch, crazy bovine! We also crossed into Northern Territory, hello NT. This is Richards first time here and he has now completed the set!
We were told this wilderness station was like El Questro use to be back in the day and some people we met had been here 10 nights! The estate is huge and a 4×4 adventure playground. The tracks are fun and easy if you take your time over the gnarly stuff. We thought the camping was reasonably expensive for a rustic donkey heated shower block you have to light and stoke yourself! However this is all part of its charm and you’re miles away from anywhere. Plus the fee also includes access to their land and they maintain the tracks well. We would have loved another night here, maybe two. We arrived in the late afternoon and after setting up, jumped straight in the hot springs to relax. They are just a nice temperature and weren’t crowded. Keep moving as something does like to nibble your toes!!
The happy hour in the bar is a great chance to find out from others the adventures you can have and the bar is really nice with quirky features. The staff were friendly and if you want they do evening meals, which looked great. There is croc feeding of their two residents… when they are hungry.
The next morning there was an incredible mist across the site as we headed off to do the parks highlights.
At the briefing and sign in we met Brad and his family. They have a Disco 3 too and so we joined forces and had a great day out with them. The directions given at reception are a lot to take in and I was desperately scribbling down everything on the map. I have created some trip notes of the trip we did 🙂 but conditions change, so check at reception. You also must remember to sign back in before you hit happy hour, or they will send and charge you for a search party!!! Download the PDF here.
The track’s were easy, but there was a river crossing we needed to avoid and take the chicken track, my scribbled instructions must have been okay, as we didn’t end up stuck. On the way in there were a few easy river crossings and then turning off the track to Nanny’s Retreat, it became a little more challenging and more of a 4WD track. We were here in July and so well into the dry season, but as you know conditions can change.
We explored Nanny’s retreat which is great fun, hiking the few kms in and then swam through the gorge, before explore the huge cave at the end! We had the place to ourselves which was awesome!
From Nanny’s we headed back down the track and into Helicopter Pool and Fern Gully Falls. There was a bit of a jump up you need to take slowly and the tracks are narrow before opening out into a small parking area. We didn’t swim at Helicopter pool but instead scrambled down to the cave which is full of dragon flies and butterflies. There we a couple of people in the pool doing some impressive backflips into the water!
We had a quick look at the spa pool, but we imagine it’s better earlier in the season. Finally in this area we walked into Fern Gully for a dip.
We convoyed down the track with Brad to our final stop, the waterslides! Getting on the CB radio, with a call sign of bing bong (bit of Landrover joke, we spent a bit of time swapping car stories with this guy) It’s a 2km scramble in and so much fun!!! The speed the kids were getting up was incredible!!! The adults took it a bit easier, but has just as much fun! Getting out is fun, and not very elegant! We rounded the day off back at happy hour to tell the stories of our adventures.
Limmen National Park: Southern Lost City and Butterfly Falls.
The following morning we headed to the southern lost city and explored this incredible place! I imagine it’s even more impressive at sunrise or sunset and if you want to do this, there is a National Park camping site.
The 2km walking track weaves around these incredible stone structure created by the elements! From here we went to Butterfly Falls , the swimming hole was definitely past its best and didn’t look inviting, but wow the butterfly wall to the right handside is like nothing I have ever seen, million and millions of butterflies! Checkout this video
We headed in a bit too far this day and camped at one of the parking bays after getting fuel at Roper Bar which is a huge glory hole of a shop! we should have camped at the campground here, but we decided to push on. We were then faced with roadworks which slowed us down and a few of the rest areas were either uninviting, no longer existed or were lorries only and just a small pull in.
Download the National Park Info here
Elsey National Park
Compared to other National Parks in the area we felt this one was a little disappointing. The campground is quiet and lovely, but if you’re tight for time do yourself a favour and spend more time in Nitmiluk National Park. We came to kayak the Roper river, but it’s currently closed – those pesky Saltwater crocodiles get the everywhere! There is a very pleasant 8km return walk to the Korowan Falls (Mataranka Falls). Where you really do just want to jump in at. The Tufta dams are created by calcium carbonate precipitating onto the rock bars.
We did a few of the short walks in the area too, but they weren’t anything to write home about. The bitter springs are a must! They are just stunning! The water is a crystal clear aquamarine colour and although busy, it was still so tranquil as you float down the waterway. If you’re game you can swim back against the current or take the walk way and then do it all again TOP TIP take a noodle for a relaxing float! Download the National Park info here
Mataranka hot springs were a different story! We walked in and promptly walked out! The place was rammed, its like a Butlins swimming pool in the U.K. and the whole area a bit man-made. The homestead wasn’t much better, just a tacky bar. I know other people love this place, so maybe we were unlucky as it was the school holidays! But we went back to bitter springs on our way to Alice Springs it was that nice. There is campsite up the road that ‘s really good too.
Our travels continued to Kakadu, Darwin, Litchfield, Daly Springs and Butterfly Gorge before making our way to Alice Springs.