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for the old peoples home

by Jim Viney



    As you get older it’s only natural you tend to put on a bit of weight so, leaving Sal at home I went off to weigh the old people’s home ....either the great big engine was feeling its age or the old people’s home had put on weight….now here is a tip…pack your trailer for a trip and go and weigh it. When the guy yelled through the weighbridge window 970kg I nearly fell onto the road as I was expecting 700+…..we now have a very nice set of electric brakes. I want to make it quite clear it’s not my beer but her fire wood that's caused this substantial expense.

    Our last big trip was across the East Alligator River into Arnhem Land and on up to the Coburg Peninsular where we camped for several days….if you like fishing this is heaven on a stick…..on several occasions complete strangers would visit our camp about beer o’clock with fish of the day, saying I can’t fit anymore in. We would grill it all on the top of the washing machine and eat what we could then next day make a delicious kedgeree.

    As they only allow 20 vehicles into the park at any one time the place is verging on deserted. There are several tracks through the lagoons and along the coast to explore and most probably you won’t see a soul all day. Cyclones regularly track through the area in the season and there are areas that resemble a bulldozer school but on the whole it’s quiet and relaxing and we both enjoyed it. You need to be a bit self sufficient as there are no services so you need enough food and fuel for the round trip but there is plenty of firewood.

    There are two areas for camping…we chose the generator area as there was nobody else there. After setting up camp we had a wander around and much to our delight we found a big green shed with a loo and a shower with hot ‘n cold running. I should mention swimming is not on the day’s activity list and as it’s quite warm the shower is a real luxury. I should also mention there is a mysterious animal that is rarely seen during the day but is quite active at night ……needless to say Sally had me getting up early and retiring late so I could track through the bush in my pj’s and bare feet trying to spot this beast which turned out to be a complete waste of time as on our last day we came across a whole family of these things just standing in the middle of the track.

    We retraced our track along the yellow brick road and turned onto the Central Arnhem Road near Mataranka for another 750k of bone jarring bulldust to visit Gove in the other corner.

    Along the way there are a few really nice designated areas to camp so you don’t need to do the trip all in one go. We camped along the way both going and coming which made it an easy trip.

    The town is really a mining community which looks prosperous, nice and clean and has most stuff the average camper needs. There is a motel, Woolies, hospital and fuel but no campground. So armed with a glove box full of permits you can go off and find your very own perfect deserted beach. Once again we saw very few people and several days without seeing a soul. I did speak to a local on one occasion and after a brief discussion she smiled and said ‘oh you must be from Australia’.

    We explored several beaches …they were all deserted …it’s a great place to collect a few shells and enjoy a nice beach walk and camp without neighbors.

    If this is something you want to do start collecting permits soon after Christmas so you can choose your own time to travel….its a memorable experience and you will travel through some interesting country and see plenty of wildlife.



February 2010