Katherine – preparation before heading to WA
We’ve arrived in Katherine once again, planning to stay for a couple of days before making our way to Lake Argyle. The day started off a bit stressful as we raced around all the caravan parks, trying to find a powered site that wasn’t already taken.
Luckily, we managed to secure the last spot at a small but lovely Red Gum Caravan Park. After setting up, we spent the day washing, cleaning, and restocking our supplies. T
he red dirt had coated everything, so we had to give the trailer and car a good scrub. We stocked up on groceries to last us for the next few weeks, including vacuum-packed meat to extend its storage time.
We also bought plenty of canned goods, nuts, and bars that would serve as handy snacks for our upcoming hiking adventures.
Katherine Hot Springs
We finished all our preparations by the third day, and finally had time to visit the hot springs. The water was warm and very refreshing, and we found it hard to leave. While we were there, Nell made some progress with her swimming skills, and it was clear to see that she was having a lot of fun.
Katherine Botanical Gardens
Later on, we visited the Katherine Botanical Gardens and strolled along the pathways. Some plants were fascinating to look at. However, since it was the dry season, many of them were dormant, and we couldn’t appreciate the full beauty of the garden.
We are leaving Katherine tomorrow and heading to Western Australia.
On the way to Gregory National Park
The road from Katherine to Gregory National Park offers breathtaking views of old mountain formations and stunning panoramas. The vibrant green of the trees against the brick-maroon rocks creates a striking contrast.
During our journey, we made a stop at Victoria River Roadhouse for lunch, and we enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the place. We ordered chips and meat pies, which were delicious and satisfying, and soon we were back on the road.
Yesterday, I was doing my research and learned that the road to our next destination would be sealed road, but Marius insisted that I was wrong. As it turned out he was right, and we had to drive almost 50 km on a dirt road. This made me a bit unhappy as I had not packed my kitchen stuff for off-road conditions.
I was worried that all the jars in the fridge would open and cause a mess, as it had happened before when jam mixed nicely with mustard. However, we soon discovered that lowering the pressure in the tyres helped a lot. We didn’t feel the corrugations as much and the tyres were able to grip the surface more smoothly.
Gregory National Park
The campsite in Gregory National Park was absolutely stunning, with plenty of trees providing much-needed shade. To my delight, Baobab trees were everywhere!
These bottle-shaped trees have always fascinated me, and I was thrilled to finally see them in person. Known as “boabs” in Australia, these incredible trees can grow up to 15-20 meters tall and live for up to 1000 years.
Interestingly, Australian boabs and their African counterparts share common ancestors that originated in Asia. Baobabs are so large that in the past, police officers even used hollowed-out trunks to imprison people overnight!
In the evening, we started a small campfire.
The night was very bright because it was a full moon. The trees casted shadows and birds screamed dramatically from time to time. It was warm, windless, and exceptionally beautiful.
Marius got up at 8 am for the first time since we started our trip and prepared everything for our departure. After a quick breakfast, we drove to the river to see the designated trail to cross it.
Bullita Stock Route – a missed chance (maybe next time)
The river crossing looked amazing with only arrow posts showing the way to drive across. We were excited to cross the river and venture onto the one-way Bullita Stock Route.
However, there was not a single person in the park except for us, and we didn’t want to risk crossing a river with an unknown depth that could potentially be inhabited by saltwater crocodiles. We decided to add this trail to our bucket list and continue our journey.
After driving for a few hundred meters, we stumbled upon Bullita Homestead, a historic place with a collection of old tools and artifacts that gave us a glimpse into the everyday life of those times.
The huge baobab tree growing in front of the house was an impressive sight. There were a few other 4WD tracks that went south, but we decided to save them for another time.
The weather was extremely dry and hot, and we were disappointed to find that there were no waterholes in Gregory National Park.
We noticed for the first time in Gregory National Park that driving with somebody else would be really handy. We had a recovery kit but we did not have a winch so in case we were stuck nobody would be around to help out.
On the way to the Western Australia border, we drove through lots of dust and crossed several streams. Nell was delighted as crossing the creeks was one of her favourite activities.
Western Australia border
While driving further, the scenery was getting better and better. The mountains around us were getting bigger and redder. Finally, we arrived at the state border, where we were waiting for another search, but we already knew how it works.
We immediately surrendered the potatoes and onions. I confessed that we also had mushrooms, and the customs officer looked at us strangely before saying that he wanted to see them. Once he found out that they were only harmless cooking mushrooms, he left us alone.
Fortunately, the officer did not want to see the refrigerator in the trailer. We didn’t like the idea of taking everything out just to get to the fridge and its content.
So we were again left with no vegetables, honey, rice, and nuts. But the important thing was that we were now travelling in Western Australia, which was the third state we had entered since leaving Victoria.
Lake Argyle – infinity swimming pool
A few kilometers ahead, we turned into the dam area to see the largest lake in Australia – Lake Argyle. I must admit, it left a phenomenal impression on us.
The huge body of water, dramatic mountains, and the blue sky hanging over the lake were amazing. We decided to stay at a campsite with a beautiful view of the lake.
After driving 250 km, we were all looking forward to a refreshing swim but, we had to wash our camper trailer first. It had a 2 cm layer of dust after driving through Gregory National Park, and we also didn’t like the idea of sleeping in a bed full of dust.
Once this was done we headed for the pool.
Although the water was cold, we all got in anyway (even me) because the view was breathtaking. Later on, at sunset, we went on a short trail. We heard someone playing the bagpipes and saw people sitting on chairs on the edge of the cliff, gazing at the red rocks on the other side of the lake.
That’s how we ended this great day.
Today, the sun woke us up early. Excited to explore our new surroundings, we headed to the dam and visited two viewpoints. Our heads were spinning from the incredible view.
At first glance, the dam appeared small, but as we got closer and stood on it, we were able to appreciate its height.
Looking out at the vast expanse of water and the massive rocks surrounding us, I felt like a tiny ant. It’s hard to imagine that the lake contains 54 times more water than Sydney Bay!
Later on, we went to a historic farm that had once been in lower Argyle. It had to be relocated stone by stone to a higher spot. The same happened with the historic tombstones of people who once inhabited this area.
Later, we visited a historic homestead that had previously been in Lower Argyle, but was relocated stone by stone to a higher spot. The same was done with the historic tombstones of people who once lived in the area.
In the afternoon, we visited a pool, but the water was too cold for me to take a second swim.
The views were still breathtaking, and I thought it was late afternoon, but other campers corrected us. In Western Australia, it is 1.5 hours earlier than in the Northern Territory, so we had extra time to simply relax and admire the scenery.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Lake Argyle is home to the world’s largest population of Johnston River Freshwater Crocodiles. However, these reptiles are timid and considered non-dangerous to humans. In fact, there is an annual Lake Argyle Swim event. If you are uncertain about the presence of crocodiles, it is always best to confirm upon your arrival.
Lake Argyle was created artificially by damming the Ord River. This has created a special environment that offers now a lot of different activities for tourists like cruising, fishing canoeing, and walking.
There are several walking trails around the Lake Argyle village, and local staff are always working to create more bushland trails for visitors to explore the rugged landscape. It is best to check with the village staff upon your arrival for the current walking map.
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Enjoy outdoors with Tentworld equipment
4WD Equipment Checklist
Tire Repair Kit – to fix the tire by yourself when you don’t have access to the tire shop (we use Oztrail)
UHF Radio – for communication with your mates and in emergency
Full Recovery Kit (with Dampener Blanket) – must-have if you are going on real off-road
High Lift Jack – useful if you do serious 4WD tracks
Shovel – useful if you get bogged, also good for campfire cooking
Fuel funnel with water filter – additional protection when fueling up in dodgy places