Sunday, 14 September 2008

Sircling Stralia = Week 5

States Visited – 3
Kilometres Travelled – 3,237 (plus 120km without the car – all will be explained below!)

As you can already see from the amount of km travelled this was a heavy driving week but it was also the week where if it could go wrong it did!

It did not start off that way though, we began by driving over 1,000km from Mt Isa to Daly Waters, an obscure Northern Territory town that is basically just a pub, but a great one! We had been here before when we came though the centre of Oz on the OzBus so were keen to come back for the Beef and Barra on the BBQ and relive the memories of the last visit, after this we headed on to our next stop which was to be Timber Creek. This had been mentioned in one of our guide books and we decided it would be a good place to stay the night. When we got there we decided this was not the case, it was another middle of nowhere place and we decided to keep going.

About 60km up the road from here, essentially in the middle of nowhere the car decides it has had enough of this and stops, dead, the whole instrument panel shuts down and just as we pull off the road to see what is going on the engine cuts our to. The sun is beginning to set and the the very kind people who stopped to check we were ok as soon as we stopped were told we would be fine, “I have a jump starter, I am sure I can get it going” I had foolishly said! After another half an hour we manage to hitch a ride with some fellow backpackers in a VW Combi and make it the 60km back to the Turkey Creek Roadhouse. Being in the middle of nowhere also means your mobile does not work but using the roadhouses payphone I called up 24/7 Roadservices to come to my rescue! I pay my membership fees so they should come to my assistance right, the name 24/7 certainly implies this and the fact they are “Australia Wide” means I will be fine…ha ha ha ha!

I was told I was too far from anywhere for them to do anything tonight and that as I was 60km away from the nearest civilisation that the tow back would cost me an arm and a leg and several other body parts! Left with no assistance we had to stay the night at the fully booked out roadhouse in a staff cabin (charged at full rates of course!) and then see the mechanic in the morning when he opened up shop.

To say the mechanic in Timber Creek is not the life and soul of the party is an understatement in the extreme, after explaining what had happened and saying that I thought the battery might be buggered (bearing in mind I have the mechanical knowledge of a gerbil on vallium) he simply sells me a battery for an exorbitant fee and sets me on my way! Another 60km hitchhike with a very nice family who were the only ones out of about 8 cars to stop got us and our new battery back to the car.

With the new battery in we were back in business and made it to the Kunurra, a further couple of hundred kilometres along the road. We got here with no problems, checked in to the YHA, which was lovely and breathed a huge sigh of relief, we were out of the woods…can you say famous last words?

That evening we went on a sunset BBQ cruise on the river, saw the impressive local dam, met some very interesting people and had a great evening, The next morning we packed up and headed out to begin our run to Broome, a leisurely two day drive with a few stop offs here and there, at least that was the plan! This time we were only 6km out of town by the time the car gave up and 24/7 Roadservices came through, the tow truck got to us within the hour and we were soon back in Kunurra which thankfully has much more competent mechanics. Turns out the alternator was shot and it would take a couple of days to fly one in so we were not going anywhere just yet!

We had to move to another backpackers for one night as ours was full but it was a little run down so we moved back for our third night and met up with a Canadian girl who needed a ride to Broome so we obliged, for a share of petrol of course!

By the time we left this little town we were ready to reach Broome as quickly as possible and once again covered the 1000+km in a day to pull in to Broome on the last day of week 5, we dropped out hitchhiker at a hostel in town and headed for Cable Beach Caravan Park. The highly eventful week ended with a mini reunion as one of our fellow OzBuser’s is working in Broome at the moment so we passed away the evening with cocktails, tapas and pleasant conversation…

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