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Travel Australia with Kids

Wednesday, 10th August 2011

Parmiss Keyhani - Friday, August 12, 2011

Had a few lovely days of "respite" at Corella Dam (just east of Mt Isa) - some of the free camp spots in this country are truly wonderful.  The absolutely cloudless days (and I mean EVERY day) meant the boys pretty much lived outside, playing whatever crocodile make-believe story Kia had cooked up.  Tiran also expressed a keen interest as "cane toad killer" for a possible profession - there were quite a few around, day and night, so we made up a solution of dettol in a trigger bottle and off they went killing toads! Disgusting animals - I felt no sympathy at all!

We took the zodiac out a few times croc-spotting (freshwater only, don't worry) and saw quite enough to satisfy the troups. On our way back from the last trip, we spied a very large one on the bank (close to 4 metres we guessed) and slowed down to get as close as we could - usually they slither into the water gently as soon as you get too close, but this one actually charged into the water as we approached, so we hightailed it out of there (freshwater or not!).

At Mt Isa we free camped behind the RSL Club - for payment, they "request" that you have a meal at the club, which is really no hardship at all (in fact the food was pretty good).  We visited the Isa Experience & Riversleigh Fossil Centre - what a tremendous amount of information about the history of the town! And very well done - lots of mining equipment to keep the kids amused (for a little while anyway). I could have easily spent another 2 hours in there (in addition to the 2 already spent).

Mt Isa is quite a large town but still has a country town feel to it and it's very widely spaced out. Of course the usual chores of shopping, post office, catching up on a bit of work, laundry, and a car service had to be taken care of as well, but that's what the cities are for. But plenty of water play for the 3 boys (who are suffering severe withdrawal symptoms) including another boat outing on Moondarra Lake and an afternoon splashing around at the huge water play park in town.

So excited to cross into the Northern Territory - as we have been for  all the state borders so far.  But my oh my, the distances are hard to describe! We entered in the middle of the state and headed south first, towards Alice Spring. The majority of our first 2 days were spent in the car, which led to very grumpy boys with too much energy to burn in the afternoons.  The scenery far greener now than it had been the last few weeks in outback Queensland and amazingly few roadkill.  Spent a night in Tennant Creek out of necessity to break up the huge distance to the Devil's Marbles, where we were greeted by the first cloudy day we've had in weeks.  It really is amazing to see these massive boulders perched so precariously on top of each other - it's very tempting to try and push them over! And we were all hugely excited with our first wild dingo sighting - this one seemed to be a "resident" of the camp area and although he didn't come right up to people, he stayed in the campgrounds for hours (I think people have thrown scraps to him in the past). Gorgeous animal!

Another long day of driving took us through Ti-Tree (lots of stray dogs and not much else), Red Earth Mango Farm (yummy home made mango ice cream), the imposing statue of the aboriginal hunter atop the hill at Aileron, and saw us cross the Tropic of Capricorn for the second time (also our rest area for the night). We stopped off at Alice Springs for supplies and at the information centre for details of the state of the roads (the absolute nicest and most helpful information centre staff in a very long time!) and picked up our census pack to fill out that night (must be counted no matter where you are).  We detoured off the highway and negotiated a very short section (15km) of the infamously rough Ernest Giles Road (took us nearly 40 minutes) to see the Henbury Meteorite craters - these things look much more impressive from above though and none of the lookouts were high enough to give us a good overall picture.

So we headed off towards the Red Centre and the arguably the true centre of Australia.

Lovely sunset at Corella Dam, QLD (30July11)Beautiful colour contrasts - Corella Dam, QLD (01Aug11)Freshwater crocodile basking in the sun - Corella Dam, QLD (01Aug11)Camp spot as seen from the crocs' view - Corella Dam, QLD (01Aug11)
Digging up some fossils - Riversleigh Fossil Centre, Mt Isa, QLD (02Aug11)Kiavash & Tiran - Mt Isa, QLD (02Aug11)Outback @ Isa Complex - Mt Isa, QLD (02Aug11)View from the lookout - Mt Isa, QLD (03Aug11)
Boating at Moondara Lake - Mt Isa, QLD (04Aug11)A bit of fun at the water park - Mt Isa, QLD (04Aug11)Crossing the Northern Territory border (06Aug11)Lovely countryside colours of NT - just wish there wasn't so much of it! (06Aug11)
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