Crossing the Great Dividing Range.
Burnt-out country near Georgetown.
Looks like it was quite a fire.At dusk I reach Normanton, where WikiCamps promises me a free camping spot just outside of town. The sign at the entrance, however, says that it's closed during Christmas period, so I try my luck at the only two available caravan parks, but they're already closed. This leaves me no choice but to violate the restriction and spend the night bush-camping. The night is by far the worst I've ever experienced during my travels... or at least pretty close to it. It's extremely humid and hot, and I can't leave the windows open because of the millions of mozzies swarming around. Even the cute wallabies, who hop around in great numbers, can't cheer me up, and after a miserable night's sleep I wake up super early and leave the place as soon as I can. Ugh.
A sunset near Normanton.
The Gulf Country.This is where the real Gulf Country begins. Vast plains, covered either with eucalyptus woodlands, or tall grass, or simply nothing at all, stretch far and wide, scoured every year by the monsoonal rains of the wet season. It feels more desolate and strange here than any other place I've been so far in Australia. I felt that vibe the last time I was here three years ago, and now I'm feeling it again as I drive past the numerous woodlands and cattle stations and termite mounds. Something odd and ancient, and not quite out of this world. I don't even know why it feels that way out here, but it does.
Love the cloud formations.
The land of the termite.
On the roadside.
Water levels are still low after the Dry.This feeling dissipates somewhat when I reach Burketown, a small and isolated town in this odd region of the world. I don't see a single person around, which brings the eerie feeling right back again. Were they all abducted by strange creatures from another dimension, which comes very close to ours here, or the townsfolk simply can't be bothered walking around in this oppressive humid heat? Probably the former.
Wallabies of Burketown.
Very peculiar trees. Never seen them anywhere else outside Queensland.As I cross the border and enter Northern Territory, the road begins to deteriorate. The further and further I go towards Borroloola, the more and more horrible the corrugations become. I'm also progressing northwards now, and the proximity of the wet season begins to show: the clouds become taller, puddles of waters begin to appear in the ruts; and, as I finally reach Borroloola, I even get a couple of quick rain showers myself, along with a few glimpses of a distant thunderstorm. Nice! I even spot quite a big frilled lizard, running hastily across the road on its hind legs, and its slightly crazy appearance adds even more to the slightly crazy vibrations of this land.
The road begins to slowly worsen.
Termites reign in the undergrowth.
The road gets bumpier, the trees get greener.
Thunderclouds near Borroloola.I sigh in relief when the dirt road finally ends and bitumen begins... but my adventures, as it appears, are far from over for the day. As I drive towards the Stuart Highway and the afternoon is growing late, numerous wallabies come out of the bush to drink from the puddles of water on the road. Most of them keep to the roadside and mostly disregard me as I drive past; one of them, however, decides to hop away and then suddenly jumps right under the front right wheel of my car. I barely feel the bump, but as I look at the rear view mirror, I can see that the poor creature is obviously dead. Dammit. I've made over 50,000 km so far all over Australia, and, unfortunately, hit a fair number of birds and squashed a few snakes and lizards, but this is my first ”real“ roadkill. I can't say that it feels very pleasant.