Distance covered: 424 kmI start my day of driving very early, at 6:15… but only because I switched the clock at last, and everything happens 1.5 hours earlier for me now. As I open and close one of the gates, I spot a dingo watching me from the distance: it's the first one I see in the wild! I try to take a picture, but it quickly scoots away. Maybe it’s just a feral dog, anyway.
The morning amidst the termite mounds.
The gums are slowly becoming numerous.The last stretch of the Tanami Road beyond the Wolfe Creek park is noticeably more corrugated; however, it's also more scenic, as numerous rocky hills begin to spring up here and there. At 8 o’clock I reach the Great Northern Highway — and with it, the bitumen and the quarantine bin: I'd crossed the state border earlier, after all. Here I am supposed to surrender all fruit, vegetables, honey and other dangerous stuff so as to protect the local ecosystem. And I'm supposed to be careful about it too, because there are two bins: one for the dangerous stuff, the other for everything else. Do they really expect me to keep all my food scraps in a separate bag during the trip?
The water finally appears.
Traces of bushfire.
The scenery around.
Now these are some proper termite mounds.
More of those interesting little trees.
The golden landscapeMy first stop at the Caroline Pool proves to be worthless, because it’s tinder dry; but the Palm Springs further down the road is actually full of water and indeed has a few palms scattered around. Nice!
A micro-dam by Mother Nature.Slightly further down the road there’s another waterhole at the Sawtooth Gorge. The eponymous cliff looks toothy indeed!
At the Sawtooth Gorge.
By the pool.
The Sawtooth itself!On my way back I stop at the China Wall – looks like you don't have to travel to China to see one! Two years ago, when I spotted the name on the map, I thought nothing of it and decided not to bother; turns out that I should have! A nature-made wall of white quartz, not nearly as tall as its namesake, but still a peculiar and memorable feature among the surrounding hills. The day slowly becomes hotter; it's very quiet here, and only hawks high up in the sky keep me company.
The China Wall.
I'm being watched.I’m back to Halls Creek by noon, and it’s time for me to take another shower. Finding it, however, proves to be difficult. I try a local caravan park, but oddly enough, they don't let me in. Perhaps it’s run by the same stingy individuals that own the other one in Tassie! Turns out that the shower is at the service station, and this isn’t advertised anywhere at all: kudos to the lovely lady in the information centre who shows me the way. Thanks to her (and the servo), 30 minutes and 4 dollars later I’m squeaky clean again.
The land of boabs.
The roadside scenery.At 2:20, I air the tyres down and leave the sealed road again to go to the Purnululu National Park. The road is a bit shaky and rocky, but it’s incredibly scenic: you want to be jumping out of the car and taking pictures almost at every turn. If that’s just the road, what should I expect from the park itself?
The road to Purnululu.
The surrounding views.
Love the rocky hills.
And the spinifex.
The road is not to bad at all, really.
Even if just a tiiiiiiny bit rocky.I have a paper guide about the region, and it tells me that I should plan at least 2-3 hours for this road; however, even with all the “pic stops” I finish it in an hour and a half. So much for the faith in the printed word! The road does get rough at places, for sure, and has two or three water crossings; but I've seen much, much worse.
At the lookout.
The views are truly beautiful.
Blue grass blades.
Spinifex all around!
The day is almost over.It’s almost 5 when I finally reach the Walardi campground to finish the day. The evening is warm and balmy, and the campground is spacious and not crowded at all. The place has a couple of drop toilets and even a few taps with artesian water; it's by no means a shower, but it's certainly better than nothing at all.
The day is done.
The moon is not!