Day 52 – Mataranka Hot Springs – Daly Waters to Katherine

Every day it’s been getting hotter and hotter, and last night was too hot for my blanket. Amazing how quickly it can change (though, we’ve done some 1500km from the frigid Uluru).

20130704_RCH_8300 20130704_RCH_8301 20130704_RCH_8303 20130704_RCH_8304 20130704_RCH_8305I stole power from a powered site after a neighbour left early in the morning. It was much needed as our inverter has died (it has been sent back for repair/replacement) so I have no way of charging my laptop (the 12v charger also died…) or my camera batteries, and both were critically low in charge. We wanted to get a powered site, but the Grey Nomads were arriving for the coming night before we’d even left! But, $7/person for unpowered camping wasn’t bad at all.

20130704_RCH_8312 20130704_RCH_831320130704_RCH_8306First stop of the day turned out to be at another ‘novelty’ historic pub, this time the Larrimah Pink Panther Hotel – the free zoo drew us (and many others) in. There was a rather impressive selection of birds (from tiny finches to the giant emu) – Risa was loving it. There were also lizards, fresh and salt water crocodiles and kangaroos.

20130704_RCH_8315 20130704_RCH_8317Probably the most interesting thing that we’ve been seeing while driving are the ant hills that have been decorated. This one was especially awesome (most just have a t-shirt). Two party hats, a blonde wig AND a pirate costume!

20130704_RCH_8325 DCIM101GOPROA little further north were the Mataranka Hot Springs (not thermal springs, today I learned there is a distinction between the two). The bathing area was within a caravan/tourist park, but fortunately there wasn’t an entrance fee. The springs were still natural, and heated to about 34˚C, which on a day like today (hot) was pleasant, especially amongst the shady trees that line it. The bathing area had been covered in concrete/tiles, and stairs have been installed, detracting from the beauty somewhat, but understandable considering the considerable tourist presence (busier than Wet ‘n Wild during school holidays). The waters were beautifully clear, too. Very enjoyable swim, even with the brats swimming/splashing/jumping/running/screaming/etc.

20130704_RCH_8327Further on the walking trail loop, we came to the origin of the springs, Rainbow Springs. Beautiful clear water, with a nice (slightly iridescent) blue hue. No swimming though…

20130704_RCH_8319 20130704_RCH_8321There was also a recreation of a historic house, made famous by a biographic called ‘We of the Never Never’. This was the house that was built for the movie of the same name. Might have to read that book now (or just cheat and watch the movie…)

20130704_RCH_8331 20130704_RCH_8333Just north of Mataranka is Bitter Springs (creative Aussie naming in full effect here – the spring waters are bitter). We were clean/dry, and the springs were crowded with Grey Nomads on pool noodles, so we didn’t bother entering. The waters were also cooler (32-33˚ – so it’s negligible). If it’d been closer to 40˚ I think we’d have braved the crowds and bumped elbows with the other park guests.

20130704_RCH_8336 20130704_RCH_8339I’d considered making a push for Katherine Gorge tonight, but instead stopped 45km south of Katherine in another rest area. I don’t know if it’s the timing, or the route, but they are becoming incredibly crowded now. This small parking area has upwards of 30 caravans/campervans/cars. Weird parking in the middle of nowhere, but being surrounded by people (mostly Nomads).

52日目 7月 4日(水) 温泉??

昨日長距離を一気に移動したおかげで、今日はのんびり日。

ゆっくり贅沢に朝シャワーをあびて、10時頃出発。 目指すは、150km先のMataranka Spring    ここには、温泉?があるらしい!

途中でまた古いパブがあり、無料動物園!のサインがあったので、立ち寄ってみました。
大正解! 私の大好きな鳥が大きなケージに沢山飼育されていました。 かなり珍しい種もいて、こんな僻地にしかもタダでみんなに提供してくれるなんてすごいな。 それにしても、オーストラリアの鳥は、ほんとにカラフルで見てて飽きない〜。 もともと鳥好きだったけど、この旅を始めて、もっと好きになりました。 また鳥飼いたいな。。。

昨晩の満杯のキャラバンパークから、北に向かう人は全員立ち寄るであろう、、そして今はちょうど子供達の冬休みなので、家族ずれいっぱいだろうという予想通り、ここマタランカ スプリングもいっぱいでした。

水温は、34°なので、温泉というよりは、サンパレスやガトキン(北海道の人にしか分からないと思うけど笑)みたいな温かめの温水プールという感じ.  底は砂(自然のまま)で、泉のふちは、浸食を防ぐためコンクリートになっています。  ニオイは、ちょっと温泉のようなにおいがしますが、水は非常に透明度が高く、とってもきれいです。 そしてやわらかな肌触り☆

驚きなのが、この水は、普通の温泉とは全く異なり、地下水が活火山に暖められたものではなく、太陽により外気、フィルターとなっている石灰石が暖められ、地下水が温かい状態で湧き出ているのです。 この源泉は、Rainbow Springといって小さな池になっており、けっこうな勢いで地下から温水が湧き出ていました。

まわりは、乾燥地帯なのに、この小さな一帯だけは、いくつかこのような泉があり、熱帯雨林の植物が生息しています。まさに砂漠のオアシス!  自然は、本当に素晴しいですね。

もしこんなに人が(とくにはしゃぎ過ぎでおかしくなっている子供達笑)多くなかったら、長居したかったけど、今晩は、予定変更でキャサリンにできるだけ近けるよう先を目指しました。

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2 responses

  1. OMG fighting off a massive attack of jealousy!! Beautiful amazing stuff. Good on you guys – enjoy

    July 5, 2013 at 11:22

    • PEKOiSM

      Cheers, GCP. Now you know how I feel when you post all your awesome winter photos! (complete with the snow reports… and I’m sweating in Brisbane)

      July 5, 2013 at 20:44

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