Docker River N.T. - Great Central Road

Thursday, Aug 03, 2006 at 00:00


Thursday 3rd August,
Docker River N.T.

Up nice and early and strangely enough, another roaring fire. We both sat round the BBQ plate and had toasted bacon, tomato and cheese sandwiches for breakfast. Packed up and on the road by 8 bells. The last 40 kilometres or so of the Heather was much as it had been the day before, corrugated and nasty. We stopped several times to pull obstructing tress from the track. The Letter stages of the Heather were a revelation. Fifty metres wide and smooth as bitumen. We love roads that service Aboriginal communities. A stop to pump up the tires was taken and then onwards to the east and the Great Central Road (GCR).

Once the Great Central was reached, we turned left and on a slightly more used and corrugated road, headed to Warburton and fuel. Thankfully too I might add as I was running on vapour when we got there. Because of the tank, we decided to only put in 70 litres, our plan being to keep it low and use what was on the roof as we pushed further east. After Warburton we made excellent time as the road conditions had improved measurably. We came across one grader and a construction crew putting on road base creating what was a magnificent unsealed surface. Managed top locate a very fat and corpulent thorny devil lumbering across the vast stretch of sandy roadway. Again he was photographed mercilessly. Johnno put him on a piece of white paper for contrast and he didn’t like that at all and tried to move of at what would be considered a trot at thorny devil rates. It was more of a disjoined chameleon like gait. We deposited him safely on the opposite side of the road, under the spinifex, and headed on.

Our journey was lightened as we amused ourselves trying to identify the numerous car wrecks left by the side of the road. A veritable museum of 60’s and 70’s vehicles. The old Holden and Ford model designations were trolled up from the memory banks on many occasions. We passed through Giles and the Warakuna Roadhouse and made the border an hour or so later. The roads deteriorated immediately. Eight kilometres on we reached the campground 2 km west of the Docker River Township. It was nestled beneath a grove of Desert Oak and had a cold shower and toilet facilities. Good enough for us. Dinner was chicken pasta and a glass of port for desert. Several truck thundered their way past us during the night as they ponderously negotiated the corrugations.
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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