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TRAVELLERS UPDATE - TOURING AUSTRALIA - NORTHERN TERRITORY
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Newhaven Sanctuary Camping
Newhaven Sanctuary is a few hundred kilometres north-west of Alice Springs and was a cattle station acquired some years ago by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and Birds Australia.
There is a great little camping area located here which is nice and shady, and set amongst the mulga. Composting toilets, a hot shower, water taps, fireplaces and wood delivered to your tent or camper each afternoon by the friendly staff, costs just $10 a person/night. For more info check out: www.australianwildlife.org/sanctuaries/newhaven-sanctuary.aspx.
Colson Track Clarification Update
The whole of the Colson Track is not open to 4WD travellers. Currently at this point of time you can travel up the Colson Track from the French Line as far as Madigan's Camp 5. Or you can access the Madigan Line to Camp 5 from Camp 1a and Camp 2, although it is requested that you do not visit Camp 2. Visiting Camps 3 & 4 is prohibited. When you apply to the Central Lands Council (www.clc.org.au) for a Simpson Desert Track permit for the Madigan Line a map will be supplied showing you where you are allowed to go.
Traditional Owners have also expressed concern with people driving on clay pans. Even in dry weather when they might be shallow or nearly dry, tracks can persist on the clay pans for over 25 years. Not driving on clay pans will probably form part of the amended permit conditions.
Gulf Road (NT/Qld)
It's getting late to travel the Gulf Road west of Burketown but the Tirranna Springs Roadhouse (ph: 07 4748 5658) is again open for business supplying food, fuel and camping, which is great to see.
Meanwhile just a little further west, Hells Gate Roadhouse (07 4745 8258) is offering limited food, fuel and camping to travellers on this track. Hells Gate (which is due to be sold) is generally only open from April to late Sep/early October, so if you are travelling before or after those times then give them a ring to check if they are open.
No Finke Campers
It seems from what we've heard from the ABC Alice Springs that next year, camping will not be allowed along the Finke Desert Race route for the first 20km south of town. That's a shame but too many clowns have stuffed it up by all accounts and the National Road Transport Hall of Fame, who own the land have had enough and are closing it to all. For current information, check out the web site: https://finkedesertrace.com.au.
Glass Ban at popular Northern Terriroty Parks Swimming Spots
Glass has been banned in 15 of the Northern Territory’s most visited waterholes from last July. Signs at each of the designated waterholes will inform visitors of the restricted areas, with Rangers conducting regular patrols to remind people of the new rules. Waterholes include Howard Springs, Litchfield NP, Nitmiluk NP, the waterholes of the West MacDonnell NP and more. Check the NT parks website for more details - http://www.parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au.
Wanna a job during your Travels in the Northern Terriroty - Adelaide River Railway Heritage Precinct
The caretakers at the Adelaide River Railway Heritage Precinct in the NT and situated 100km south of Darwin are looking for volunteers. In return for free camping with power, showers and water you can do some clean-up work, etc around the precinct. You would be welcome to stay a few days or a few weeks, help out a little bit and enjoy Adelaide River.
For more information on the Precinct and all that it offers the visitor, check out: http://www.enjoy-darwin.com/adelaide-river-railway.html.
Caretakers for Old Andado
The remote historic homestead of Old Andado, the home of the late legendary Molly Clark is situated on the edge of the Simpson Desert in the southern NT. The non-profit trust dedicated to preserving the homestead and all it contains is again looking for caretakers for the coming months. You can register your interest whether it's for a week, or 6 months or more, by visiting their website: www.oldandado.com. The program runs from March to October – check out their Facebook page for the latest info: https://www.facebook.com/oldandado, or web: http://www.oldandado.com
Manangoora Station on the Gulf - wilderness camping
Manangoora Station is a pastoral lease of over 1400 sq km located 90km east of Borroloola in the NT. The station has been owned and run by the same family since the 1920s and offers great fishing and a real wilderness camping experience. The campground also has the closest boat ramp access to the Gulf of Carpentaria, Vanderlin Island, the Edward Pellow Islands & Barranyi National Park.
For more details visit: http://www.manangoora.com/. They also have a Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/manangooratourism
Ambalindum Station - accommodation & camping
Ambalindum Station is a working cattle station situated approximately 135km north-east of Alice Springs and is one of the original properties settled in Central Australia in the early 1900's. The station has a range of accommodation available and a shaded, grassy camping area with powered sites, toilets and shower blocks.
For more details visit: http://oldambalindumhomestead.com.au/accommodation. They also have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Old-Ambalindum-Homestead/183096745113189.
Dingo Springs Camp - Newry Fossicking Area
This remote bush camping spot is situated in the recently proclaimed Newry Fossicking Area and is located 1.1km south of the Victoria Highway and about 12km east of the NT/WA border. Please note that there are no facilities on site and you must contact Newry Station, ph: (08) 91678823, before heading out there.
For more info on the camp and the fossicking area visit: http://www.nt.gov.au/d/fossicking/index.cfm?pg=2-9.
Coodarie Station Stays
Treat yourself to a very pleasant up-market station stay when you are heading north along the Stuart Highway next. This working 2000ha brahman stud breeding property is located just south of Mataranka, while the family also lease the nearby 50,000ha Numul Numul station. There's 4WD tours and great bird watching and of course you are close to the delights of Mataranka Springs and the Roper River.
For more details visit: http://www.coodardie.com.au/. They also have a Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coodardie/269739449748552
There's a new, off-the-beaten-track destination in central Australia easily accessed off the Plenty Highway. Tower Rock is included in the 470 odd hectare Mac and Rose Chalmers Conservation Reserve where free camping is available. There's not much shade and no water, but there are a couple of pit toilets. It's a pretty spectacular area with the outcrops of red rocky boulders. While there check out the nearby Mt Swan homestead, 20 km away, which has a mini-store where you can get fuel and basic supplies, and even takeaway food, and an very good art gallery, Ph: (08) 8956 9433. You can also check out the web site at: http://www.utopianaboriginalart.com.au/about_us/tower_rock_1.php
Ross River Resort
The Ross River Resort east of Alice Springs got a bit of a hammering earlier this year, especially the camping area, when a bush fire swept through the place. Don't worry though it's already up and running with restoration work happening to bring the campground back up to scratch and it is business as usual elsewhere on the place. Do yourself a favour and visit when you are next in the Centre.
For more details, ph: (08) 8956 9711 or visit: http://rossriverresort.com.au/.
Alice Springs Desert Park
When you are in Central Australia this year, take time out to visit the Alice Springs Desert Park. You'll be amazed at what secrets our desert country holds and will be enlightened and enthralled by the displays at the park. If you've got kids along they love it, while there's often special programmes to keep the little ones entertained. For more details check out: www.alicespringsdesertpark.com.au.
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This is a much shorter route from Kununurra in the Kimberley across to the Stuart Highway in the NT via Top Springs. It travels via the impressive Jasper Gorge where bush camping is available and passes the great Victoria River Downs HS. Here you can take a helicopter flight over the surrounding country and it’s well worth doing; There is fuel, accommodation and camping available at Top Springs.
New Declarecd Indigenous Protected Areas in NT
Two new IPAs (Indigenous Protected Areas) covering over 20,000sq km have been proclaimed in Arnhem Land. Adjoining Kakadu National Park and stretching to the sea around the north coast community of Manigrida these areas are rich in cultural sites and natural attractions.
To learn more about the IPAs in the Northern Territory, check out the website at: http://www.environment.gov.au/indigenous/ipa/declared/nt.html
Down on the Daly
Banyan Farm is a spacious, grassy and shady camping park on the banks of the Daly River and is ideal for those wanting to fish the river for the elusive barra or other fish species.
For more info, ph: (08) 8978 2461; www.banyanfarm.com.au.
Never Never Track
Jol Flemming runs Direct 4WCD and also leads a number of remote tag-along trips out into remote, rarely visited country in and around the northern edge of the Simpson Desert, much of it through previously inaccessible Aboriginal Land.
To see all of the trips available for 2011 check out his website at: www.direct4wd.com.au/tours/tours.htm
Linking up routes such as the tracks from Mt Dare in SA through Old Andado to Alice Springs, the Binns Track is the latest four-wheel drive experience for NT visitors looking for a route off the blacktop. Taking seven days or so the adventure finishes in Timber Creek.
For more details contact Central Australian Tourism, ph: (08) 8952 5800, web www.discovercentralaustralia.com
If you are travelling the Binns Track then check out the Dunmarra Wayside Inn on the Stuart Highway, about 8km south of the intersection of Buchanan and Stuart highways. This top roadhouse has cheap and clean motel-style units and campsites, an excellent bistro and bar and fuel supplies. For more information call 08 8975 9922.
Red Gum Store, Plenty Highway - Outback Grocery Shop on the Plenty
The Mt Swan store, 40km north of the Plenty Highway, is not always open to supply basic food stuff or fuel, bu the nearby Red Gum Store - just 2km away - is open 7 days! from 9am to 4pm - only closed on 25 and 26 December and on 1st Januarys. And it is well stocked with groceries, and with diesel and ULP for sale, and if you have a flat tyre they just may have a tube or even a tyre that fits your car. At least you may fill it using their air compressor. Just follow the signs from the gate at Mt Swan. For more details, phone 08 8956 9940.
NO Fuel at Rabbit Flat - CLOSED
Rabbit Flat Roadhouse, half way along the Tanami Road between Halls Creek and Alice Springs, has closed its doors to passing travellers. There is no longer fuel available.
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