Limmen NP was a lovely surprise for us on the way up to Katherine. We hadn’t heard much about it before we left but it turned out to be a great spot we’d love to come back to when we’ve got a few less car problems!
From Boodjamulla we had to backtrack about 80km to go to Bourketown to pick up a couple of parcels from the post office, including our replacement tent poles. It was a bit of a pain but at least we’re finally back sleeping in our proper tent after about 4 weeks.
However, along the gravel road, just 45 minutes or so after leaving Adel’s Grove our rear windscreen suddenly shattered with a rather loud crunch. Presumably a rock was thrown out by our wheels and bounced off the trailer. We did our best to clean up the glass and seal the hole with some garbage bags but it was a bit of excitement we could have done without.
We had a better go sealing up the hole that night after the kids were asleep and, I have to say, we did pretty well. Our repair lasted 1200kms of mostly dirt roads to Katherine and there weren’t too many complaints of dust in the car.
We ended up staying the night in Bourketown and managed to make bookings in Katherine to fix both the windscreen and an intermittent starting issue we’ve been having which was getting worse (ended up being both our starter motor and alternator). Then we headed off, continuing along the Savannah Way. We stopped for lunch at the Hell’s Gate Roadhouse which had a surprisingly nice café that felt more like something we’d find at home in Preston than in the outback.
A number of other travelers had told us the road past Hell’s Gate was terrible but it turned out to be fine. There were a few small corrugations and a couple of patches of bulldust along with a few shallow river crossings but it was much better than the main road up Cape York for example. I guess everyone just has different experiences and expectations – especially if you’re towing a massive caravan as so many people up here are.
Anyway, after a night camped basically on the side of the road (and a very nervous ten minutes or so trying to coax Liam to start in the morning) we made it to the Southern Lost City campsite in Limmen NP. It was a nice change to be in the NT and able to just drive into a campsite and pay our fees in an honesty box rather than having to book online when we have no reception like Queensland.
This place is amazing. The ‘lost city’ is a collection of sandstone formations that are basically tall, thin towers so, with a bit of imagination, they look like city buildings. They formed a lovely backdrop to the campsite as the sun set and the following day we went for the short (about 1.5km walk) through the ‘city’. It was a great walk and it also goes up onto a ridge to a lookout to the west over the rest of the national park and towards another lost city called the Western Lost City.
We made friends with another family doing the Big Lap in the opposite direction and did the walk together with them. Then our kids had a nice afternoon playing together and even doing a little bit of homework. Later the adults swapped notes about the best campsites we have found so we’ve now got a list of the best campsites between here and Broome.
We had originally hoped to visit the Western Lost City as well, but decided not to risk it with Liam’s problems getting worse and making us more nervous. The Western Lost City sounds a little more remote and is accessed via a 28km 4WD track that is locked so you have to get a code to unlock the gate from the ranger station.
Further along the road we found one of the most random mail boxes we have come across. I found a couple of postcards addressed to Germany inside so at least someone is optimistic enough to believe the mail will get somewhere. We quickly wrote a short letter to our nephew Zach and popped it in – we’re yet to hear whether it has arrived or whether it is still inside a red bull in the middle of nowhere.
The day also turned in to a day of helping out others on the road. In one day we:
- Came across ‘Harry the Breaker’, a member of the road crew, who had blown out two tyres on his truck. He looked a little stressed so we told his boss a few kilometres down the road what had happened – after rolling his eyes and chatting to us for quite a while about his life in the Territory since moving from Mildura in the 60s he said he’d send someone down to help Harry.
- Came across a lady who just rolled her car. Actually we didn’t do anything to help her because her friends had stopped and had everything under control, but we offered.
- Gave some water and the last of the petrol for our chainsaw to a family who had run out of petrol on the side of the road.
We stopped at the impressive Towns River for lunch – which would also be a nice campsite – and then continued on to Roper Bar just outside the national park. Lindy had read some interesting history of the area to us from a pamphlet a random traveler heading the other direction gave us and the kids enjoyed playing around in the ruins of the old police station, and locking each other in the cell which was still intact.