I've been looking at my collection of 35mm slides, which are generally 20 to 40 years old and haven't been viewed by anyone including me for at least twenty years, instead languishing in cupboards in various abodes. Anyway, I've now completed converting them into digital images.
Naturally, there's a lot of nostalgia involved in the exercise and I'm prompted to concoct the following photo essay for no other reason than to relive the experience of a great road trip.
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In June 1983, we set off from Areyonga to drive to Broome in the Landcruiser. The "direct" route took us around the north-west of Tnorala (Gosse's Bluff), through Tyler's Pass and via Papunya to the Tanami Road near Yuendumu. We left Areyonga immediately after school on the last day of term and reached the Tanami Road after sunset.
Around 10 o'clock we reached Rabbit Flat and because the place was dark, crept down to the camping area and set up camp. Bruce Farrands duly arrived with his shot gun demanding to know what the hell we were doing on his property. After a fright, and smoothing ruffled feathers (we'd been there before and could explain what we were doing), we had a good night's sleep.
Next day, we pushed on across the WA border to Balgo.
From Balgo we drove north to Bililuna, past the Wolf Creek NP, and hit the bitumen west of Hall's Creek. We turned west and spent that night at Fitzroy Crossing.
On Sunday afternoon, we were in the main street of Broome.
We camped at the Roebuck Bay caravan park for a bit more than a week and it was great to be by the sea.
The kids had great fun in the water and sand. The huge tide variation was a source of wonder.
Daniel and Andrew on the edge of the bay.
We decided to drive back to the NT via the Gibb River road, which runs north of the main road from Broome, roughly connecting Derby and Wyndham. After checking out Derby we backtracked to spend the night at Windjana Gorge and sit around a camp fire.
This campsite was near the lagoon at Manning Gorge, which I think was on Mt Barnett station.
At the turnoff to travel east along the Gibb River road. We only saw one or two vehicles between here and Wyndham, one of which had a lawnmower on the roof rack!
Some typical road conditions. At the next stop after this one, the tyre came off the roof and bounced onto the bonnet but no harm done.
We were lucky enough to see a pair of courting brolgas strutting their stuff in the middle of the road before we got too close.
This spot was towards the end of the Gibb River road before turning north to Wyndham.
This is the main street of Wyndham on a busy day, our car being the only one!
We spent a few nights in Kununurra on the banks of the Ord River. Here the kids are checking out the northern causeway across the river. We took a boat tour on Lake Argyle which is huge.
Finally, we crossed back into the NT and spent a couple of nights in Katherine at the Springvale Homestead.
However, there's a postscript. Instead of driving down the highway and then straight back to Areyonga, we met Helmy and Gavin in Alice Springs and drove them down to Uluru to sit around a camp fire!
What a great holiday! We travelled more than 5,000km. It's not possible to be accurate because I don't remember if we drove from Uluru to King's Canyon and on the Mereenie Loop back to Areyonga, or if we went back through Alice!