Travelling Australia - Journal 2006
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29 August 2006 - Katherine to Daly Waters Pub

Location map An overnight minimum temperature of 15 degrees was a welcome relief from Darwin's high temperature and high humidity. At Katherine we had a cool breeze for much of the night as well as a lower temperature.

The Katherine caravan park was not busy in the morning; it seemed to be less than half full as we drove out to return to the Stuart Highway heading south. Our destination for today was Daly Waters Pub which serves a beef and/or barramundi evening meal. When we arrived at lunch time I went into the pub to check in for one night in the caravan park and to book our meals at the 6:30 sitting that evening. The caravan park beside the pub was nearly empty and the caretaker put us against the fence beside the spot we had used when we visited here in 2005.

North of Katherine there had been fairly closely spaced tall trees (10 to 15 metres high) with single trunks and hardly any undergrowth but substantial grass cover on the ground. South of Katherine we increasingly passed through more open vegetation with lower trees, many with multiple trunks from the ground and often with large patches of scrubby undergrowth. Lower annual rainfall as we go south has much to do with vegetation changes.

Our entry into the drier region was underlined by bird species at Daly Waters. The main species was the apostle bird; a flock seems to be on permanent patrol foraging around the caravan park in groups of about twelve (hence the name?), twittering and scolding around and between the vans. The apostle bird is characteristic of drier regions but is never found far from permanent water.

Apostle bird showing the effectiveness of its grey colouring as camouflage in broken shadow.
After a quiet afternoon around the van we walked to the pub for the evening meal. The menu contains a single item - beef and barramundi; but there is the option of having either beef or barramundi. Mary had beef, I had barramundi. Both were delightful as expected; Daly Waters Pub is well-known in the caravanning community for the quality of the meal, and for the very basic (but adequate) caravan park. The Pub is also known (largely thanks to Bill Bryson) for the eccentric decorations in the public bar; visitors have left number plates, identity cards, currency notes, business cards and anything else they felt like attaching to the walls and ceiling.

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