From Devils Marbles to Mataranka

As our road trip continues from the heart of Australia to further north the days are getting longer and the nights warmer.

From the magic of Uluru we continued into Alice Springs for two days of catching up; washing the car and van, restocking, writing articles, vehicle maintenance, washing and routine stuff that’s part of life on the road. There were no complaints as thousands of kilometres away came the news that Victoria had been placed in another lockdown, it’s fifth one. But the tide is turning.

Out on the road, freedom rules. Our short stay at the Alice Springs Tourist Park was comfortable and highlights included walks to Emily Gap, sunset on top of Anzac Hill and a fun night at Alice Springs Brewery Co, complete with delicious pizzas and chicken wings and a strum on the ole gee-tar. Thanks to fellow blogger Glenys for the recommendation.

The Devils Marbles

Located just off the Stuart Highway the Karlu Karlu/ Devils Marbles has room for 24 vans at the campsite and the Gods must have been smiling on us as we pulled in to secure the last caravan spot. It’s basic, there’s no power or water, but has two drop loos and a minimal camping fee. It’s an amazing backdrop and the boulders are like gigantic marbles perched on top of each other.

This spectacular area is not simply a geological wonderland but an important meeting place and rich in dreaming sites for local Aboriginal people. Walking through the pathways and around the rocks felt peaceful, sacred and awe inspiring.

Of course when hubby and I are travelling the awe is always tinged with fun, silliness and imagination as you can see from some of the photos we took.

Spending the night here and watching both the sunset and sunrise at the rocks is a peaceful and breathtakingly beautiful experience.

From the Marbles to Daly Waters

Most people who visit the Top End drop in to Daly Waters, one of the quirkiest pubs on the highway and a fun place to spend the night. We organised our campsite near the pub and booked our beef and Barra dinner reservation, which the pub is renowned for.

There are thongs and boots hanging from rafters, hats, undies and bras of all sizes strung over the bar. Apparently it’s all about leaving your mark. Well, I did say it’s quirky! Across the road is a whacky whimsical museum, all thanks to owner Tim who also brings his horse through the pub every afternoon. A lively band plays, we have a great feed, dance, make new friends and enjoy a night of laughs.

Daly Waters is a place to kick back, relax and forget the hustle of city life. There’s no pretence and it’s not five stars but you can see five million from the alfresco area. It’s as Australian as they come and a fabulously fun night.

Bitter Springs at Mataranka – Seven days in Heaven

Our week in the magical oasis of Bitter Springs near Mataranka has been blissfully relaxing. Here luxurious thermal springs fed with crystal clear 34C water rises from underground at a rate of 30.5 million litres a day. Stepping into it for the first time felt like plunging into a warm bath.

Outside worries of the world fade and I’m enveloped by a heart swell of gratitude. We begin one day with a swim at sunrise, it’s a gentle float down the springs with misty silence over pure warm waters and a sense that in nature all is right in the world.

Glistening sunlight dapples the water and tropical fronds, lilies and ferns shade the creek as we float by on our pool noodle, only birdsong breaking the silence. It’s truly Heaven on Earth.

Amongst the natural beauty of this pristine environment it’s easy to lose track of time. No wonder this is called the Land of the Never Never.

“If you never never go you’ll never never know. “

Making it even more special was sharing five days here with our good friends Greg and Angie who are also on the road and travelling through the area. They ended up camped right next to us. We couldn’t have planned it better if we’d tried. Some things are just meant to be.

Unbeknownst to me in taking these photos my supposedly waterproof iPhone was water damaged. The screen began to deteriorate and I was a stress head until we located a phone repair store at Ufarkifix in Katherine. A big thanks to the multi skilled Jack at Ufarkifix, who’s not just a phone technician, but a snake catcher, pool specialist and all round nice guy with lots of local advice on the area.

Back at Mataranka there’s nightly entertainment at the nearby resort. Toe tapping music by The Repeat Offenders gets the crowd going and whip cracking larrikin Nathan “Whippy” Briggs shows why he’s one of the best whip crackers in Australia. Just roll up, grab a seat and prepare to be thoroughly entertained.

The Top End is full of surprises. Every day there’s something new and each day I’m grateful for our journey, the places we’re seeing and the wonderful people we’re meeting.

Wherever you are in the world may you feel an inner sense of freedom, peace and joy. Here’s to going with the flow of life, making the most of everything along the way and rising to meet any challenges. When we connect and immerse ourselves in nature, it rarely disappoints.

Sending lots of love and I’ll see you on the next leg of my journey, somewhere up in the balmy Top End of Australia.


Keep smiling and the world will smile with you.


55 thoughts on “From Devils Marbles to Mataranka

  1. You’ve really made me excited about my trip up the centre next year! It will be 6 years since I have been there and your words brought it alive all over again. (Also glad you enjoyed Alice Springs Brewing Company as my nephew owns it )😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, what a small world! We loved the Alice Springs Brewing co, the food was great and it had such a wonderful atmosphere. I bet you can’t wait to get back up there and enjoy it all again. The Red Centre is amazing. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Miriam, Australia has places that seem a paradise. I saw this photos on IG, the rocks are incredible powerful. I admire rocks the same way I admire flowers, each one has a story to tell. Thanks for sharing all these beauty with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Doug learnt to swim at Mataranka as a little boy. It’s become more resort style no doubt but Bitter Springs where we stayed was very natural and absolute heaven. 💚🌴

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Sounds as if you are having a wonderful trip! The photo of the spring made me wish I was there…. And how fun that you camped right next to your friends without even knowing it! Thanks for sharing this post, it makes me happy to think of you having that much fun.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Ann, yes we had a wonderful time at Bitter Springs and have been off the grid enjoying more camping adventures since then. Thanks for your lovely comment. I hope you’re well. x

      Liked by 1 person

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