The Dixie Chicks vie with Sara Storer on the radio as we speed along the highway. We laugh at the termite mounds along the road side that have been dressed with t shirts and baseball caps. Surreal sculptural shapes are used to comic effect. Others are left untouched. The high rise cities of the termites spread into the green belt around the road. Huge skyscrapers in the centre of the cities shrink to modest mounds in the termite suburbs.
The vegetation along the roadside is changing as we near the Tropic of Capricorn. Red holly grevilleas flourish alongside acacias and ghost gums. We pass through Tennants Creek. Telstra reception is back. Emails are sent, mobile phone calls made.
Our roadside lunch stop hides beautiful pink, yellow and blue wildflowers and a wild calistemon. Another secret botanist’s delight.
We stop briefly at Newcastle Waters. Driving through the milky waters of the wetlands to admire the statue remembering the unsung heroes, the drovers, the pioneers of the cattle industry. We recall Banjo Patterson’s verse: “As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing, for the Drovers life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know”.
We hurtle on down the highway. Trees grow taller as wetlands branch out around us. Huge road trains carrying four trailers thunder by. We are nearing the top end, the north coast of Australia.
Tonight is party night at the caravan park at Daly Waters. Huge meals of locally caught Barramundi or Northern Territory steak are served here. Orders are for a fixed time, and names are called out from the kitchen when the meals are ready. We wait in great anticipation and feel like winners when we hear Brett and Christine, Richard and Deborah, Olive and Malcolm, Max and Heather and finally Beryl and Howard shouted out to the packed restaurant.
Live music is provided by a one man band playing a guitar and singing rock and roll tunes against a backing tape. No one could be more surprised than the singer when we get up to dance after the meal. Max and Heather show off their dancing prowess in jive style. Christine is a winner in Nutbush City Limits and The Timewarp. We are joined by a table celebrating a birthday and demand an encore. The surprised singer plays on for an extra half an hour as we all strut our stuff.
Party time at Daly Waters, we know how to enjoy ourselves!