Just west of Katherine we visited Springvale Homestead, the oldest original homestead in the Territory. Alfred Giles, a former Overland Telegraph linesman, built it in 1879. He drove 2,000 cattle and horses, and 12,000 head of sheep here from Adelaide taking 19 months.
Just off the Stuart Highway, heading south is the Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park. Cutta Cutta is a Jawoyn name meaning man stars; they believed this was where the stars were kept during the day. The cave is a series of limestone caverns dating back 500 million years featuring sparkling columns, pillars and flowstones of calcite crystal. A local stockman found the main cave in about 1900 and named it Smith’s Cave, then during World War II servicemen visiting the area called it 16 Mile Cave. I much prefer the current name.
Elsey National Park is the site of thermal springs. The spring water rises from under the ground at a rate of 30.5 million litres per day at a temperature of 34°. The pools are surrounded by paperbark and Livistona palm forests. Today we went to visit Bitter Springs, in this one you hop in and then float down a narrow stream to a bridge where you hop out and walk along a boardwalk back to the top and do it again. Even though the water is very clear it was a bit murky as the sand on the bottom had been stirred up by al the people.
What was better was going upstream from the entry point, much less people and much clearer water. We swam further up than the cleared pool going under the weed for a bit for spectacular clear water. Tom and his big lungs could go the furthest.
Again no music but more of The Secret Seven. The kids love the taking books, and so are we it keeps them silent.
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