Friday, 22 July 2011

Day 9: Mataranka to Darwin

It was dark in the partial light before dawn. Tall palms and Eucalypts surrounded the crystal clear waters, forming a pool surrounded on one side by swamp on the other hard ground. The waters of the pool were warm and a slight mist arose from the surface of the water and drifted slowly in the still air, still cool from the night. All around was quiet with the silence broken only by the sounds of birds and the gentle splash of flowing water. An occasional splash could be heard as a kingfisher or similar struck at it's prey beneath the surface. A slight hint of sulphur was in the air from the decaying vegetation. The whole area had a primeval feel to it. Parts of the world would have looked like this 200 Million years ago in the age of the Dinosaurs. It was not hard to imagine one coming to the waterhole to drink.
The pool is fed from an underground reservoir. A fault allows some of the water to escape on it's thousands of years journey to the sea. It is warmed to about 38 Degrees C and is very pure. There is a small current flow, to maintain position one needs to swim against the current or find an anchor point. I lay in the clear waters, a foot on a rock, my body warm and head cool from the cold air. Even in the half light I could see clearly to the bottom. An Egret flew overhead and landed on the bank a short distance from me. Pure white it patrolled the banks looking for small insects, frogs or fish. Unaware of my presence it showed no fear. Later in the day the pools will be full of people and the wildlife know to stay away until quietness settles again. An Ibis landed and after a brief territorial display the smaller Egret flew off. The Ibis presented an awesome up close display. Pity that I had no camera with me.
Eventually other people arrived and the peace and quiet of the pools was destroyed.
This is how I spent my morning, rather than driving to Darwin I was persuaded by Heather to delay and experience the hot pools. The description above is the Bitter Springs, which are a short drive from Mataranka. We then moved to the pools at the Mataranka Resort. These are smaller and have been formed with cement to provide a nicer bath type environment for people. We also took the opportunity to enjoy a coffee and breakfast at the resort.
Eventually however I had to get into the car and depart. Darwin was 4 hours away and I arrived shortly after 3pm. I have a need to find accommodation both for the night and the long term.
My road trip had ended, as did one series of adventures. A new series of adventures begins.
The Bludger has arrived at his new home.

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