We’re camped at Bitter Springs in Mataranka – history repeats, yes, we’ve been here before. That tells you how good it is, a repeat trip, and this time we’ve booked in for a week.
The campground is only a short walk from the natural springs, which are pleasantly warm at around 34 degrees. We’ve been starting each day with a walk to the springs, where we do two gentle lengths before walking back for breakfast. A length consists of slotting our thongs (flip flops) over the ends of a noodle (floatation device). Then into the water and let the current gently take us down stream to a bridge, climb out, and walk back to the start to do it all it again. The returning foot track is a bit stony underfoot, hence the thongs.
There’s other springs here at Mataranka, but none have been left as natural as Bitter Springs. It’s a very popular place, so camping nearby allows us to take advantage of the early morning and/or late afternoon quiet times before and after the tourists all arrive and leave.
We could swim back to the start rather than walk, but swimming against the current, and worse, the crowds is too much like hard work, so we prefer to just drift. It’s forced relaxation.
The flora is gorgeous, and there’s no shortage of fauna to watch going about their daily business of doing what birds, spiders, turtles etc do. The Fly Catcher birds are a joy to watch as they flit down snatching small flies from the water’s surface. With luck there’s sometimes turtles to be seen resting on the nearby banks as we drift down beneath many colourful spiders centred in their webs waiting for their next meal to get entangled.
We had a quick catch up with Kelv in Katherine the other night. He’s looking well and seems to be settling into his new job as 2IC at Mambuloo Mango Farm. The job comes with a brand new house – currently being built and nearing completion. He seems nonchalant about having a house after so many years in his caravan, but I suspect he’s quite exciting and looking forward to it.
We’re still waiting for news that will dictate where to from here and could see us doing an about turn and heading back to Queensland and up to the Gulf of Carpentaria. If that happens, I gather we’ll be there until the wet is due to start around November/December, at which time we’ll be heading back this way again on our way to WA. Hopefully we’ll get to have another catch up with Kelv again at that time, and get to see his new house.
Waiting for news is never much fun, but I couldn’t think of a better place to be waiting than at Bitter Springs. Despite the awful name, there’s nothing bitter about either the springs, or the experience of being here.
What a pleasure!