MATARANKA

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Roper River Undergrowth

12 miles down the Roper River from Mataranka is the Elsey  National Park campground (called 12 mile yards) It’s much cleaner and quieter than the Mataranka Homestead campground. There are some excellent walks and interesting tracks to cycle along.

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Creek Crossing No.2

We discovered an old National Parks service road and decided to see where it led. Two hours and 4 creek crossings later, we emerged at Mataranka Falls.

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Mataranka Falls

Beautiful clear water, huge stands of Livingstonia Palms and a couple of freshwater crocodiles. The kind of place you don’t want to leave, especially when we had two hours of peddling to get home.

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Pandanas and Livistonia Palms

Livistonia  and Pandanas palms turn the Roper River and surrounding wetlands into a magnificent oasis. Most of the surrounding area is a dry savannah landscape.

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Paperbark Swamp Wetlands

Dry Savanna Country

Dry Savannah Country at Breakneck Speed

Once away from the river the country becomes hot and dry. Open eucalypt country with dry grass and lots of anthills – completely different to the area fringing the river.

Barb Wire Penetrating Anthill

Barb Wire Penetrating Anthill

How did they do that? Poke a fence right through an anthill.

Clear Water

Clear Water

The creeks feeding into Roper River are spring fed and have a high calcium content. This makes the water incredibly clear. It also causes calcium deposits to build up in certain areas.

We came across this little creek that had built up a hard limestone gutter over the years, making it look almost man-made.

Limestone lined Creek

Limestone lined Creek

Before we left Mataranka we decided to stay a night at the Homestead and have dinner in their restaurant. We found a reasonably isolated spot and set up camp. I went for a walk up along the river. When I came back a guy with four weird tiny little horses had camped nearby. I went and said g’day to him and he told me he was with the Moscow Circus and 40 trucks and trailers were following him! Within an hour the place was overun.

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I expected lions, tigers and elephants, but all the Moscow Circus has are four freaky little horses – I think they are to frighten children.

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The Circus was incredibly well organised They had all moved off  in small groups by 9:00 next morning – bound for Alice Springs.

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