The Roper Highway to Darwin

Destination Darwin- Fathers Day from Hell
Sunday, September 1st, Fathers Day

Good Morning Northern territory after what seems like months in Queensland we were finally on the other side! We headed out from Wollogorang Station and arrived at Borroloola to refuel and stock up on some fresh food and veggies. Like so many of the Gulfs small centres, Borroloola. turned out to be another loose collection of ramshackle houses interspersed with a pub, (looking more like a warehouse yard) and a general store, looking for all the world like a run down shed, with a couple of fuel bowsers tossed about the place.

We asked about road conditions ahead, as we had planned to push on up the Roper highway to “Limmen Bight Fishing Camp”

“Four to five hours should get yer there mate……pretty rough going though eh”

We looked at our watches……..6pm arrival. PLENTY of time to set up camp and settle in.

Clutching more magnets to add to the rapidly growing collection, it seemed that the Limmen Bight River was going to be our next stop (and by all accounts a good one)

The Roper Highway, once described to us as “two wheel ruts, both heavily corrugated”, turned out to be very pleasant going, if a little stony.

Unfortunately, neither of us were in the best mood. I guess that we had set ourselves unrealistic expectations of the whole Gulf Area. Visiting this late in the dry season proved to be bad timing on our part and it has confirmed in our minds that we will return to the area closer to the end of the wet when the rivers are still running and we are not so pressed for time.

For all the world, Limmen Bight Fishing Camp seemed like a string of rubbish dumps, loosely scattered along a rather impressive waterway. What a disappointment!! We had half set up camp when we looked at each other and without saying a single word…started to pack up again…….
A phone call to the Roper Store secured us with a room. Estimated arrival time: around 8pm. After another 2 hours in the car, we arrived at the Roper River. The Roper Store hotel turned out to be a couple of modified transportable buildings inhabited by tattooed and singlet wearing men, whose apparent mission in life were to drink as much beer as physically possible (without completely shutting down their kidneys), whilst killing as many fish as they could between drinks…..We lay down our weary heads amongst the geckos, cockroaches and naff posters of bucking horses on the walls and drifted off to sleep…….Happy Fathers Day….what a beauty!

In the morning we zipped across the Roper River to Roper Bar. The bar is the main southern entrance to Arnhem Land. After musing on the amount of rubbish on the white man’s side you could better understand why the Aborigines made it so difficult for white people to enter Arnhem Land…..we headed off to Darwin.

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