Saturday, 14 May 2011

May 9 Daly Waters to Katherine

We awoke to the hundreds of rosella parrots screeching in the trees.  After breakfast we wandered around the camping ground which had grown considerably in the 25 years since I had been there whilst traveling with Nanny Milly.

We were given a lift back to the airfield by one of the employees and dragged the Stinson out of the hangar to find hundreds of mouse “dirts” all over the horizontal surfaces.  I brushed off as much as I could reach but hoped the remainder would be swept away by the wind once flying.

We chatted to a lovely couple Doug and Anna, who were traveling around.  We would be arriving at Katherine whilst they had a 3 hour drive ahead.

We blasted off – avoiding the long weedy growth – turned back to wave goodbye to the Daly Waters folk and then headed for Katherine – about 100 nm.

Our track was to follow the Stuart Highway northward.  It was nice to watch us passing the road trains and caravans.  At least we were never stuck in traffic.  We noticed another light aircraft ahead which then turned and landed at Newcastle Waters station.  We had spoken to him the previous evening about fuel availability but his property was still surrounded by water and they did not have any spare.  The homestead and grounds certainly looked beautiful and were completely surrounded by water.
Continuing on through more smoke haze I got dozier and dozier as there was nothing to see except trees and lakes for kms and kms.  I tried flying for a white but it didn’t help – it was very boring with nothing on the horizon to aim for.  Kev woke me a while later to view the large lake we were passing – very impressive for out here.

About 30 nm out we contacted Tindal Delivery who passed us to T Appoach  then onto T Tower who finally gave us permission to land.  Tindal Ground then took over and  thought we would be taxiing to the GA side of the airport but we were expected on the RAAF side.  A grounds man with paddles directed us to a parking terminus in front of their ops building.  Greeted by Gary Smith, C Sharp as well as a photographer and they were there all prepared to act on Wing Commander Phil Alms directives. 

Unbeknown to us, his orders were to bring a Hornet aircraft up to photograph it with ours.  The connection with Tindal is that Kevin’s Dad John (Blu) is an original member of 75 squadron and Tindal is their base therefore we were invited there.  We felt very privileged and the sight of a 1935 Stinson alongside the 1985 (approx) Hornet was truly opposite in types.

Many of the RAAF guys came out for a look and one even wanted to swap ours for theirs….. ha ha .

The 'welcoming' General Aviation terminal
We taxied (with clearance) to the GA side of the airport and fuelled up.  A lovely young lass (Anna) – a commercial pilot, who was in Katherine looking for work, offered us a lift back to the town centre.  It took a while to get the Stinson back to the RAAF side, safely hangared away and then get back to the GA side. 

At the Info centre I grabbed brochures to check accommodation available, gorge cruises and locations etc.  We booked a ½ day cruise and as the bus service collected us from our lodgings, we chose a motel just out of the town centre.  Unfortunately we chose to walk there – not realizing just how far it was.  Arriving there an hour later, hot and tired, we were shown to our room.  The complex had a pool so we changed to go for a refreshing swim however found the water soooo cold I couldn’t stay in for any longer than 30 seconds.  Kev managed a few minutes.  Back to the room for a hot shower!  How bizarre – too hot then too cold within minutes.

That evening we walked into town to find an eating place, however Monday nights are very quiet so we ended up at Subway – very yummy, healthy dinner.  We walked back to the motel in the warm evening air watching the flying foxes fly silently about.

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Stinson Reliant SR8C VH-UXL

Stinson Reliant SR8C VH-UXL
over Perth city (Photo: Greg Hill)

About Us

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Flying farming couple who live on 135 acres. Kev is obsessed by aeroplanes. Vicki is devoted to horses and White Swiss Shepherds.