What better thing to do on Betty Windsor's birthday than to go on a day trip and a picnic?
The mission: to identify more campsites.
We left Darwin at around 8.30am, meeting Steve and Lucy en route to just north of Emerald Springs, which turns out to be about the next ridge over from Depot Creek. As it was the last day of the long weekend, it turned out that an awful lot of people knew of this place before we did, and a steady stream of vehicles were coming out as we were going in.
The track was in good condition, only needing 4wd on a few occasions. Just as well, because after spending the weekend removing the custom canopy to replace it with the old well body, we had forgotten to put a spare wheel in. Oops. We had also taken two cameras and two camera phones, and inexplicably didn't take any pics. We justified it on the basis that the scenery wasn't that spectacular after all, and we'd seen similar countryside before.
The biggest campsite appeared to be of the Stuart Highway about 40 minutes in on a sandy bank of the Douglas River. There were still about half a dozen cars there, so as nice as it was, it may be a little too popular. As this was kind of the end of the road, we turned back to go down another track, and decided that spot was perfect for a picnic right next to the river, and as a potential camp site. The water was freezing, and with a cold breeze blowing it was cool weather for anyone's standards, let alone for Darwin!
After lunch, there was more fact finding to be done. There was another site not far from the original "sandy beach camp", as we'd named it, running down a ridge line that was really only big enough for one tent, and definitely not suitable for a trailer unless we wanted to back it down.
A fourth site was promising, if not a little narrow for more than one vehicle, and we then headed down a lesser used track that went for about 10km and through a gate that was most probably the Douglas Daly Research Farm. Whilst it wasn't locked, we decided not to go through as we hadn't received permission.
As it was now mid afternoon, we decided to head back, and check out the first of the sites we had seen on the way it that still had people there. This was a fairly large cleared site, perfect for a number of vehicles and room to move a trailer or two, had logs already set around a fire pit and was situated right on the edge of a ridge line and looking over a valley.
We locked the position into the GPS and started the uneventful two hours back home. Mission accomplished.