Our Savannah Way expedition kicked off with the first segment heading east from Stuart Highway – taking the Roper Highway from Mataranka to Roper Bar. This section is mostly sealed road and had not seen much rain so was pretty easy cruising. We camped on the side of the road half way to Roper Bar for a night. Saw plenty of wildlife, many of them feral introduced species and a few natives. Sharni called it Australia’s feral safari trip. The feral species were donkeys, horses, buffalo and pigs. We saw plenty of birds, including one which we mistook for a baby emu until it started flying. From that point we coined it the flying mini emu bird. Please excuse some of the photos – wildlife is hard to photograph as they tend to run away. We made a conscious effort to pull out big bertha, our SLR camera, so hopefully you’ll notice an improvement in some of our photos. Also we saw abandoned cars in ridiculous proportions. They’re everywhere on the side of the road.
Roper Bar is a very small community. It consists of a general store and a few dongas. We grabbed a coffee at the store where we asked about the road conditions of the road to Borroloola. They said there’s been some rain but should be passable. There’s a historic police station near the Roper Bar crossing which we checked out. The information plaques are completely cactus. Illegible. We crossed Roper Bar river crossing and checked out the Aboriginal community of Ngukurr, then headed off back on Savannah Way towards Borroloola. The Roper Bar river crossing is where Ludwig Leichhardt crossed the Roper River on his way from Morton Bay, near Brisbane, to Port Essington on the northern tip of the Northern Territory in 1844. The bar is a natural shallow rocky shelf that provided a safe route for Liechhardt’s expedition to cross the Roper River.