Milikapiti – Melville Island – Tiwi Islands

WOW! We have finally arrived at our new job destination.

Jumped on a charter plane, single engine, 6 seater in Darwin Thursday 26th August & flew to Snake Bay (Melville Island) – a 30 minute flight, it was quite good no big drops & a smooth landing. Our boat arrived the next day early in the morning on the barge from Darwin – it was a beautiful morning, there were several horses wandering around.

Started work Friday in the canteen at the Milikapiti Sports & Social Club, Peter is maintaining the money handling/til – he is doing well. I am looking after the cooking part which is consistent, the canteen is open from 4.30pm to 7.30pm(Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday), we have a 3 hr window of go go go, prepping prior & cleaning afterwards of course as well.

Our luggage takes up the 2 back seats…….haha & we didn’t have much
Goodbye Darwin.
Thats us.
Welcome to Melville Island
Coming up to Milikapiti
Our pilots, the main driver was a learner – no stripes yet.
Our charter plane
Melville Island international airport
part of our new work place
Peter at his work site – the til.
The weekly barge from Darwin.
Yea – our boat has arrived being collected by our work vehicle
Beautiful early morning.
Some of locals
white hibiscus – so beautiful
The barge landing.
Looking to the right from barge landing
Looking to the left from barge landing
Kou also known as Sea trumpet

Still on the road….

We managed to get the boat up to Dunmarra (320klms south of Katherine) then drove back to Banka Banka Station (255klms south of Dunmarra) & spent the night in the camper. Banka Banka is a beautiful camping spot, natural spring water, very clean ablutions, grassed camp areas, happy hour every night from 6-8pm, they have a bar available & camp fire. Its a great meet & greet spot.

Some of the locals are really quite cute.

Next day found us packing up camp & driving to Katherine, we camped up for the night then drove to Darwin the next day (Sunday 15th Aug) to our good mates Sonja & Barry’s place at Palmerstone. Next day Monday 16th Aug at 12 noon, Darwin & Katherine were put on a 3 day snap lockdown…….hahaha

Happy hour spot
some of the locals
definately a chatty fellow
In Darwin with great mates Sonja & Barry.

Bye, bye Amburla Station. NT

WOW! we have been at Amburla for just over 3 months, we drove out for the last time on Saturday 5th August, the new couple that was overtaking from us arrived early, Friday 4th, so off we went. We decided to go down the Sandover Highway which is a dirt/gravel road (not far off Stuart Hwy going east towards Mt Isa), the road is quite good really, we spent 2 nights camping out along the way & arrived at Camooweal Monday mid-morning. Our plan was to park the camper up & drive to Cairns, spend some time with good mates Pauline & Peter, then down to Cardwell more good mates Mandy & Raymond then to El Airsh( Peter’s nephews place) to collect the boat & drive back to Camooweal BUT once we got there & were in phone service area we had a few messages – Cairns was in lockdown & our new prospective boss on the Tiwi Islands was worried we might not get back into the Northern Territory – we changed our plans slightly, booked camper into c/park for few nights then headed east, we kept driving til 0200hrs & swagged it for 4 hours just north of Townsville, then drive to El Arish & collected boat, swagged it again at 0100hrs just west of Mt Isa, got up early drove across border(no problems with border passes) & booked boat into Barkly homestead for 2 nights then drove back to Camooweal collected camper back across the QLD/NT & pulled up at a free camp just on dark to camp for the night.

The Sandover Hwy & there was traffic….
Christmas bush also known as winter cassia
Our camp 1st night
some people have a good life
Bit of red soil around
this could be a Desert princesplume
Still on the Sandove Hwy.
Getting closer to QLD
Yea!, we at the border near Lake Nash Station
Quite a few cattle around the water & not a lot of feed for them.
Camp 2nd night
Sun going down.
Some beautiful colours.
On the road again.
Had to stop to get a pic of these beauties
Entering the Northern Territory
Some amazing colours very late afternoon.
Yea! we made it, boat & camper in the NT although still have a few klms to travel.
Relaxation, arrived at free camp just before dark.

Amburla Station, NT. #8

Our last trip into Alice Springs, I came across this beauty – WOW! The grevillea’s have only been flowering for a few weeks but they are very nice.

We had our good mate Trevor spend a few nights with us, so while Peter did the watering at Milton Park, Trev & I walked up to the telstra tower & kept going along the ridge line, it was great, (hay Mary I’m sure you & I could have done it too) – it took us a few hours to get back to the homestead but it was an enjoyable trek. We came across this weird but quite striking coloured rock, it was the only one with this colouring that we saw. The views were awesome & there was a breeze which made it very enjoyable, the only downfall being spinifix but we managed not to get too many spikes in us.

grevillea in Alice Springs
Tried to find out what this is, no answers yet, had a mint like smell & lovely.

Our good mate Trevor.

Cephalaria leucantha – in the honey suckle family

Walking along the ridgeline.
An amazing coloured rock.

Amburla Station, NT. #7

When the bosses are away we go to Hamilton Downs homestead & attend to the watering of the various plants & gardens. Hamilton Downs was the original place that we were supposed to be based at but plans changed just before we arrived, so we ended up at Amburla Station (which we are very happy about). Our bosses (Tony & Pam Davis) live in a cottage at Hamilton Downs when here, the manager lives in the main house & his worker lives in outside quarters – there are numerous sheds & buildings around with lotz of ‘stuff’. There is an old building which was the original hometead here, it now houses old saddle pads & harness yolks with some odds & ends. There are many old artefacts here at Hamilton which they are starting to try & preserve.

We have had Margaret (Peter’s Mum) & Mary (one of Peter’s sisters) visit for a week, it has been awesome. Everyday we have been going out driving around Hamilton Downs, Amburla & Milton Park & still have NOT managed to see it all, but having a very enjoyable time, its wonderful to have family visit us.

The main homestead
Obedient plane – Physostegia virginiana
a mini windmill, missing a few items but still an interesting figure
a quaint water tap
a cute cow
An old well which was used for many years with camels walking around the outside drawing up the water.
days of yesterday…..
old pack bags there were used quite a few ago
Checking out one the dams while out driving.
Margaret & Mary inside the ingoing trap gates which are part of all the yards .
Mum & son…
Lotz of paddy melons around at the moment, cattle don’t eat them.
Some of the new arrivals at Amburla Station.
Mary was an awesome gate opener & shutter.
Heath-leaved banksia, found lotz of these while out driving.
Coffee & crackers – afternoon relaxation.
Ring necked parrots love the bird bath.
Relaxing after dinner.
The early stages of the sun rising.
Full moon ready to disappear in the morning.
Early morning flight path of a plane behind this palm.

Amburla Station. NT. #6

We decided to walk up this hill at Milton Park, it is a Telstra communication tower, it has an elvation 750mts & 1klm from bottom to top – so it gave us a good cardio workout. The track was a bit rough in places & I don’t think any telstra people have driven up there for a while.

The view on the way up was great & improved the higher up we got, we could just see where the Amburla homestead was (approx 16klms).

Once we were at the top – WOW! the views in every direction were amazing, the landscape just keeps going & going & going. Since our 1st walk, we have repeated the experience & have decided to walk up the hill twice a week – good for our heart………..:-)

While driving around the other day we found the new lot of bullocks & steers that arrived from Sandover Highway station, they weren’t the friendliest but seem to be settling in. We saw some camels, about 9 of them, they weren’t real friendly either but you get that.

Up, up we go.
Yep, we are on our way.
Not there yet but the vista is awesome.
Nearly there, just around the corner.
Yea, we made it.
WOW! definately w.orth the walk
Heading back down, thats the Tanami Rd in the background.
Back to the ute.
Came across the new bullocks & steers which arrived 2 days ago.
The scenery is beautiful.
Charlie Creek
Driving through Charlie Ck.
They weren’t real keen to see us, took a runner then stopped for a quick peak before galloping off again.

Amburla Station, NT. #5

Since the stations have begun to be restocked with cattle we have been doing some more drives around the Amburla station & the outstation, Milton Park. WOW! the scenery is amazing & its a lotz fun. Its great to see some moo’s grazing while checking fence lines & keeping an eye on the water troughs at the bores (this isn’t really one of our job duties but Peter enjoys it & the manager appreciates Peters input), we really have fun doing it & I also get to play with the camera.

We spend quite a few hours driving around the stations & are continuing to discover new places all the time, the Hays Ranges are the boundaries between Hamilton Downs & Amburla station which does include Milton Park ,the West MacDonald Ranges are the southern boundaries for Hamilton Downs.

Looking out over Hayes Range.

All the bores have a name.

Majority of the bores are solar powered.
Lotz of these fellows around.
A hawks nest at Milton Park.
Taking a ‘selfie’ at Milton Park while the sun is coming up…………haha
Sunrise at Amburla.
Sunset at Amburla.
We haven’t seen a lot of wedgetails but I managed to get a pic of this fellow before he flew.
These girls did a runner then changed their minds……..
There has definately been moo’s on this track.
This fellow gave me one chance then took flight.
This couple wasn’t too worried about us.
This fellow was okay to have his photo taken but his mate took off.

Amburla Station, NT. #4

WOW! We have been here over 2 months already, time is flying.

We often go for drives around the station, checking fence lines, water troughs etc, you can drive for miles & miles, sometimes coming to a gate, not seeing many cattle, even less kangaroos & so far I have only seen 1 camel – but we have seen heaps of camel tracks.

It is really quite beautiful driving around the station & very interesting, there are more cattle ariving from the Sandover Pastoral Comp (the daughter of our boss, her & her husband are taking over Hamilton Downs & Amburla so they gradually restocking). We have had quite a few chilly starts to the day although no ice on the ground around the house at Amburla, Hamilton Downs has had their share of frosts so far & I heard in Alice Springs town have also had their fair share. The majority of the days have been really lovely, only had a couple of cloudy windy days which are enjoyed more from the inside of the house with the fireplace going.

There is quite a few ducks at the waterholes that are connected to a bore.
There are the remains of quite a few sets of yards around the station.
One of the many work vehicles.
This dam was being constantly filled with bore water as the council was using the water for road repairs.
What a cutie.
Most of the tracks throughout the station are well maintained.
So many galahs too.
Quite a beautiful country side.
There is quite a few cockateils in the area.
The cattle seem to be settling in okay & there are lotz of babies arriving.
Don’t think this old girl will be doing too much…..
The solar setup, generator in the background.
Workshop & shed.
Having an abundance of water allows us to keep the grass nice & green around the homestead.
The orange trees are still providing great snacks.

Amburla Station NT. #3

Irrigation washouts, poly pipe splitting probably from old age & various other leaks happening – repair of these is a common & popular job to be undertaken – Peter loves these jobs…… Watering the grass & gardens is a regular job also but quite enjoyable. Since the cattle have starting to arrive at the station Peter has been busy checking waters & fence lines – he is really enjoying this.

We assisted the manager & his worker with one mob in branding & tagging of any cattle/weiners that required it, it was very dusty but quite enjoyable. Took lotz of pics.

One of the many blowouts Peter has repaired.
Checking the water level in the tank.
Starting generator for the bore pump.
So many doves & finches at all of the water bores.
Alan the station manager riding one of his ponies & his dogs working the cattle.
Dinner time.
Lotz of ‘stuff’ around the station.
Dot, she is young pup but showing potential.
Ice, she is mainly used for mustering& herding the bulls.
One of the calves, a real cutie.
Peter & Chris (station hand) holding down a weiner to be branded.
Road train unloading another mob of mixed cattle from Sandover Station (Sandover Hwy, NT)
Working dogs in action.

Amburla Station NT. #2

Life at the station is rather nice, we are kept reasonabley busy especially now as the bosses have gone back to Darwin & we have to water & maintain 3 homesteads. The calcium content in the bore water is quite high so we have some interesting moments with the irrigation…..hahaha. We had a few roadtrains arriving with heifers & will be getting some more in the next few weeks, they are coming from a station on the Plenty Highway (NT)& also Barcaldine (QLD). Peter is enjoying driving around the boundaries checking the fences & keeping an eye on the bores.

The new manager of Hamilton Downs has quite a few working dogs, working horses & uses them with the cattle. The birdlife at the bores is plentiful mainly finches & budgies.

It has been getting quite cool but the inside fire in the house is awesome.

Some of heifers brought to Amburla Station
Dusty, one of the manager’s (Alan) dogs, he is a growing puppy.
Ant nests – big black ants.
Zebra finches enjoying the water near the cattle water troughs.
They are cute…..
Mickey birds have a bath in the bird bath.
There are so many budgies in the dessert.
Magpies at sunset.
The hills not far from us, these are on the inside of the McDonnel ranges.
We have a lot of Pee wees.
Ring necked parrots are in abundance at the moment.
Great mates – Gary & Rae from Bagara came for a visit- Anzac Hill overlooking the Alice Springs township.
We have had a few of these critters too – hopefully no more…..hahaha
Sun rising at Amburla.