Three Ways - Darwin via Stuart Highway (Hwy
Total distance 962km
All distances measured from Three Ways
On the right as you leave the Three Ways Roadhouse is a memorial to the Rev. John Flynn, the Methodist Minister who was the driving force in the formation of the flying doctor service that is now known as The Royal Flying Doctor Service and has made such a tremendous difference to life in the outback of Australia.
The section of highway from here to Darwin has many reminders of the Second World War and markers show the sites of WW2 airfields and other establishments.
Towns are few and far between with the first settlement of any size being Elliott (228km) which has a hotel, service stations and a caravan park.
The Carpentaria Highway (Hwy 1) leading to Cape Crawford and Borroloola is on the right when you reach Daly Waters (373km) and no visit to the Territory would be complete without turning left and spending time at the Daly Waters Hotel ñ one of Australiaís oldest pubs where history abounds. The hotel has a caravan park out the back and serves meals ñ and often bush entertainment as well.
While visiting pubs, donít miss the Territoryís Highest Bar at Larrimah (460km) where you can also see a huge Darwin Stubby or visit the museum with its relics of WW2 when Larrimah was at the end of the railway line from Darwin.
Just before you reach Mataranka (532km) you will see a road leading off to the right ñ this will take you to the graveyard of the people who lived and worked at the Elsey Homestead during the time Jeannie Gunn lived there. There is a memorial to her near the graves but a replica of her home is at the Mataranka Homestead a little further north. Mrs Gunn of course was the author of the well known ëWe of the Never Neverí.
Mataranka Homestead is a popular tourist destination with a modern caravan park and licenced premises. It is best known as being the place with the thermal pool where you can soak in sparkling, warm water amid the palm trees. A side road on the way to the Homestead takes you to a camping area on the banks of the Roper river and canoes can be hired there for a paddle along the placid ñ and croc free ñ waterway.
The township itself has good facilities for travellers and is a good place to take a break. The Roper Highway leads off to the right towards the Gulf of Carpentaria.
People doing the around Australia trip can head west at Katherine (645km) if they like but if you have the time a circuit taking in Litchfield National Park, Darwin and Kakadu National Park is time well spent.
Katherine itself with its famous Gorge, well appointed caravan parks and all the facilities expected in a modern town, is well worth a stay of a few days or more and the friendly staff at the Visitors Centre will give you plenty of good reasons to stay. Businesses in the town suffered tremendously after the devastating floods of a few years ago but have rebuild and restructured so that things are better than ever for tourists although some businesses are still feeling the pinch.
The Territory Wildlife Park on the left after Pine Creek (736km) is well stocked and designed to make it easy to get around with transport taking you from one section to the next.
Just a few km off the highway is the township of Batchelor ñ better known as the site of the now disused uraniun mine of Rum Jungle. This now is the gateway to the Litchfield National Park and a caravan park in the town makes a good base for a visit to Litchfield although there are quite good facilities for camping within the park itself.
The Arnhem Highway to Kakadu National Park and the township of Jabiru is on the right at Howard Springs (927km) just before you reach the suburbs of Darwin (962km) ñ a town with a great deal to offer and a good place to experience life in a tropical city.