Day 4

  • Tennant Creek-Alice Springs
  • Distance from Darwin: 1446km
  • Price of coffee: ask me tomorrow

Karlu Karlu, or the Devil’s Marbles to give the site its former name, is astonishing.

What takes your breath away isn’t the extraordinary site of huge boulders balanced precariously, but the context.

To get there you go through an hour or so of empty, straight highway and then – there it is. I can understand why Karlu Karlu has held so much mystique for many tens of thousands of years. It’s like it’s been placed by god or otherworldly beings.


Speaking of which: further down the road is Wycliffe Well – ‘Australia’s UFO Capital’. How does somewhere decide it deserves such a title? It’s really just a servo and breezy caravan park with some alien figures placed around the place. You know, under a tree, next to a bin. Clearly the owners have a sense of humour.

Then on to the magnificent Alice Springs. I had no idea how beautiful the setting was for the capital of the desert. We went up ANZAC Hill near sunset to view the town.

I’m doing my breakfast show from here tomorrow morning then I’m going to meet some truly remarkable local musicians. Can’t wait!

Day 3

  • Daly Waters Pub-Tennant Creek
  • Distance from Darwin: 1015.6km
  • Price of ULP: $1.62

Before I start on Day 3 – which is a bit boring – let me tell you about the rest of Day 2.

Daly Waters Pub – it goes off like a firecracker. I never thought I’d see such revelry in somewhere so remote.Everyone had a story to tell – mainly about where they’d been and where they were going to.

The beer was flowing and before long, a fella in a stockman hat and a Hawaiian shirt got out the guitar and played covers of songs you’d forgotten you’d forgotten.

We had an early night but we could still hear the music and good cheer. We were woken by a loud knock on our door at around 11 – someone had partaken of a few too many refreshments and forgotten which room they were staying in!

So that’s Daly Waters. Early this morning I took Wolfy for a walk and we saw roos bouncing away in the distance.

We also checked out Daly Waters’ historic airfield. This used to be a refueling stop en route between Australia and anywhere else. At one point in time, passengers would leave the aircraft and spend the night in pub. Beats the drinks trolley you get nowadays – very civilised!We drove the 400kms or so along the Stuart Highway to Tennant Creek. Everyone we’ve spoken to has described this town as if it’s a Mexican border town. ‘Lock up yer valuables’, ‘Barricade yerself in yer room with barbed wire!’

But it’s actually really nice. We’ve taken Wolfy for a walk to the shop and now she’s chasing flies.

Up early in the morning to go to the Devil’s Marbles. Set your alarm!

Day 2

  • Sunday 3 September
  • Katherine-Daly Waters Pub
  • Distance from Darwin: 617.1km

Today started with doing Weekend Breakfast from the ABC in Katherine. Which is amazing by the way. Only one person here works for the ABC – he’s Dan, the rural reporter – and his office is just off the reception of Katherine’s Tourist Information centre. The studio is a small cupboard behind this.

So it was a bit surreal walking through the tourist centre in the dark. I think I gave the cleaners quite a surprise!

We took off after a quick breakfast and dip in Katherine Hot Springs.

A few people recommended we stop at Mataranka. We had a look but – no pets!

So now it’s 2.30pm and we’re on the verandah of our cabin, overlooking an Aussie outback icon: Daly Waters Pub. Anyone thirsty????

Day 1

Darwin to Katherine, NT

  • Saturday 2 September
  • 342km
  • ABC Classic FM frequency in Katherine: 94.9

It’s been an easyish first day. As you can see in the picture above, Wolfy wasn’t too stressed. In fact she was in the car, ready to go, long before we’d even packed.

Heading south from Darwin – and taking an unexpected detour through Palmerston – the housing estates and out-of-town shopping centres soon give way to the open road and bushland as far as you can see.

We were expecting a procession of caravans and campers on the Stuart Highway today but it was quiet. The first stop was fish and chips in the pub garden at Adelaide River. They’ve got a croc all done up like Lenin in a glass box, and a stuffed bull – the sign assures you it’s the one used in Crocodile Dundee.

At Hayes Creek roadhouse there’s a stone in the shape of Australia – and someone’s even found a Tassie rock to put under it.

We’ve been listening to some of your playlist suggestions, with the volume cranked. Keep ’em coming!

Off now to investigate a concert happening in a cave. I’ll make you a video.

Oh and I’m doing my show from Katherine tomorrow morning. Better set the alarm…

Russell Torrance and family #classicroadtrip

This story starts with a dog. That’s her in the picture. She’s tiny, isn’t she? She’s called Wolfy and – well – we think she’s a Chihuahua mixed with something else. Could be anything. She’s about 9 years old and is the sweetest, most eccentric little thing you’ll meet.

My wife Lauren came up to Darwin with work a couple of months ago and brought Wolfy with her on the plane. We don’t think Wolfy enjoyed the trip. In fact we took one look at her and decided that that would be her last time travelling by air.

So it’s time to get back to Sydney. Which means – a road trip! Not any old road trip either. We’ve had this idea that I’ll do my breakfast show on ABC Classic FM from different places along the way. A…. let me think for a minute…. Classic Road Trip!

We’ve just figured out the route – Darwin, Katherine, Alice Springs, Coober Pedy, Port Pirie, Clare Valley, Horsham, Bowral and then Sydney.

Do you live along the way? If so, we hope to see you! (You can send me a message below.) If not, you’re coming along anyway – I’ll bringing you plenty of photos, videos and thoughts over the next few weeks. Get packing!