Borroloola

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Borroloola for grey nomads
Discover the Lost. Pic: Tourism NT

The tiny Northern Territory town of Borroloola has earned almost mythical status in grey nomad circles.

While some of its allure can be explained by its sheer remote­ness (it’s nearly 1,000 kilome­tres south-east of Darwin and 380km from the Stuart High­way), most can be attributed to misty-eyed campfire tales of epic barramundi battles.

Good news travels fast on the grey grapevine!

The Gulf community straddles the mighty McArthur River, has a population of nearly 1,000, and is home to four main indigenous language groups; the Yanyuwa, Mara, Karawa and Kurdanji.

The nearby McArthur River Mine is the town’s major employer and 300 new jobs are to be created courtesy of a recently-announced $360 mil­lion expansion. Besides min­ing, and servicing the needs of the surrounding cattle stations, it is tourism – and fishing and camping – that’s Borroloola stock in trade.

While travellers find a warm welcome these days, back in the 19th century Borroloola was a rum-smuggling base with a wild and lawless reputation. The Old Police Station Mu­seum is a great place to learn about the town’s fascinating history. It is well set up for trav­ellers today with fuel outlets, pub, medical centre, shops, boat ramps, and, of course, a caravan park.

Out of town, the fishing club and camp at King Ash Bay, 50kms north, is a mecca for serious barra chasers. This is where one of the Borroloola’s two major events – the Fishing Classic – is held every Easter. The other major shindig is the rodeo in August.

Also within striking distance are the glorious beaches of Barranyi National Park; the sandstone hills and waterholes of Caranbirini Conservation Reserve; and the amazing sand­stone formations of the newly-formed Limmen National Park.

Cape Crawford, at the junc­tion of the Carpentaria and Tablelands Highways, is home to the iconic Heartbreak Hotel roadhouse … and some spec­tacular countryside. This is the northern extremity of the Ab­ner Ranges, where the amazing Lost City sandstone pillars span across eight square kilometres. These skyscraper-like wonders of nature are only accessible by helicopter … but are so special that many grey nomads put them in the ‘worth busting the budget for’ category.

Another popular destination which is ideal for soothing travel-weary bones is Poppy’s Pool north of Cape Crawford, a secluded thermal pool, which maintains a temperature of 27°C.

It may be the barra that put Borroloola on the grey nomad map, but the area offers a lot more than a place to wet a line.

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