Heading south on the Stuart Highway. Before reaching Alice Springs, we take a right turn, and start long drive up the Tanami track. We were originally planning on coming down this road directly from WA, but lack of refueling stops meant we took the longer but safer route via Katherine. Our destination is Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary, a privately owned conservation park in the middle of central Australia, run by some friends of friends who have swapped east African lions for the care of wallabies and bilbies.
After an even longer drive down a dirt track (we are 330km from the highway now), we arrive. Our new friends offer to let us stay with them in the managers house, instead of in the campsite. We gratefully accept! This is the first real house we have stayed in since April.
The reserve is very isolated and calming. The conservation work is amazing, centered round a huge fenced area cleared of feral animals. The girls help set cameras to help detect a rare wallaby. We take some fun and easy 4WD tours around the reserve (but not the fenced bit, that's restricted of course). I take the opportunity to do some cooking on a real stove for a change.
Since it's the cooler time of year, the sanctuary is undergoing managed burn offs to reduce the risk of bigger fires. On our final night, a sudden wind relights one of these, followed by a huge lightning storm. It looks like the managers will be in for a busy night! Then even more suddenly, there is a rare winter downpour. All over in 30 minutes.
Thanks to K & H (& Safi the dog) for the hospitality. See you on the east coast. Next stop Alice Springs!