The only good thing about Hells Gate were these amazing rock formations.
We woke in the morning and did a little detour to the rocks for a squiz.
Now this is a recommendation! Not too far from our accommodation.....just ask at the Hells Gate Roadhouse for directions.
Ok, if you are travelling from overseas then you'll be excited to see kangaroos in the wild! Hells Gate obviously had resident roos that come to visit at dusk.
This little fella lifted his head just to say hi!... then continued on with the food... ;o)
Obviously he's used to tourists & being in the camera limelite :o)
Their website says that the Daly Waters Pub is not a roadhouse. It is "THE PUB" and was voted as one of top ten pubs in Australia. It is located ~4 km west of the Stuart Highway. Just remember, if you haven't turned off you're not at The Pub! There are 6 beers on tap and a wide variety of bottled beers, ciders and UDL's. There is an extensive wine list, including a cellar selection. The Pub is open from 07:00 until late. Even during the quieter months it does not close before 23:00. The Pub is decorated throughout with banknotes and other "pubabilia" left by visitors from every corner of the globe. You order your food inside and can eat outside in the Beer Garden (see a separate tip).
The historical Daly Waters Pub gets excellent TripAdvisor reviews. They have many accommodation choices: cabins, motel rooms with ensuite, budget pub rooms, and backpackers' rooms. There is also a caravan park. Other amenities include a swimming pool, kids' playground (Rugrats Corner), pool table, fueling station and a souvenir shop. Australia's most remote traffic lights are located outside the Pub. If you want to fish in the "Barramundi Pool" or use the sports equipment, you must plug the parking meter. Your doggie may stay in the Caravan Park, but he/she must be on a leash. Maybe your doggie can go into the Beer Garden if on a leash, but probably should stop at the Pissin Post first. However, elephants are not allowed in the Caravan Park or the Beer Garden under any circumstances.
Food is available at the Daly Waters Pub from 07:00 - 14:00 and 18:30 - 20:30. An extensive menu is available with a wide selection ranging from homemade burgers to premium ribeye steaks, succulent warm Greek lamb salad and local wild caught fish. All main meals are served with garden fresh salad, and chips or fresh cooked to order vegetables. A variety of children's meals are available from the "Little Monster Menu." The world renowned Beef and Barra, which includes the salad bar and hot damper, is served nightly during the dry season along with free nightly entertainment from 19:00.
Across the "street" from the Pub is a a small museum next to the "Outback Servo." It shows you "The Reel Outback of Oztralia," "The DooMeDoodleBirdNest" and "Sump'n'TaBloodyBuyMate!" The "Im'achopa" or "Elechopter" is on the roof. The "gravesites" are of those visitors who did not pay for their fuel at the Pub. A sign says that you can see baby wedge tailed eagles at the house next door.
The signpost at The Stuart Tree asks "Historic carving or just graffiti?" It was during his brief stop at this chain of ponds as John McDouall Stuart described it that he, or possibly one of his party, carved the large 'S' into the tree here. Despite other examples, there is no record of this tree in Stuart's diaries. All that is written is "I named these Daly Waters, in honour of his Excellency the Governor-in-Chief. Within 100 yards, the banks are thickly wooded with tall mulga and lancewood scrub, but to the east is open gum forest, splendidly grassed." The diary entry is dated 23 May 1862.
For many years this tree was part of the nearby telegraph station but its significance wasn't fully recognized until the influx of military personnel in the early years of World War II saw it photographed by servicemen. In 1944 personnel of Northern Territory Force erected a fence around it and fixed the plaque in response to suggestions by the civil administration.
The Daly Waters Overland Telegraph Station was located near The Stuart Tree. Now all that remains at the site are the steps to the main office and some scattered artifacts. Some of the artifacts have been found and placed on the steps; however, the sign reminds people that it is an archaeological site and items should not be removed. Connecting the Continent has a very interesting writeup on the Daly Waters Overland Telegraph Station, especially how in June 1872 a pony express was organized to carry messages over the 430 km gap in the line between Daly Waters and Tennant Creek, then cancelled when the Port Darwin submarine cable went dead.
Daly Waters was Australia's first international airfield. The airfield was a center for the London to Sydney Air Race of 1926 and was a refuelling stop for early Qantas flights to Singapore. In the 1930's the aerodrome was one terminal for the air mail service between Perth and Daly Waters. Prior to World War II, Daly Waters was a stop for flights en route to London. Planes were refueled and passengers fed. The trip cost 275 pounds and took 8 days.
In the early months of 1942 during World War II, the airfield was a waypoint on the "Brereton Route" for operations between Australia and Java. It was a staging base for aircraft from Cloncurry, Queensland and then up to Darwin, Northern Territory area airfields. After the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) requisitoned the airfield, it became an operational base known as RAAF Daly Waters on 15 May 1942.
The 64th Bomb Squadron of the USAAF Fifth Air Force 43rd Bombardment Group was based at Daly Waters from 16 May 1942 until 2 August 1942, flying B-17 Flying Fortresses from the airfield. The squadron made numerous attacks on Japanese shipping in the Dutch East Indies and the Bismarck Archipelago. Other operations during this period included support for ground forces in New Guinea; attacks on airfields and installations in New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, Celebes, Halmahera, Yap, Palau, and the southern Philippines; and long-range raids against oil refineries on Ceram and Borneo.
In late 1943 the airfield was returned to civil use. The aerodrome was closed to commercial traffic in 1965. The original Qantas hangar from 1930 was restored in 1992 and houses exhibits of photographs and equipment from the area's aviation past. These days the Daly Waters Aerodrome is in semi-retirement with private aircraft and Air-Med (remote area medical service) constituting the bulk of the traffic. The airfield is still utilized by the RAAF for joint military maneuvers. The Daly Waters Aviation Complex is included in the Register of the National Estate.
The Qantas hanger at Daly Waters is the oldest hanger in the Northern Territory. From the signboards in the Aeradio Annex, we know that the site for a landing ground at Daly Waters was selected in December 1927. Francis Cain commenced contract work in clearing the site the following June, eventually completing the clearing, grubbing and fencing for 1048 GBP. Larkin Aircraft Supply Company (LASCo) under H.S. "Jimmy" Larkin won the contract to provide service between Camooweal and Daly Waters in July 1928. The aerodrome was completed in October 1928. A number of aircraft apparently made use of the new aerodrome. In July 1929 the Shell Oil Company of Australia asked permission to erect a small galvanized iron shed to store fuel and oils for aviation purposes. Larkin also applied to erect a hanger on the site and despite some problems in selecting a suitable location, the Sidney Williams structure was constructed during 1930. Materials for the hanger arrived on 26 Apr 1930, along with the contractor's supervisor, Fred Smith. DCA wanted to locate the hanger in an area usually inundated by wet season flooding. Larkin himself wanted it constructed in the northeast corner with the doors facing southwest. A compromise was reached and the hanger was completed in its current location on 12 June 1930.
The 1930 Qantas hanger at Daly Waters opens to the northeast and looks across a large bitumen parking area toward the ~2.2 km runway, which runs northwest to southeast. Access to the runway is via a ~500 meter bitumen taxiway. A door and a small unused office are located on the southeast side of the hanger. The former Aeradio Annex is in the south corner of the hanger and now contains historical displays by the National Trust. Zig (1+1) and I did not see anyone else at the Aerodrome while we were there on 25 Aug 2010. Although some writeups online say that the gate will be locked and that the key must be picked up at the Daly Waters Pub, the gate and all doors were open when we arrived. There were no admission fees.
An aeradio station was completed on 7 Dec 1938, was located in the post office, and was operated by the Postmaster. An aeradio operator, Jack Faulkner, arrived on 28 Oct 1939. He and Noel Healey of Dunmarra dismantled the radio masts at the Post Office and re-erected them near the hanger. On 29 Jan 1940 the aeradio system was moved to an annex on the eastern wall of the hanger. See also two travelogues with the current history displays in the Aeradio Annex in the Qantas hanger.
There was the wreckage of an airplane just off the edge of the parking area northwest of the hanger. It had a symbol on it of a blue cloud with a gray lightning bolt. The symbol looked like it may have been added after the wreck.
I am not sure since I have not been able to find a map of the Aerodrome layout, but I think that the two buildings near the Daly Waters Aerodrome gate northwest of the hanger were terminal buildings. One is now collapsed. They were behind a separate fence. It is also possible that they were barracks for servicemen during World War II. There was another piece of airplane wreckage outside the fence.
On the way into town, we saw the Daly Water Airstrip. The oldest airstrip in the territory, it was constructed in about 1930 for the Daly Waters Airmail run. Later becoming a major staging point for interstate and international airlines. It was declared an RAAF station on 18 March 1942 when No: 56 Operational Base Unit, No: 1 Medical Receiving Station and No: 1 Repair and Salvage Unit formed. No: 56 Operational Base Unit moved out in the latter half of 1943 and No: 9 Stores Depot was the last to leave on 6 October 1944. It was used in 1989 as part of the military manoeuvre - Kangaroo '89. Nowdays not used nearly as much, I have been told that in order to retain the title of an actual airstrip you only have to land a plane on it once or twice a year....