24-Aug-2013 -- This Confluence Site was completed by the Top End 4WD Club, as a club trip.
A couple years of planning went into this Confluence Trip. We had to contact land owners and managers in order to obtain permission to travel through some property and onto the property where the Confluence site was actually located. The Confluence Site itself is now a Nature Conservancy, "Fish River Station", and we required permission from the Indigenous Land Council. With many great thanks to the ILC, they approved our request to enter their land in search of the confluence site. The quickest way into Fish River Station was through Tipperary Station and we required permission from the Manager to drive through the property and across the Beeboom crossing. Timing for the trip was essential, late in the dry season is about the only time that the Daly River would be low enough, tracks through the properties dry enough and hopefully any tall grass knocked over or burnt off.
With permissions all granted we set off from Adelaide River at 9am and drove to Tipperary. It was an amazing drive into the “Town” at Tipperary with evidence of the old zoo fencing standing proudly alongside the main road and the sheer size of the operation at Tipperary evident by the number of houses, office block, social club, sheds, 2km bitumen runway and even a school, virtually in the middle of nowhere! A quick stop was made to sign in at the visitors book. Being a Saturday the office was unmanned and there wasn’t a sole to be found… Much like arriving at a ghost town.
We continued through Tipperary and onto Beeboom crossing. The crossing itself was completely amazing; an incredibly wide and sturdy concrete causeway build over the top of a natural rock shelf in the middle of the Daly River. The scenery from the crossing was truly amazing and evidence of large fish scales gave us some hope that good fishing occurs along this stretch of the river but there was no time for fishing, we kept on moving towards the confluence site and crossed Beeboom into Fish River Station.
Initial planning revealed the confluence site was just 700m from some old fence line tracks. We followed the main track from Beeboom until we came across the first of the fence lines we were to follow. The trip along the fence line was easy going until we hit a small limestone outcrop. The lead vehicle took the wrong line through the limestone and had a very bumpy drive while the other vehicles found a more sensible route!
At the end of the first fence line, we stopped for lunch before turning 90 degrees and following the next fence line. Part way along the second fence line the lead vehicle had its rear axle entangled in some old fence wire. A 15min stop and nifty use of fencing pliers/cutters had the vehicle free from the fence wire and we continued through the scrub and to within 70m of the confluence site where we parked the vehicles and then had to cross Bamboo Creek, which was only knee deep this time of year, to get right to the confluence site.
We left the confluence site utilising the same tracks we took in, with a slight detour though a seemingly little used but very picturesque track, flush with green growth – this time of year it suggests it is impassable most of the year. We crossed back over Beeboom crossing and were looking around when disaster stuck. Keira had walked onto a disused fire pit and burnt her foot.
First aid was quickly applied, and a phone call was made to a Medical Retrieval Consultant (MRC). Discussions with Darwin Hospital and the MRC agreed that a Medical Retrieval should take place and CareFlight were dispatched to the runway at Tipperary Station. Fortunately, we found some people at the Social Club and they were able to find someone to turn on the runway lights. Tony drove up and down the runway before the plane landed to scare off any wallabies that may have strayed onto the runway. CareFlight landed and whisked Keira and Athina back to Darwin.
Those remaining on the trip camped on the Daly River near Beeboom crossing that night and enjoyed the location for the morning before driving back to Darwin.
Many thanks to Chris and Peter for watching over Hayden while Keira was being attended to, Linda for cuddling Keira while first aid was being applied to her foot, Mandy for running around and getting miscellaneous things for us and Tony for driving us to the runway and scaring the wallabies off.