RDO Wanderings

ALUX

Active Member
Gday everyone.

As its terrible weather this weekend I thought I'd share some photos from a recent trip I did for work to Groote Eylandt, NT. Im an ecologist for work and get to go to some pretty cool spots, sometimes a fair way off the map.

Groote Eyland is about 1.5 hours flight from Darwin and sits in the gulf of carpentaria, about 60km off the coast from gove. It's warm. Like 30 degrees and 90% humidity at midnight warm. The fishing is insane. The locals are traditionally ocean people, living off fish and the odd dugong or turtle. The island has been spared from cane toads, so there are small mammals in abundance, including northern quolls which are spotted easily at night.

I was up there for two weeks and due to the remote site, was camping for nearly the whole time. Camp consisted of some gazebos, mozzie nets, a camp stretcher and a trusty fireplace. We camped next to a freshwater river so we could have a wrinse each day, as it is just about the sweatiest place on earth.

During my stay, I got 1 day off. 24 hours to explore. I wasn't going to let it go to waste. The island is entirely traditionally owned so there are only certain areas that are open to visitors. On the map there's plenty of them, but after talking to everyone, no one had ever been to them. All the FIFO workers spend their day off smoking darts and sipping coldies at the golfie. Even the Land and Sea rangers hadn't been to half the open areas.

So armed with a stock, minespec hilux with bald tyres, I headed off with a workmate for one of the best days touring in my life. My recovery kit included a 1st aid kit, 20l Jerry of water, and an ARB tyre deflator I brought in my carry on. No phone reception, no idea where the tracks were, no one coming for me. If we got stuck, we were on our own. I packed some lunch and fishing gear and off I went.

We ended up covering about 200km of trails. Most of the tracks are just wheel tracks through forest which is pretty easy going. The trails through the eucalyptus forest give way to paperbark forests as you approach the coast. Once reaching the coast you're on the beach and the world is your oyster. I drove up the coast for about 50km, over headlands and along beaches. I stopped regularly to check out spots and wet a line. It is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I recorded the whole track on GPS and will be uploading some track data, so that if any of you go there you'll at least have 1/2 a clue of where to go. For now though, I'll let the photos do the talking.
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
 
Last edited:

ALUX

Active Member
Awesome place for sure :)
So no ferry ? It's fly in / hire vehicle ?
Hey les,

There's a barge from Darwin if you live full time on the island but it's about $3k return and that's if you've got the paperwork in order to make it happen. You can fly there, and there's accommodation and car rental, but the mine books out everything (flights, cars, and accom) so you kinda can't. Best way to visit would be by tinny from the mainland and that'd be a fair effort. But worth it!
 

Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
Yeah, could boat around it and see the coast at least.
Ta, kinda thought it'd be both hard to visit and expensive too.
 

Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
@ALUX

I think this mob knicked at least one of your pics mate !!
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ing-transform-Australian-travel-hot-spot.html

The wealthy mining town where you can go for three days without seeing another person: How Groote Eylandt is trying to transform into an Australian travel hot spot
  • Groote Eylandt is an island in the waters of Australia's Gulf of Carpentaria
  • Locals are reaping royalties from the island's thriving manganese mine
  • But they want to promote Groote Eylandt as a boutique holiday destination
  • 'Tours are a lifestyle job, but the mining gig pays the bills,' a local man said
By AAP

PUBLISHED: 13:54 EST, 21 June 2016 | UPDATED: 14:39 EST, 21 June 2016


A spectacular, mineral-rich island perched in the pristine waters of Australia's Gulf of Carpentaria has a simmering battle on its hands.

Traditional custodians of Groote Eylandt are grappling with a formidable challenge: reaching for a future in sustainable, community-driven tourism, while continuing to reap phenomenal royalties from a thriving manganese mine.

The battle to ween off royalties, which have delivered untold wealth for more than 50 years, is laid bare by Groote Eylandt's waters.

Scroll down for vdeo

357FE40600000578-0-image-a-48_1466471004771.jpg


A spectacular, mineral-rich island perched in the pristine waters of Australia's Gulf of Carpentaria has a simmering battle on its hands

357FE4FF00000578-0-image-m-63_1466471610256.jpg


Traditional custodians of Groote Eylandt are grappling with a formidable challenge: reaching for a future in sustainable tourism, while continuing to reap phenomenal royalties from a thriving manganese mine

A steady stream of bulk carriers bobbing in and out of the harbour shift up to five tonnes of high-grade ore produced at the island's open-cut mine every year, with production to continue until at least 2027.

The metal is a critical alloying agent in the production of aluminium, copper and steel, with the island contributing more than 15 per cent of the world's total manganese production.

Tied up alongside the behemoth ships sits a fishing vessel adorned with indigenous motifs - one of two such boats in a locally-owned fleet.

Onboard is fishing tour guide Johnny, a tradesman at the manganese mine, who moved to the island about 10 years ago.
 

ALUX

Active Member
@ALUX

I think this mob knicked at least one of your pics mate !!
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ing-transform-Australian-travel-hot-spot.html

The wealthy mining town where you can go for three days without seeing another person: How Groote Eylandt is trying to transform into an Australian travel hot spot
  • Groote Eylandt is an island in the waters of Australia's Gulf of Carpentaria
  • Locals are reaping royalties from the island's thriving manganese mine
  • But they want to promote Groote Eylandt as a boutique holiday destination
  • 'Tours are a lifestyle job, but the mining gig pays the bills,' a local man said
By AAP

PUBLISHED: 13:54 EST, 21 June 2016 | UPDATED: 14:39 EST, 21 June 2016


A spectacular, mineral-rich island perched in the pristine waters of Australia's Gulf of Carpentaria has a simmering battle on its hands.

Traditional custodians of Groote Eylandt are grappling with a formidable challenge: reaching for a future in sustainable, community-driven tourism, while continuing to reap phenomenal royalties from a thriving manganese mine.

The battle to ween off royalties, which have delivered untold wealth for more than 50 years, is laid bare by Groote Eylandt's waters.

Scroll down for vdeo

357FE40600000578-0-image-a-48_1466471004771.jpg


A spectacular, mineral-rich island perched in the pristine waters of Australia's Gulf of Carpentaria has a simmering battle on its hands

357FE4FF00000578-0-image-m-63_1466471610256.jpg


Traditional custodians of Groote Eylandt are grappling with a formidable challenge: reaching for a future in sustainable tourism, while continuing to reap phenomenal royalties from a thriving manganese mine

A steady stream of bulk carriers bobbing in and out of the harbour shift up to five tonnes of high-grade ore produced at the island's open-cut mine every year, with production to continue until at least 2027.

The metal is a critical alloying agent in the production of aluminium, copper and steel, with the island contributing more than 15 per cent of the world's total manganese production.

Tied up alongside the behemoth ships sits a fishing vessel adorned with indigenous motifs - one of two such boats in a locally-owned fleet.

Onboard is fishing tour guide Johnny, a tradesman at the manganese mine, who moved to the island about 10 years ago.
100% theives..
 

ALUX

Active Member
Didn't think they would have sought permission (or at least given credit for the shots) :/
Hey @Les PK Ranger
I followed it up with daily mail and ended up getting an apology from them and a cash offer to use the image (that they're already using...).

So, for the tip off I'll give you a commission (sort of).

Want to name a charity and I'll donate it to them? I'm thinking beyond blue or something like that.

A
 

greysrigging

Well-Known Member
I have lived and worked on Groote off and on since 1981....Indeed it is a truely special spot in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Back in the day we worked hard and played harder. Got up to a fair bit of mischief at the Kailis Fisheries Club at Bartalumba Bay ( as we used to say preparing for a night on the turps, " Bartas for starters...." ) We used to play scratch footy games against the locals out at Angnuragu ( us whitefellas used to live in Alyangula ). We played on the Angnuragu oval and had to go around knocking down the anthills before each game. Saw Midnight Oil in concert at Umbakumba in 1986. We had a workshop at Ndunga and the blackfellas were forever stealing our utes instead of walking the 20klm from the ARC ( Alyangula Recreation Club ). Didn't bother locking them because that meant broken quarter windows.....it was better they could be pinched and recovered from the community in the morning undamaged...lol.
There was an outbreak of Clan fighting one time and they knocked off our semi trailer. We had to hire a helicopter to find it bogged down a track near an outstation on the Umbakumba side of the Eylandt.....I had to reverse the combination for 10klm back along this track after we recovered it before I could turn around.
I lived in a camp called the XXXX Hilton, jeez she was rough. GEMCO used to run security guards to try and stop the local girls prostituting themselves to the contractors.....the going rate was 2 cans of VB or a packet of Winnie reds. Cant say it was appealing to me, but plenty used to......
Had a tribal bloke with the full on war paint, footy knicks AND a shovel nose spear call me out because he thought I had his wife in my room. I was sh*tting myself ( was the bloke next door who was the culprit ). Coppers came and took him ( the husband ) away before I was speared thank Christ !

These pics from a trip ( Shutdown job ) in 2006.
1919353_102910429725735_5166335_n.jpg
1919353_102910433059068_3135288_n.jpg
1919353_102911703058941_3699984_n.jpg
1919353_102911706392274_3827586_n.jpg
1919353_102911713058940_1813154_n.jpg
1919353_102911716392273_2649236_n.jpg
 

ALUX

Active Member
Mate thanks for sharing. Good place hey. I heard the fishos at bartalumba was the place to be. It's a pity nowadays it's the arc or dugong.
It'll be an interesting place in 15 years when the mines gone.
 

greysrigging

Well-Known Member
In its heyday, Alyangula was the prettiest town. Once upon a time the mining companies ran the towns ( like Tom Price, Mt Newman, Koolan Is, Nhulunbuy etc ) and employed plumbers, gardeners, all sorts of maintenance workers to run the towns. For all intents and purposes they were 'closed' towns, had subsidised shops, great recreational facilities and first class schools for all the kids of the good folk who ventured into the remote outback to extract the Ore.
But ( there's always a but......) times have changed, mining companies are no longer interested in running towns, they build barracks for hoards of FIFO workers and the 'elan', the 'espirit de corps', the camerarderie .....the sense of community has long gone. Alyangula is today only a shadow of its once thriving community.....the place looks tired and dated to me, empty houses and not so manicured gardens and public spaces.
And.....the grog restrictions.....I flew in to do a Shutdown in 2006.......was bad enough that us scabby contractors were put up at a notoriously bad old camp called 'Woodsville' out near the Port on the edge of town ( a 1 klm walk to the mess and the ARC ) but as visitors on a short term job contract we were not allowed to buy take away beer ! Yep, not allowed to buy a carton for the fridge in the Donga and sit down with a beer after the 12 hour shift in the hellhole of a Concentrator out at the minesite. Thats right, one has to apply to the Coppers for a licence to drink ! And it takes several weeks for the approvals. So one has to clean up and drink at the ARC or Golf Club, get signed in as a guest and pay exhorbitant bar prices for a clensing ale.
Anyway I am digressing a bit from the thread topic......i loved my time on Groote in the '80's and '90's. Was a great place to live and work and to raise a young family. I suppose one gets older and grumpier but Groote no longer does it for me, conditions and salaries we once took for granted are being slowly eroded away. We stopped sharing a room in camps there in 1981......but the lousy sods pulled this on workers only 2 months ago......times have indeed changed !
13240632_474079616095608_8273640879818085815_n.jpg
 
Top