The grey nomads are back in Katherine.
Katherine is famous on the grey nomad tourist trail as being the crossroads of the outback, where major highways feed into the town from South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia to head north along the Stuart Highway to Darwin.
Defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, this group makes up 20 per cent of the population, and the first of them are entering their retirement years now.
Some of this group of retirees, who number over 4.45 million, make the pilgrimage by road to Katherine, often from southern states, in search of warmer climes.
Julie Howe and her husband Tim, from Calliope in Queensland, have been on the road for the last month and they are loving it.
They even have their two dogs Molly and Chopper with them.
“We spent some time in north-west Queensland, there isn’t a whole lot between Mt Isa and here,” Julie said.
“Katherine is a nice place, it is really green and sub-tropical and there seems to be a lot of nice walks around town.”
Tim said he really enjoyed his trip to Nitmiluk Gorge.
“It seemed pretty dry on top because you guys had such a big wet season, but it was a nice quiet place, I liked it,” Tim said.
The pair said despite the heat, they have enjoyed their time in Katherine.
“We haven’t really interacted with many locals apart from at the shopping centre and things, but everyone has been lovely,” Julie said.
“It is so hot up here but it is nice in the shade.”
The closed hot springs and litter around town were the only disappointments.
‘There is a fair bit of rubbish and McDonald’s rubbish around the hot springs,” Tim said.
“I walked right down to the Low Level and saw lots of maccas strewn around, I couldn’t help myself, I had to pick it up.”
“But the middle of town is great, my first impression was it was so clean and green,” Julie said.
David and Anita from Wagin, Western Australia said they don’t consider themselves to be grey nomads.
“We are a bit younger than the grey nomad crowd, they all get together for five o’clock happy hour but we tend to keep to ourselves,” Anita said.
“Most travellers are really social, you end up meeting the same people in different places along the road.”
David and Anita also said the closed and messy hot springs were a downside.
“We went down to the hot springs yesterday, once they clean it up, it looks like it will be a nice spot,” David said.
“We just came up from Mataranka, the pools were nice and clean, David caught a big barra in Bitter Springs,” Anita said.
Judy Roetlandts from Laurienton NSW hit the road with her husband in December last year and has parked her van at Boab Caravan Park.
“The town is really quiet and nice and the caravan park is well maintained, it is one of the best we have been to,” Judy said.
“We went down to the hot springs this morning but the road was closed so that was a bit disappointing,”
“I haven’t seen any camels or emus which is what I was expecting, there doesn’t seem to be much wildlife around here.”
Judy and her husband have spent the last few years travelling around Australia picking fruit.
“We picked grapes, nectarines, apples and cherries, cherry picking was the easiest job I have ever had.”