Sunday, 20 July 2008

Alice Springs - part 1

It was only a short drive from Stuarts Well to Alice Springs and we were just about the first to check in at the Big 4 MacDonnell Range Park at 9.30am! The park here has grass on the sites which is really exciting for us as we have been camped on sand or dirt or stones just about the whole way. Its amazing the difference grass beneath your feet makes!
Friday night the park advertised a slide presentation. We sat out under the stars and watched and listened to a very passionate and committed ranger. It was a great night and would stand us in good stead for the rest of our visit.
On Saturday we thought we would go to Simpsons Gap, Palm Valley and Hermannsburg which are reasonable distances from here. We have been in the habit of not turning on the TV or radio and really enjoying it and discovering that it doesn’t matter if we don’t hear the news. However, it really is a good idea to listen to the weather and not rely on sticking your head out the caravan to decide on what to wear or what to do. Bad move on this day. We experienced a once a year dust storm and made it as far as Simpson’s Gap where we were really nearly blown off our feet. When we finally conceded defeat we felt (and probably) looked as though we had been sand blasted. Back to the park to reconsider our options, and to redo the whites washing which I had carefully soaked and scrubbed by hand to remove some of the red sand of Uluru.
Off to some inside touring we visited the Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame which is located at the old Gaol so we have two experiences for one. It was a great afternoon learning about the role of women here and throughout Australia. We felt somewhat like a pair of wimps for not going on with our morning plans after we saw what the pioneer women endured.
Sunday was a better day although cooler and began very well for Ian as breakfast was provided by the park in the form of pancakes and tea. It was the best mobile pancake machine I have ever seen and turned out 25 magnificent pancakes at a time. Everyone was well satisfied, some even returned for seconds, no guessing who!
Being well satisfied we set out for the Transport Heritage Centre which encompasses the National Transport Hall of Fame, Old Ghan Museum and Tea Room and Kenworth Dealer Hall of Fame. It was a very busy morning and again we learnt. This time it was the role of the trucking industry in bringing goods and services to the outback and opening up the outback for settlement. It’s the sort of thing you don’t think about or read about and the museum was a great place to visit. We also saw some interesting vehicles one of which is on today.
After a cup of tea in the tea rooms we moved on to the Arts precinct and saw the 2008 Beannie Exhibition which was really great. Some of the beanies were extraordinary. At the same venue we saw some beautiful more traditional works by Albert Namatjira and also some indigenous painting and also a very informative video.
Onward and upward we then went to the Desert Park where we watched a show on Australian birds of prey which was very interesting with birds swooping overhead followed by a couple of hours on a self guided tour of the park, finishing with a movie in the cinema on the beginnings of Australia.
It was a great day and I’m sure we will have another exciting one tomorrow.

No comments: