A Travellerspoint blog

Alice Springs and Macdonnell Ranges

The Alice!

This blog has to be dedicated to my 2 lovely sisters who both had a birthday at the end of July. Sorry we couldn't call you but we were out of Telstra range and also socialising on the town last night. Will be calling tonight!

Apart from travelling, socialising and sightseeing we are quite often out of range to do any blogging/emailing/interneting and hence the gap in blogs. The photos in the blogs can be clicked on to enlarge them a bit.

Who would have thought you would be wearing beanies and winter woollies in the Alice. Nicky is in heaven - it means no reptiles around. It is after all winter in the west! We arrived in Alice late afternoon did some shopping and I had to have my latte before heading to our caravan park for the next few nights. Across the road I spotted a shop selling paintings and didgeridoos, so I thought I would wander in to check out the prices. I have heard that didgeridoos are good to help you stop snoring! Met a guy there who showed me how to play his huge didgeridoo! He was good and I wish I had the camera with me when he was playing it. Minds out of the gutter please!

He is a white guy who learnt to play from the Aboriginals many years ago when he was young. He suggested that we go to a bar that night if we wanted to see a really good band with a good didgeridoo player. So we did. And you wouldn't guess it was him playing with some fellow band players. They were fantastic.Bought their CD. We had been warned not to go out in Alice at night but we never felt unsafe. Having said that we weren't wandering the streets but were in the Rock Bar for the time the band was playing.

We really like Alice Springs. Had to walk around town the next day whilst Kea campers checked out our van problems and hopefully able to diagnose the problem for us. This he did very successfully for the central locking part and we wished he had the time and resources to fix it for us. Unfortunately this was not going to happen so we have to go to Ford and start again.
sunset on Alice Springs

sunset on Alice Springs

Whilst in Alice Springs we went to a place called Desert Park. Geoff didn't want to go due to cost. When a lady here told us you can get 2 for 1 tickets he suddenly decided to come along. He didn't regret it and would now have paid the full price of $20 each. It was an open air park all about life in the desert and was fantastic. Spent about 4-6 hours there looking at all the amazing life in a desert. You would think that it was all sand but it's not. We even got a recorded guide with headphones to explain stuff. All this for $16 for 2 (seniors discount). Basically the park is divided into 3 areas - desert rivers, woodlands and desert sands. There are also guided talks about bush tucker, aboriginal culture etc. Check out the views and the things we saw.
entrance to Desert Park museum

entrance to Desert Park museum

red kangaroos at Desert Park

red kangaroos at Desert Park

birds of prey show at Desert Park

birds of prey show at Desert Park

emu sitting down

emu sitting down

Desert Park

Desert Park

3 red-tailed cockatoos

3 red-tailed cockatoos

walking around Desert Park

walking around Desert Park

some bird that looks like a statue

some bird that looks like a statue

There was also a nocturnal museum with live animals in a very dark theatre which you can see once you get your 'night eyes'. Will have to leave that to the video because my still camera couldn't pick up anything except the lit up windows when you first come in and see all the lizards - small ones that is. At least they didn't focus so much on the reptiles. Mostly there were a lot of mammals - possums, quolls, desert rats and mice etc.
nocturnal window at Desert Park museum

nocturnal window at Desert Park museum

We also learnt why the dirt is red in the 'red centre' and probably in WA as well. It is due to erosion over many years from the mountains, which are full of minerals. One of these minerals is iron. Iron eventually rusts (oxidises) due to the elements and hence the red colours. Amazing!

We decided to go to the East Macdonnell Ranges which is about a half day trip to see various gorges and rockpools. It looks really nice and one of the camping spots we loved - Trephina gorge, was cheap to stay in, so if we have more time then we may stay at Trephina Gorge. The dry river beds with the gum trees are quite spectacular as are the granite cliffs surrounding it.
a dryish river bed at Trephina Gorge

a dryish river bed at Trephina Gorge


Trephina Gorge rock

Trephina Gorge rock


Trephina gorge outlook

Trephina gorge outlook


The Todd River that runs along Alice is dry unless it is raining which is rare. There are communities living on the dry river bed in town and some people have drowned when the water/rains finally come through. Also a few drunks who just lie on the railway tracks or the road and quite often the police have to come and take them away. Last night there was a guy in the middle of the road at the Rock Bar where we were looking out the windows. The police arrived in 5 mins and put him in the paddy wagon.
Todd River in Alice Springs

Todd River in Alice Springs


Yes we went back there with some other lovely people we met in the caravan park (Robyn and Ted). We told them how good the band was but unfortunately one of the band members were sick so our didgeridoo player was not on! I offered to serenade them with my didgeridoo playing - sounds more like a bunch of raspberries right now (and I still snore)!
the didgeridoo player!

the didgeridoo player!

The Todd river is also well known for the Todd on Henley which is held in Aug. They make cardboard boats, bath boats etc and race in the Todd river because it is dry. I have seen it on TV and now it means something after seeing it.
Todd River in Alice Springs

Todd River in Alice Springs

After seeing the East Macdonnell ranges we also had to see the more touristed part of the West Macdonnell ranges. There are about 7 turnoffs to see things and at the end was our 2 night stay at Glen Helen gorge and resort. We were facing the cliffs and it was really beautiful. Dinner under the stars and sunset on the cliffs - how romantic! Only thing was that I had to cook and wash the dishes?? Matt we wish you had been here to explain all the stars and planets to us??? Geoff was missing your commentary!
sunset @ Glen Helen resort

sunset @ Glen Helen resort

sunset on cliffs at Glen Helen resort

sunset on cliffs at Glen Helen resort

sunset at Glen Helen resort

sunset at Glen Helen resort

Glen Helen gorge

Glen Helen gorge

The various turnoffs were so different and each one very unique. See the photos.
Standly Chasm at midday

Standly Chasm at midday

Standly Chasm West Macdonnell ranges

Standly Chasm West Macdonnell ranges

Ormiston Gorge

Ormiston Gorge

a ghost gum

a ghost gum

walk to lookout Ormiston gorge

walk to lookout Ormiston gorge

who did the Larapinta trail?

who did the Larapinta trail?

Ochre pits

Ochre pits

down by the billabong!

down by the billabong!

We spent another half day in Alice Springs again waiting for Ford to diagnose the van problem with doors and air con. The time was well spent going by bus to the School of the air. It's a wonderful school covering a huge area about 1.3 million square kms. Only 140 students who live on stations in the outback. The school is as much about socialisation as it is about learning. You can see the teacher/s behind a glass panel giving lessons on computer a bit like skype but a special program created for the school. The kids also get one on one lessons so are really keen to learn and don't have the discipline problems that you would get in a normal school. It was really interesting to see how it works live. You can see the photo.
school of the air Alice Springs

school of the air Alice Springs


Well that's it for now until after the Rock. We leave on Sunday for Ayers Rock which is 450 kms away and after that Kings Canyon which is about 300 kms from the Rock. The weather is still wintery and beautiful. Temps are around 20 by day and 7 or less by night. It can vary of course. We had rain today and the last few days were a bit warm around 28.

Posted by blondnomad 20:01 Archived in Australia Tagged automotive

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