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Days 15 & 16 - Stuck In Alice Springs a Little Longer

Wednesday morning during my regular check under the bonnet and under the car I found the rear end covered in diesel.  After some investigation it appeared that the high pressure fuel line from the tank to the filter was leaking.  Reason no. 2 for staying in Alice a little longer. :ThD:

I took the car to the local Land Rover dealer – Sutton Motors, who diagnosed a cracked hose and also found the fuel pressure regular leaking. This meant getting parts in – so we were stuck for at least another day.

Being well prepared we have RACV totalcare – who I contacted as soon as I realised we would be without a car until we got a repair. I am pretty disappointed to say the help was not anywhere near as good as I had hoped.  On initial contact they agreed to cover additional accommodation here – and to provide a hire car until our car was repaired, all looked pretty promising. Unfortunately a bit more than two hours later I was contacted by another RACV person – that appeared to have no idea what had been arranged or what we needed. After some explanation she understood what we needed – but when she called back I was told there were no hire cars available at all in Alice Springs… so the family where on foot!  We used a Taxi to get back to the trailer – which the RACV will be reimbursing us for – but to my total astonishment rather than offering to help the following day it was suggested I call them back to get them to try again!

We didn’t bother – as after contacting Sutton’s and explaining the situation – they did all they could to get my car back on the road ASAP. I had it back by 3pm Thursday after flying in the part we needed and to my astonishment the cost was no more than I would have paid in Melbourne.

Suttons – thank you for great service and assistance.  :lr:

RACV – I think there will be further correspondence over the gap between the promises and the delivery.

We spent Wednesday and Thursday pretty much killing time, got some washing and blogging done, and organised ourselves ready to head out to Palm Valley on friday.

We will be heading straight to Uluru from there and then come back to Kings Canyon early next week.

We’ll post some more and get some more photos up when we get a chance and have signal.

There are heaps more photos to come once I get them organised – so far between the 4 cameras we have amassed nearly 3000 photos!

Stay tuned for more updates!….

Day 14 - Alice Springs - West MacDonnell Ranges

After some discussion we decided to change our plans a little and rather than camping out at Redbank Gorge – we decided to stay here and day trip to that area. Just as well we did as the trailer would not have fitted in the marked campsites at Redbank! We headed west along the well trodden tourist route – lots more rocks and gorges! We stopped at Ellery Creek Big Hole which had very little water in it, Serpentine Gorge, the Ochre Pits where the local tribes used to mine Ochre for their paint and to trade but our favorite along this stretch was Ormiston Gorge. It had quite a lot of water and was very spectacular. Then we continued around to Gosse Bluff which is a meteor crater from 130million years ago, today it’s nearly 5 km wide, but they estimate it was as big as 20 after impact – what we see is what is left after millions of years of erosion! We were able to drive right inside it (4wd only) and climbed a steep path to a lookout which a spectacular view. This was a highlight of the day.  On the way back to Alice we were able to give the girls a short demonstration of outback corrugations as the road from Gosse Bluff to Palm valley was pretty ordinary.

We stopped in at Palm Valley just to check the trailer will fit in the campsite – as we have noticed many a very small sites making it impossible with the style of camper we tow.  This is a spectacular place after a 21 km 4wd route in following the creek bed in many sections.  We will be returning here to camp in the next day or so.

We then went up Anzac hill to watch the sunset over the town – very pretty.

Sunset Over Alice

After dinner tonight, we came across our first reason for spending a little longer in Alice…After another evening bouncing on the jumping pillow in the park and messing around with the dozens of kids here, Josh had a bit of a crash….a couple of hours in Alice Springs hospital and 3 stitches later – good as new! :prop: .. but we decided to stay an extra day just to be sure all was ok before moving on.

Day 13 - Alice Springs - Around Town

We spend today visiting several of the attractions in Alice Springs itself, firstly we went to the School of the Air – without a doubt if you are in Alice spring you have to come here – we all really enjoyed it – and where very impressed by the whole operation.   We then went and took a look around the old Telegraph Station; they were obviously pretty tough back then!

Old Telegraph Station

After lunch in “town”, we visited the RFDS base – where we saw 2 real flights being coordinated and went around a museum showing us how the service has changed since it started.  We then visited the Reptile Park which was interesting – but as the day was so hot we didn’t stay long.

This evening there was free didgeridoo demonstration from a guy called Marshall Whyler   who was excellent, a terrific way to end another busy but enjoyable day.

Day 12 - Alice Springs - Owen Springs and Standley Chasm

We started the day with lots of pancakes put on by the park we are staying in – a fantastic place to stay – especially if you have kids.

We then headed south firstly to explore the Owen springs area and then look for more “gorges”!!

Owen Springs Homestead Ruins 1 Owen Springs Homestead Ruins 2

The Owen Springs track was a 4wd only and very dry, no water in any of the water holes or creeks. But lots of evidence of just how much water comes through here when it rains.  Near Lawrence Gorge we saw obvious flood debris hanging in tree branches at least 30ft up from the dry creek bed…very wild and spectacular country.

Lawence Gorge Campsite near Old Owen Springs Homestead

On the way back to Alice from Owen Springs we visited Standley Chasm and the grave of John Flynn. He was the founding force behind the RFDS, Bush hospitals and many other services to the people of this remote area.

Day 11 - Alice Springs - East MacDonnell Ranges

We drove out into the East MacDonnell Ranges – which was a bit of a “Gap” and “Gorge” tour!!  We stopped at Emily and Jessie Gaps we saw some Aboriginal rock painting before continuing to Corroboree Rock and then Trephina Gorge which was by far our favourite. On the way into Trephina we took a short 4wd side track to Visit the John Hayes waterhole and the John Hayes gorge. At Trephina gorge the kids met a researcher from a WA university who was collecting scorpions!  He has a large black example to show the kids that he had caught at Palm Valley – where we intend to stay in the next few days!!! We also took a walk  :walk:  at Trephina that followed the rim of the gorge before returning along the sand floor. Very spectacular!

Trephina Gorge 4

We continued out to NDhala Gorge (another 4wd only access) where we saw some Aboriginal petroglyphs, but everyone was pretty tired and hot by then so we only walked part of the gorge. – Looks like we need to come back some time.  :mrgreen:

Day 10 - Alice Springs Desert Park

Today we went to the Desert Park. This was really fascinating; we saw lots of desert flora and fauna laid out in different parts of the park based on the different types of environments found in central Australia.  We also went back here for a guided Nocturnal tour which was great. We saw several endangered species as we walked around a part of the park which is not generally open to the public The rangers that took this walk were very knowledgeable both about the aboriginal cultural interpretation of what we saw as well as a more scientific view.

Desert Park Landscape

Day 9 - Alice Springs

Haven’t posted for a while now because we’ve been busy playing tourist in and around Alice! Yes we are still here!! But that is another story – More on that in a few posts! :Whistle:

Thursday the girls arrived in Alice – in the rain!! :rain:  After we had finished setting up the campsite. The day was mainly spent getting organised and then we went to the Todd Mall Night Market which was part of The Desert Festival. This is where Katherine bought herself some real Aboriginal Artwork.

The cloud hung around all day but then it started to get REALLY hot until the last couple of days, even the locals have complaining about the heat!!