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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!!

Day 8 - Boulia to Alice Springs

Day 8, we left Boulia at 7:30 am heading west along the Donohue Highway. Today was going to be one of our longest drives.

Alice Springs is 806km away and there is not very much in between. The first exciting thing we came to was the border of the Northern Territory and Queensland after 3 hours of driving. I have never been to NT so it was pretty exciting.

As we crossed the border, the road changed names to the Plenty Highway. We started to see termite mounds in the bush on both sides of the road. We had heard about a big one along the way – but when we saw how big it was – it was HUGE!     (Checkout the gallery)

We continued on towards the first fuel in 477km… Jervois Station, but about 80km before we got there, we blew another trailer tire

Dad is getting pretty quick at changing them now  – but once again we had no spare – and we were still 400km away from any town.

We got fuel at Jervois and continued on carefully.

We stopped at Atitjere Aboriginal Community – where I got a Golden Gaytime and a Coke.

We finally got to some tarmac and drove the last 160Km into Alice Springs after 10 ½ hours driving.

Just out of Alice Springs we made 1 final stop, there is a marker on the side of the road showing where the line is for the Tropic of Capricorn.

Once we got to the Caravan Park we are staying in at Alice – we set up the tent and got to watch a show put on by a guy singing Australian bush songs. He played the guitar, a harmonica and sang, he was very good at all three.
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Day 7 - Birdsville to Boulia

Day 7, we got up early and packed up the trailer. Then we went to the bakery to get some bread, before we headed out to the edge of the Simpson Desert to see “Big Red”.  This is one of the biggest Sand dunes in the desert.  We drove up to the top where I got out so I could take photos as dad drove down and then back over again.

After a good look at the desert, we drove back into Birdsville where we picked up the trailer and went back to the hotel where I bought some souvenirs.

Then we headed north towards Bedourie, on the way we saw a shoe tree!! :huh:  This was a road sign that people had hung lots of different types of shoes on.  They do some very strange things out here!

We saw some ruins of another homestead along the way and some Waddi trees, these are very old trees from the time of the dinosaurs.  The explorer Wills had some seeds from these in his diary when he was found.

We camped on the banks of the Burke River in Boulia. :camp:
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Day 6 - Innamincka to Birdsville

We got up nice and early so we could get to the mechanics and buy a new tire. We had a lady take the tire off the rim. It was quite quick to be over and done with so we were back out on the road by about 9:50am.

We took the Cordillo Downs road north towards Birdsville. The road for most of the trip was quite smooth and comfortable driving but in some parts in was very corrugated and rough. Some parts were even soft and sandy. On the way we saw an old sheep shearing shed which in its peek held the record for the most sheep shorn in one season.

We also stopped at the Cadelga Homestead ruins, the people that lived there had to abandon their property during a really bad drought.

Along this road there were lots of gates – I had to get out heaps of times to open and close them so we could pass. It got very annoying.

When we arrived in Birdsville we met one of dad’s friends from the Land Rover Club, after talking to them for a while Dad and I spent some time walking the river banks taking photos of the hundreds of birds there.

We had dinner at the Birdsville pub with Dad’s friends. I had Steak and chips that was YUMMY :food:



Day 5 - An Extra Day in Innamincka

Day 5 was a very unplanned and boring day. :ThD:  The problem was because we blew the tire the day before we now had no spare tires for the trailer and dad and I thought it was too risky to try and keep going without any spares. We tried going to the mechanics in Innamincka but it was shut because it was Sunday. We had to wait ‘till the next day before we could get a new spare. That meant we had a whole day to waste.

We started off by blogging some more as you have probably seen. The only problem was the internet was REALLY, REALLY SLOW. The actual blogging wasn’t so bad but uploading the photos to the gallery was horrendous! It took us nearly 1 hour to upload only 7.4MB! :grrPC:

By that stage it was about 11am so we decided to go for a drive without the trailer. We saw lots of cool things like a memorial to the explorer Wills (second in charge under Bourke), Kings site (another one of Bourke’s men) and the Jolokia 1 geothermal well.

We headed back to the hotel and just decided to bludge for the rest of the day. From about 3pm onwards we fiddled with photos, dad read his book and we both watched some T.V.

We had an early night so we could get going early the next morning.



Day 4 - Cameron Corner to Innamincka

On day 4 we drove from Cameron’s Corner to Innamincka via the Bore track. Before we left dad fueled the car up and bought some ice and a Cameron’s Corner cap souvenir for me J (thanks dad). We had met a man the night before in the campsite who was going the same way but was alone. Dad agreed to travel with him as far as Innamincka. The Bore track was a real mix of good smooth road, rocky and hard road and corrugated and bumpy. The drive wasn’t very interesting because we didn’t see any animals or anything but flat plains, sand dunes and plants.

When we arrived we had a look in the trading post (Innamincka’s only shop aside from the Hotel) everything was really expensive. I wanted to buy another hat but they were $25ea so I thought that was a bit too expensive. I bought a fluro green Innamincka stubby holder instead.

We decided to go for a drive to Cullyamurra Waterhole and the grave the famous explorer Robert O’Hara Bourke. He was the leader of the great Victorian expedition (the first European men to cross Australia South to North). Apart from the heat the water hole was great. There was a lot of different birds like pelicans, willy wag tails, pidgeons, cormorants and some eagles (we also found the eagles nests) we took lots of photos.

We also visited the dig tree. This is located at the site of Bourke and Wills 1860 base camp on Cooper Creek. Many people think the dig tree has a face carved into it but it turns out this is not true. The dig tree has words carved into it and about 10 metres away from it another tree to remember Bourke. In that tree there is a face carved.

On the way back from the dig tree about 20km out of Innamincka we blew our second tire on the trailer ( that meant that we had no more spares for the trailer.  :( ) Dad and I were very disappointed.

We got back to Innamincka very annoyed so we decided to book a hotel room just to chill out. It was really nice to sleep in a bed.