Alice to Tennant Creek

20th July, 2003
21st July, 2003

Sunday 20th July, 2003

Desert Pea photograph

Sturt's Desert Pea growing at Alice Springs Desert Park

Drop Cap p earlyish again to leave by 07:45 in order to get four hours in at the Alice Springs Desert Park. This is a very interesting and spread out park, showcasing the birds and animals of the various habitats found in Central Australia.

Wedgetailed Eagle photograph

Wedgetailed Eagle at the Birds of Prey Show

Drop Cap hey had a nocturnal house where resided all sorts of small insignificant animals, which if not already endangered, should be. I know it's politically incorrect not to worry about endangered mice etc, but I can't get all excited about it. We saw a very good Birds of Prey show which had a barn owl, a falcon and even a young wedge-tailed eagle. The park was very good generally and if my feet had not been so sore I would have enjoyed it more.

Namatjira's Grave photograph

Grave of Albert Namatjira, Alice Springs

Drop Cap e bought some sandwiches to bring back to the hotel for lunch before embarking again, first to the Flying Doctor Base, at which it was interesting to see the Comms Room, similar to the Emergency Ops Centre but smaller. Then we went to the cemetery, where we saw the graves of Albert Namatjira, the landscape artist and Harold Lassetter, who died while looking for his lost gold reef.

Lassetter's Grave photograph

Grave of Harold Lassetter, Alice Springs

Old Telegraph Station photograph

Old Telegraph Station, Alice Springs

Drop Cap hen we went to the old Telegraph Station on the site of the original Alice Springs (actually a seep). We were guided around the historic buildings by Alec Ross, a half aboriginal of great charm and intelligence who had lived there as a boy, as one of the so called "stolen generation". He has nothing but gratitude for having been rescued from a terrible situation. Refreshing.

Alice Springs photograph

Alice Springs from Anzac Hill

Drop Cap e went from there to the highest spot in Alice, Anzac Hill, where Mac took a photo and we came home to do a load of washing.
A Chinese meal at the Hong Kong Cafe in Todd Mall, and home.

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Monday 21st July, 2003

School of the Air photograph

Mural at the School of the Air, Alice Springs

Drop Cap oday we left Alice and half the bus load who were heading home and went on with only 20. Our first stop was at the Alice Springs School of the Air. This was fascinating, a real look at isolation. Anne, an American teacher travelling with us, could not seem to understand why the Internet and messaging was not used more instead of the crackly antique radios. Lack of telephone cables and a constant electricity supply helps explain it. A car battery can run a radio, but not a computer. As there is a constant need for library books, one of the things you can donate is money for books so I bought two for $10-00 each and filled in the presentation vouchers. I believe in kids having books!

Bond Springs photograph

Historic Cottages at Bond Springs Station

Drop Cap hen we went on up the Stuart Highway to Bond Springs Station, where four of our number had a farmstay last night. We saw the historic first houses at the station and contrasted the wattle and daub huts with the lovely new station homestead with swimming pool etc. Here we were reunited with our four and had morning tea with fresh muffins. Very nice.

Tropic of Capricorn photograph

Crossing into the Tropic of Capricorn

Drop Cap e have been running through GABA all day so have been dozing a bit. During the morning we crossed into the Tropic of Capricorn so are officially in the tropics. We didn't have any crossing the line ceremonies though.

Wrecks photograph

Historic vehicles at Wauchope Roadhouse

Drop Cap e had lunch (chicken satay stick and two wing dings, a carton of chips and a drink - $7-50, very reasonable) at Ti Tree Roadhouse. Then continued to Wauchope, a very primitive sort of place with exhibits of ancient and rusting car and tractor bodies, where Mac spent the break inspecting a road train that was hauling railway track for the new Alice - Darwin Railway. The whole place reminded me of the "Cars that ate Paris".

Drop Cap hen - ta dah! - The Devil's Marbles!

Devil's Marbles photograph

The Devil's Marbles

Drop Cap hese are weathered igneous granite, in great contrast to the sandstone that we have been seeing lately. No wonder the local aborigines thought they were the eggs of the Rainbow Serpent.

Devil's Marbles photograph

Mac's Marble

Drop Cap hey were scattered around, balancing on each other, looking incredible. They were the same colour as Uluru, but when sandblasted, as one was to clean off graffiti, they were grey granite. An incredible sight!

Devil's Marbles photograph

More Devil's Marbles

Devil's Marbles photograph

Exploring the Devil's Marbles

Drop Cap fter this, more GABA until we reached Tennant Creek where we have quite a unique room in the Bluestone Motel. The rooms are modular and built in six sided units. Quite comfy though.

Drop Cap ad a pleasant meal, sharing our table with Rosemary, our tour director, and her husband Lou, our driver. They shared our views on Sails in the Desert, funnily enough, but say since there is no competition, there is no incentive to change. True enough.
(Note: GABA is an acronym for Great Australian Bugger All.)

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