Saturday, April 30, 2011

Trephina Gorge last shots

Just another shot of the gorge and the cliffs towering above.

We are leaving Alice Springs today and heading towards Queensland and will be leaving the Northern Territory so a few more shots are in order.

We have to say that we are very impressed with all the camping grounds in the Northern Territory. They are all well maintained and with the exception of the two resort style campgrounds they are very very reasonably priced and to our amazement, in isolated areas, with flushing toilets and often with solar hot water showers – all for $6.60 per person. The ones that do not have showers are only $3.30. And they all have excellent gas barbecues as well as gas ring burners.

The cliffs again.

Like a slice of cake.

and the last shot of the gorge.
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John Hayes rockhole

This rockhole with its steep narrow rockwalls is 4 kms from Trephina Gorge and the track is pretty hair raising so we did not take our vehicles in but walked the 4kms in and got a lift back.

The photo is of me swimming across the first rockhole while Andrew got across by rock climbing.

John Hayes rockhole is a popular swimming spot and 4WD enthusiasts from Alice Springs come out here for a dip during the warmer months.

The first rockhole. There are two more above and there is a chain of ponds walk.

Andrew at the top of the second rockhole.

A quiet shot.

This photo is taken from above the second rockhole.

Looking down again.

The walk to the lookout above the rockholes.

View of the gorge on the chain of ponds walk.

and of the quartzite cliffs again.
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Trephina Gorge East MacDonell Ranges

The River Todd at Alice Springs is the dividing line between the spectacular West MacDonell and the slightly less spectacular but nevertheless impressive East MacDonnell Ranges.

We spent a weekend at Trephina Gorge which does not usually have water in it except for one waterhole. The waterhole was not there this time as the sand must have filled it in. The gorge had trickling running water in it but not swimmable.

Trephina Gorge is known for its sheer quartzite cliffs, red river gums and sandy creek bed.

The water is very slight.

The sides of the gorge are a spectacular quartzite and they are beautiful to look at. We did a gorge rim walk and also one to the lookout.

The cliff sides of the gorge again.

One of of favourite breakfasts, jaffles when we are in a position to have an open fire.

And about to scoff them jaffles.
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Alice bridge club celebrates royal wedding

We played at the Alice Bridge club last night but due to the floor of the club being polished the game was held at someone's house and the members decided to dress for the occasion of His Royal Highness' and Kate Middleton's wedding.

Here are some of the players before the game.

At the table.

We were not dressed for the occasion. It is just as well we had not known about it because we had no appropriate formal attire with us.

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The Old Telegraph Station

This was the origin of the name Alice Springs, named in honour of Charles Todd's wife. It is not really a spring at all it is just a depression on the river bed where water gets trapped between the granite.

The Old Telegraph Station in Alice Springs was opened as a museum in the 1960s. It closed its operations in 1932. Construction of the Overland Telegraph from Port Darwin to Adelaide is recognised as one of the great engineering feats of the nineteenth century. Prior to telgraph, news and letters from Europe took at least 2 months to reach the Australian colonies.

The OTS was the first white settlement in Central Australia. The first telegraph message was sent on 23 January 1871 from Alice Springs to Adelaide. The "singing wire" was strung across 3000 kms of country that was largely unexplored. It was constructed within two years and completed in 1872.

Nothing to do with the telegraph. Just a plane used by the Flying Doctor Service, another great pioneering feat.
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The best butcher shop I have come across

Fancy coming to Central Australia to be in the best butcher shop. The range of products in this shop is phenomenal including cheeses and delicatessen products too. The shop is Milner Meat and Seafood corner of Milner and Gason Street.

As well as the traditional cuts of meat they also stock camel, kangaroo, goat, ducks.

The range of things we came away with. Roast kangaroo. camel, goat and strips of smoked salmon. Camel is on the barbie for dinner tonight.
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A town like Alice

Alice Springs - a lovely town almost 1500 kms from the nearest capital city. "The Alice" is an oasis of modern civilisation in the middle of a vast and largely uninhabited desert. The MacDonnell Ranges provide a wonderful and picturesque backdrop for the town. The ranges stretch 400 kms from east to west on either side of Alice Springs.

The same massive earth movement that gave shape to much of Central Australia and also created Uluru and Kata Tjuta created the ranges aged between 310 to 340 million years ago.

Another shot from Anzac Hill.

See how green it is.  

Todd Mall.
This photo is of the Sunday market being held at Todd Mall every second Sunday of the month.

Eating feral food again at the Red Ochre cafe.

Adelaide House, the first hospital in Central Australia established by the Rev Dr John Flynn who also set up the Flying Doctor Service.

An photograph of Adelaide House in the olden days. What is now Todd Mall runs along the clearing.
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Some more sights in the outback

A particularly fetching rock on our walk in the area around Palm Valley.

Andrew to the rescue - two damsels in distress. They managed to get their 4WD bogged in sand. They had not realised you have to let your tyres down when navigating in sand. The operation was successful.

Another shot of Standley Chasm with the mid-day sunlight.

Simpsons Gap coming up.

The permanent waterhole in the Gap.

We have seen quite a few of these marvellous benches and tables around Central Australia.

A roo resting at the Desert park in Alice Springs.

A tawny owl at the park. We went to a bird feeding exhibition which was great. What was really impressive was how the birds were trained to fly hither and thither on cue
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