Monday, August 7, 2017

Out toward the West MacDonnell Ranges

We are lucky to be staying with the Pringles, 17 kms out of Alice Springs at the Simpson's Gap turnoff.  Jude and Nick are Sarah Pringle's parents and we used to look after Sarah's dog Archie when she lived in Canberra.  Sadly, Sarah and Archie are now back living in the NT, in Darwin where Sarah is a lawyer.  Jude and Nick have made us very welcome.  We had two delightful meals with them in their beautiful house.

Here we are at dinner, eating Jude's delicious curry and also apricot chicken.  She used
her Thermomix and I showed her how to use her pressure cooker - a combined effort.  She also gave me several recipes as she is a good and keen cook, a woman after my own heart.

Today we re-visited the great Desert Park where all the creatures of Central Australia have been gathered and put on display in one accessible location. The predominantly open-air exhibits faithfully re-create the animals' natural environment with helpful information boards which explain seasonal changes.  The bird display allows the visitor to see owls, eagles and other birds of prey swoop for food.

This floral and landscape applique quilt measuring 145 cm x 90 cm in the foyer of the park attempts to demonstrate the rapid eruption into flower of the plants, shrubs and trees of Central Australia after rain.

A pair of bustards, the male on the left and the female on the right.  The bustard is Australia's largest bird.  The male is displaying all its glory to woo the female.

Black parrots.

                                                        A healthy young male dingo.

Together with his sister.  They are neutered as the park requested a non-mating pair for display.

A thorny devil displayed in the nocturnal house.

We then started travelling west starting with Simpson's Gap.

Simpson's Gap is just around the corner from Jude and Nick's house.  It is a very lovely gap in the ranges.

Next we came to Standley Chasm which is on Aboriginal land and there is a fee to be paid.

The rocks have been gouged through tough sandstone by the floods that over untold millions of years have surged down the narrow tributary of the Finke River system.  Today, the result is a deep red cleft crowded in either side by craggy slopes that rise 80 m above the floor.  The north-south orientation of the chasm allows direct sunlight to enter for only approximately 90 minutes each day around mid-day illuminating the walls with an impressive glow.

And this is one of my favourites, Ellery Creek Big Hole.  The water is very deep and very very cold. Last time we were here Andrew swam right across to the sandbar in the distance.  This time we only sat on the shore and then had to rush back to the motor home where Maxi was waiting for us.

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