The highlight of Alice Springs was the Desert Park, you can easily spend the entire day there (and part of the night too, to see some nigh animals) and I strongly recommend it! There are several talks during the days, we went to the bird viewing and talk, which was fun and entertaining,
Then the bush tucker presentation (traditional Aboriginal food), and there was a lot of talk about hunting, looking for water, but also foraging (below some interesting edible plants, and if you remember I showed you the bush bananas here). The Aboriginal guide showed us some pretty cool tools and boomerangs, and I loved these wood containers, maybe because there are what the women use for foraging (mostly plants) and I even bought one for myself. I may use it to pick kahikatea berries in New Zealand!
The Desert Park hosts several plants and desert flowers, animal enclosures, easy walks and things to do. We also went to the museum, but no photos (not allowed), and for the aviation part of the museum... I didn't have any more battery. Still, I satisfied my curiosity about the famous Flying Doctors!
|Walking around the old Telegraph Statin and an Emu|
Then around the city there are several walks, like around the old Telegraph Station, and of course the MacDonnell Ranges, so beautiful at sunset, but at every hour of the day too really! Arantxa took this funny photo of me posing in front of the MacDonnell Ranges (unaware of Max in the background pulling faces!). Out of focus unfortunately, but it makes me smile so I will share it with you ;-).
After a few days in Alice Springs we drove to Uluru and Kata Tjuta, it took about 5 and a half hours and on the way you can see a lot of desert and the beautiful monolith Artilla (aboriginal name), or Mount Conner (some people call it Connor or even O'Connor...it was quite strange to look it up on Google and find all these names for it!!).
|Artilla (aboriginal name), or Mount Conner|
Then it was exciting to meet a dingo. Isn't he cute?!?
Unfortunately we also saw a bush fire. At first we saw some really black smoke in the distance, then a lot of fire, and it didn't look like a normal bush fire (done on purpose to control plant growth). As we keep driving the fire got closer and closer to the road until it was on the border of it... and then we saw the cause: a car and trailer had cought fire! Fortunately the passengers (a family with 4 kids) managed to escape in time, and the gasoline truck that was coming up on the other side of the road stopped 50 metres before the car exploded. The police was arriving just as we were driving away, followed by the fire truck, and the news was in the paper the day after. I could not believe how fast fire had spread in such a short time, quite scary really!
We returned to Alice Springs in time to see the Camel Cup. Central Australia is full of camels, they were 'imported' to carry provisions to the first settlers, and then let free when no longer needed, and now they live wild in the the desert (a bit too many, apparently). I think that there are still a couple of camel farms around Alice Springs (we saw one) to give tourists a ride, and the Camel Cup has became a unique event for Alice Springs. The races were classified as 'safe' for the animals, and camels looked quite uncomfortable to ride really! Some camels run and some just decided to walk, a few went the wrong way, or tipped off their riders (especially in the first race, the Vet race, poor vets!). In between this calm chaos they had other competitions like kid races (without camels), and some people dressed up (I bought an Australian hat for the occasion). Very much a community event really, and I never got so close to camels myself before, so it was nice to discover that they are quite handsome. What do you think? :-).