Monday, July 23, 2012

Alice Springs, the Camel Cup and a On the Road

Salt Pond

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' 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?!?

Dingo love

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? :-). 

Photos: Alessandra  Zecchini and Arantxa Zecchini Dowling ©


  1. The Desert Park is one of my favourite places ever!! And the one and only time we went to Uluru, we stayed at Curtin Springs station within view of Mt Connor. Thanx for bringing back those great memories!!

    If you have loo shots at Kata Tjuta, I could do a follow up to my loo post?? If you're interested, send them to me - email address on my google profile page.

    1. Yes, the Desert Park is definitely the best place to see in Alice Springs. But if we ever go again we will bring our own picnic, the cafe doesn't have much and the coffee was .... well, lets say that it was the worst spelling of cappuccino I ever seen on a menu :-). Fortunately all that can be easily fixed!

      I'll look for some toilet shots :-).


    2. Even though my last visit to the Desert Park was a few years ago, I too remember the food with horror!! Looks like it hasn't changed ...

      Just to let you know I'm on the road and haven't had good internet access for awhile. But I've read all your other Australia posts on my Google reader - they're great, and I'm so glad you had such a good time!! Have a great weekend!!

  2. AMAZING post:)

    I wish you a great week dear..and come back and visit me soon:)

    LOVE Maria at inredningsvis

  3. le tue foto sono davvero tua con il tuo cucciolo dietro è carinissima e il dingo!!! E' uguale alla mia Nina :)

  4. il Dingo è bellissimo, ma anche tutto il resto....e grazie per aver messo la tua foto sorridente :)

  5. Il dingo me lo sarei portato a casa!

  6. I've been loving your series of photos and adventures you've been having in Australia. I love travelling to different countries and learning about their cultures and way of life, it's just a pity I haven't travelled all that much in my life and now I have a large family and my illness means we arent able to afford to anymore.

    How scary seeing the bush fire too and then a car that caused it. Wow! I can imagine it's so hard for them to try and control the spreading of these fires. They must be devastating to the land.

    Sweet 2 Eat Baking
    P.S. Just to let you know, I changed servers on my blog so if you were subscribed, you may need to re-subscribe (sorry!) See this post.

  7. Hi Alessandra. I'm a big fan of your amazing blog and beautiful books and you've been such an inspiration for me as a beginner blogger and author. I have nominated you for an award - check it out here: Hopefully it'll gain you a few new readers xAlice

  8. Ma che viaggio stupendo! Un vero sogno e che immagini bellissime che ci fai vedere :-) Anche solo con una foto il mondo si avvicina, grazie!

  9. Looks like you are having an amazing trip....I love the red centre.

  10. I have been so busy this summer that I'm sorry I've been MIA. :-( I was checking your old posts and it looks like you're having FABULOUS time!!! Thank you so much for sharing these pictures. I can't wait for my daughter to grow up a little bit so that we can go to nature... she has been complaining about short hiking now so we're sort of waiting for a big trip like this. I'm so jealous, but thank you for sharing all these pictures! I love looking at them!

  11. Nami, children grow so fast that in no time you will be able to travel differently :-).

  12. L'altro lato del mondo in pochi click. Mi piacciono tantissimo le tue foto, le mie preferite sono gli occhi del dingo e l'albero contorto verso il cielo. Sono nelle mie corde, e i colori che ci mostri sono cosi..."Vivi" non saprei descriverli altrimenti. Buon proseguimento!

  13. Le foto degli occhi del dingo sono di Arantxa :-)

  14. Looks like you had a great trip and well deserved break. I like camels, rode one in Cairo but he wasn't as clean as those!


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