Aussie Adventures- A Town Like Alice

Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 02:04

Member - Muncey 72

Alice Springs is a pretty big town which is fairly spread out. It has all the shops you need and more, fuel is $139.9 which is great. Visited the Desert Park which is a must, heaps of different animals to see. One of the highlights was the bird show in which owls, Kites, a Magpie and a Bush stone Curlew come down and pick up different foods. The Handlers were very good and well informed. After the show they asked a few of us to stay back whilst they try and train a young Wedge Tail Eagle. This was awesome seeing it circle 300metres up and then on cue swoop down into the stage area. Also saw Dingoes, Emus and Red Kangaroos. They also had heaps of really large aviaries in which you could walk around whilst all the different Birds flew amongst the trees.
Was lucky enough to see the Ghan Train leaving Alice on its way down to Port Augusta, Harrison counted 32 carriages.
Went to the Reptile Centre which was ok, because we went first thing in the morning most of the Reptiles were still hiding as it was a cool morning. Did see Terry the 3metre salt Water Croc though and he looked evil. When 10-20 years old they can hold their breath for an hour and when they get to 50 plus years old can hold it for up to 3hrs! The Thorny Devils were cool to see but again because it was cold they hardly moved.
Visited the School of the Air which was really intresting, amazing how far away some of the kids are and they all connect via the internet and talk to the teacher via web cams. We bought a couple of books which you put name and town in and they are put in the School library and used by the children. Whilst walking around the town a local lady came up and starting serenading me in the tone of Barry White she sang “I am a beautiful woman, you know I’m a beautiful woman. Do you want to be my baby” Before I could answer she turned around and crossed the street and started shouting at a group of locals that were sitting under a tree. The kids thought it was hilarious and said “Dad she must have thought you weren’t married”
The Caravan Park was really good, the kids loved the bouncy pillow, games room and pool. Showers were always hot and spotless, and the camp kitchen BBQ’s were everywhere. The park is huge and was pretty much empty whilst we were there. They currently have an offer of pay for 4 nights and stay for 5. Free pancakes on Sunday morning before we left was a bonus, the record is 13 for a man and 9 for a woman. Morgan gave it a challenge by having 4, bit more training needed I think.
We done a big shop on the Saturday morning in Coles whilst the car was having a warning light on the dash being checked at the Nissan dealer. The trolley was full and the plan was to push it to the car yard which was about 500metres away. Anyhow we got about 100metres away from Coles and a plastic cover locked down onto the wheel preventing it going any further. When we looked around there was about 20 trolleys abandoned around us with their covers locked on also! One way to keep your trolleys from being scattered over the town I guess. In the end all the shopping made it back to the car even if everyone’s arms were 2inchs longer. The car warning light was fixed without charge, a sensor was recalled back in 2013 which should have been changed. Since the recall the car has had 3 services at our local dealership and they have never mentioned or changed the sensor, surprise surprise.
Went out to a place called the Gillen Club on Saturday night which is a cross between an RSL and a Working men’s Club. The food was great, the beer was cheap and we got to see the Dockers bury the Bombers awesome.
Packed up the camper and headed to the Todd mall markets in town before we hit the road headed north. The markets are held every second Sunday of the month and were really good. We bought Maz an Akubra hat for Mother’s Day which she loved. Left Alice and the markets behind and head 70kms north and then turned onto the plenty Highway and headed another 70kms Eat until we got to the Gem Tree caravan park. Lovely spot huge camp sites with fire pits, collect wood on the road as you are not allowed to collect wood within the Park. Had a lovely camp oven meal of curried snags with veg. Stars were amazing at night time as it is so dark with no lights on and no moon.
Went on the tag along fossicking tour for Garnet which was fun, we found probably ¾ of a baked bean tin full of the gem. Using a pick axe you break up the ground, shovel it into a bucket then sieve though it and then rinse the rocks that are left and hold it up to the light and bingo there’s the Garnet, easy. Kids loved it and so did Maz. When we returned to the Park the owner grades the stones and tells you which ones can be cut. We ended up with about 30 stones that could be cut for Jewellery some of which were 6-7mm. Not bad for a mornings work. The left over gems that are flawed or cannot be used for Jewellery will be cleaned up and put in the show and tell jar.
Packed up, left pretty early and drove the 70kms west until we got back onto the Stuart Highway. There are so many cattle and horses wandering around and heaps of Kites circling looking for their next feed. Fuelled up at Ti Tree $1:92 and pushed on to the Devils Marbles where we had lunch. It was pretty busy with people already set up ready for an overnight stop. The Marbles were cool, balancing rocks all different shapes and sizes which you could walk around. After lunch we continued north through Tennant Creek, we had planned to do an overnighter on the roadside just passed Tennant Creek but it was full. So we opted for the Banka Banka Station. $20 a night with lovely hot showers and green grass. Walked up to a lookout and could not believe how flat it was in every direction. The kids fed the pet cows and we sat around the big communal fire with other Tourers.
Wednesday 13th May, Another early start and we were off to Mataranka. Stopping at Renner Springs for fuel $1:73 and then at Elliot for a cuppa. Whilst having a cuppa a female Peacock and her 4 young came over and wanted some of our Chocolate biscuits, they were so cute and that tame they were eating out of our hands. The biscuits were fat, gluten, salt and sugar free even said bird friendly on the packet. Stopped at Daly waters at the famous pub for lunch and had a look around. Every wall and every beam is covered in badges, peoples I’D’s, bras, jocks, flags, T-Shirts etc.
As we continue north the barren plains are being replaced by trees and greenery. Termite mounds are everywhere with some donning T-Shirts and hats. The kites still circle and the amount of roadkill still amazes us. We get to Mataranka and head for Bitter Springs Caravan Park $80 for 2 nights get set up and head straight for the thermal pool. The Thermal springs are only 5 mins walk from the caravan park, a constant 34 degrees the pool is lovely. With a noodle in hand we float about 50 metres with the current and then hop out its unreal. It’s even better with a snorkel and goggles on. The kids love it and you feel 10 yrs younger! Next day we have a rare sleep in and then visit the thermal Springs down the road at Mataranka these are similar but smaller and have concrete around the sides with a submerge seat all the way around. Still 34 degrees and still beautiful with palms surrounding you its picture post card stuff. Saw our first cane Toads of the trip whilst camping here at night time, they are very ugly indeed. Met a lovely old lady whilst here who was travelling on her own with her pet dog. We looked after her dog whilst she had a swim in the thermal pools as dogs are not allowed, he was good as gold. Made us realize how much we are missing Chalkie. We are off to Katherine tomorrow for 3 nights which should be a new adventure. Travelled 7250kms so far.
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