Relax, repair, revisit recharge!
01.10.2016 - 18.10.2016 27 °C
Well we made it into Alice with minutes to spare. Pulled up in the campground of the Gap View Hotel. The big screens were on - the bar was packed - seemed as though most were pumping up the doggies for a win. And disappointed we were not! Great game - close scores like a grand final should be. Whilst Steve, Megan and I watched the game, Rory dog sat and singlehandedly put up camp. And I mean the whole shebang - main tent, extra room, the kitchen with full annexe and walls - to date we hadnt used the full set up, but turned out to be a good decision in Alice, as we spent a full 2 weeks there. Of course, Sunday also had the rugby final - not such a pleasing result though..... First few days we didn't do too much - time for some sit and chill time. Then in amongst repairs ( antenna, UHF radio, car solar panel), we started to explore a bit around us. By this stage Steve was entrenched in the 22 day push up challenge ( thanks Rachel) and we were sourcing different locations for Steve and Rory to film their efforts. Anzac Hill in town was a good candidate, and it continued on from there - into the West Macdonnell ranges, and different sites around town.
We met some good people in Alice. Camped next to a travelling family with 2 young kids (6 and 3 yo), who attached themselves to Megan and Rory. Shared meals and evenings sitting around camp added to our chill out experience. Speaking of chilling, the cooler nights were a welcome change from nights of over 30 degrees. We also befriended Michael, a 22 year old German backpacker who was travelling alone. He joined us for some meals, enjoyed practicing his English with Aussie families.
Although we'd visited the Desert Park 4 years ago, we decided on another trip - Steve dropped us off ( he was on dog sitting duty) and S, M, and R visited the park. Love the nocturnal enclosure - especially the bilbies. Free flight bird show is always good - surprised when the first bird on display was the good old magpie. Warbled on queue much to our surprise.
With the unseasonal rain in this part of the world, our drives east and west were very colourful - lots of greenery amongst the red rock. East Macdonnells were stunning - we day ventured dropping into the gaps (Emily and Jessie), Corroboree Rock, 3 of us did the Trephina gorge walk (Megan on dog duty outside the NP this time.), and we finished with dropping into Ross River homestead which oozes history with its old building, low door ways, fireplaces etc.
Ventures west - we camped for 2 nights at Neil Hargrave lookout. Steve, Rory and I decided to do the Ormiston gorge pound walk - a 7 km undulating stunning walk. Steve's fit bit said we did 10k's. Legs felt as though that was probably more accurate. A good thigh and butt workout - took around 3 and a half hours. We had done this walk 4 years ago and remembered the final part required a hip deep walk through freeeeezzzzzzing water. This time there was a bit more water.....but the temperatures were much higher and pleasant as its later in the season. Felt good to have completed this walk - yes amazing rocks - deep red brown rock faces, lots of smooth deep purple rocks with white veins running through them - all sorts of colours really.
We also took a day trip to Hermannsburg for coffee and strudel and then on to Palm Valley. Another great backdrop for the push-up challenge! The last three K's were a walking pace 4x4 track. Good adventure for Steve, Megan and Rory (I was on dog sitting duty on the edge of Finke NP) They picked up a couple of ladies who had pulled up in fear of damaging their vehicle. Then they came across a car that had broken down - goodness knows how they would get a tray truck in to recover it! Overall a spectacular location to put on the return list when we can camp in there without a dog!
Our time in Alice also enabled Steve to catch up with an old Ambulance colleague who now lives and works on the Alice - Mmmmm that might be something to do in the future😏 He also fitted a polycarbonate cover over the back windscreen. We've already taken a large chip out of the new back window and would like to avoid another $600 replacement bill. 😬
Megan ventured off one night to a kangaroo refuge. A perfect adventure for the lady who would have the biggest menagerie of all stray animals if she could. Correction - will probably have such a menagerie one day!
Addit from Steve..... I set out to get a slow tyre leak repaired. "Come back Monday" ,"Perhaps my workers will turn up then". It appears the two tyre fitters tended to simply choose when to show, secure in the knowledge that they are a scarce resource. The perils of running a business in Alice Springs! Rory did a plug repair instead - we'll wait for another town to get them fixed properly.
There is something about the Alice though. We all felt it and loved being there. Will return many more times we think.
After our relaxing two weeks we decided to make the move east to Qld.