Wednesday, 20 July 2011

East and West of Alice

After the spectacle of the camel races we headed in to the East Macdonnell Ranges which stretch seemingly for ever towards Queensland. Trephina Gorge provided good bush camping from which to enjoy excellent walks in the area with the long Ridge walk a particular favourite.

Arltunga further on was a short lived gold town where the extremes of climate and its isolation made the extraction of gold at a rate of 1oz per ton seem a particularly poor return. The lonely graves, abandoned buildings and harsh landscape made for a thought provoking visit with even today the rough access track making it a bit of an epic to get there.

Back in Alice an unusual spell of cloudy grey weather with some light rain put Ozzie campers in to the camp site chalets and cabins whilst we enjoyed the Ghan and Road Transport Museums.

The West Macdonnell Ranges provided a number of highlights with deep chasms and gorges scything through the dramatic ridges. Serpentine and Ormiston Gorges were particularly good and at Red Bank Gorge we found excellent bush camping at the Woodlands. From here with the weather back to sunny days and clear chilly nights we climbed Mt. Sonders in perfect conditions to enjoy the dramatic desert landscape spread out below us.

Back towards Alice the bush camping at Serpentine Chalet provided three memorably starry nights with solar showers, meals cooked on a fire and a good walk to Counts Point for some of the best views we have seen in the area across rocky ranges, dry desert valleys and endless red plains.

Returning to Alice we visited the impressive Desert Park conservation project which imaginatively described and displayed many of the habitats and creatures we have seen over the last couple of weeks.

We now head south to rather more touristy attractions and have attended to a few of the tasks related to our return home in little over a month.

Some pictures lie here and SPOT locations here - although a temporary glitch has meant that some check ins have not been transmitted, watch this space.

Slides are from NSW and the Alps late last year.

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