Saturday, 9 July 2011

Red Centre

Following our long loop out to the coast we headed south through Tennants Creek towards Alice Springs. The Devil's Marbles provided an interesting break before we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn and arrived in the town of Alice Springs. With a population of around 30,000 it provides a central services hub for a vast area of the outback and also acts as a Flying Doctor base and the centre for the School of the Air which provides education to the 120 children spread across 1.2m square kilometres that cannot access conventional schooling.
The logistics facing these two facilities really brought home to us the reality of living in central Australia. More locally the problems faced or self inflicted by indigenous people were reflected by the large numbers hanging listlessly around town and the large amount of alcohol related debris strewn across the parks, Todd river bed and other public spaces. Civic and tribal leaders face a huge task in bridging the gulf between the two Australia's and recently introduced curbs on the sale of booze may be the start of a better future.
The old gaol housed the informative Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame in buildings used until recent times for their original purpose and down at the station the famous Ghan was in town for the day breaking its multi day journey from Darwin to Adelaide.
We enjoyed using the bikes to get around and celebrated Sarah's birthday with a meal out and some light retail therapy leaving the van to rest at the quiet campsite which one evening provided an excellent slideshow by a local expert on the flora and fauna of the area's various habitats.
We return to Alice in a couple of days after heading in to the McDonnell Ranges - the days are still warm but night time temepratures fall to around zero which suits us fine!

Pictorial highlights here and positions here

Back to NZ and the top of South Island for the slideshow

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