Alice Springs Days 4 & 5
Alice Springs SignsAlice Springs Signs empty premises This might be better titled "What we didn't do in Alice Springs". Having arrived the previous evening we felt no rush to do anything first thing. After breakfast in the hotel restaurant, we wandered into reception to seek advice. Like what is where and how do we get there. It seems that taxis or walking were the only options as we didn't have access to a car. No buses? Should have booked a hire car ahead of time! Given a free map and locating the hotel on it, we decided to walk to the Information centre.. It was only vaguely indicated on the map and by the time we'd walked to the block indicated and the around 3 sides of the block we were both exhausted, not to mention desperate for a loo. I was pointed in the direction of the "Shopping Complex" which was diagonally across the street. Virtually nothing was open but at least the facilities were functioning. I was surprised as there were lots of potential customers around although in truth they were mainly backpackers. I had somehow expected Alice to be a second territory city but it seems apart from government support agencies and tourist passing, mostly through, just a small country town. A rather sad one at that.
I digress, The Information centre managed to get us booked into a tour to the Desert Park which was due to start in a short time. Though they couldn't find a tour to the West Macdonnell Ranges which we really wanted to see. No tours going out that way on the Monday apparently.
Todd River Bed Alice SpringsTodd River Bed Alice Springs So we skipped lunch and strolled over to the sandpit which is how I would describe the Todd River; took a couple of pics just to say we'd been there, by which time our bus was due. Several buses came and went but we were getting nervous about 30 minutes later when ours turned up. The driver was a cheerful chap, and we soon forgave him his lateness even when he disappeared into the suburbs to pick up his last client. Desert Park turned out to be wonderful. It covers quite a large area and represents the various environments of the territory, including the animals and birds that alive in them. We wondered again about our ability to walk the various tracks, but they were mostly sealed and the highlights were sensibly spaced.
I was very impressed with the Nocturnal house which had very subdued lighting and live exhibits lit by coloured light chosen for being least visible to the various beasties, very well set up and with guides that were passionate about their charges. By the end of the afternoon we headed for the Raptor display where we were treated to the amazing sight of untethered birds being let out in the open air auditorium to alight, in some cases, on the gloved hand of a National Parks lass who would feed them treats.
She only had to ignore them for a short time when they'd fly off and the next contender would appear. The only failure, just to prove the point perhaps was the Wedge Tailed Eagle who did a fly by then flew into the surrounding hills. Unfazed the presenter talked on and the eagle reappeared much closer, then off again. This was to happen several times and although she didn't come to hand we all got to see her quite well. Great display! Back then to the cafe to catch up on lunch and then it was time to return to the coach which was waiting to drop us off at our various hotels.
Thinking that it was unusual, in a tourist town, for there to be no available tours to places that had been recommended by everyone we spoke too, we asked at reception once more and after a few phone calls got booked for the following day. Feeling pleased with ourselves, we headed for the bar and had a delicious counter dinner and retired for the night. Early in the morning the phone rang. "Sorry to ring you so early but you've been booked on a tour by mistake, it's not until tomorrow!" Expletive deleted, we're on the way to Tennant Creek tomorrow! Not happy, we gave ourselves the day off and watched movies on the TV.
Australian BustardThe Australian bustard (Ardeotis australis) is a large ground bird of grassland, woodland and open agricultural country across northern Australia. Also known as "Plains Turkey" or "Bush Turkey". The thorny dragon Held By KeeperThorny Devil Alice Springs Desert Park. The thorny dragon or thorny devil is an Australian lizard, also known as the mountain devil, the thorny lizard, or the moloch.
Keywords: Alice Springs, Australia, bird, bustard, people, ranger, raptor, signs, streetscape, thorny Devil
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