Some places we've been and some places we're going.

Posts tagged ‘Northern Territory’

Day 53 Alice Springs

This morning I took Fergus over to the Dog Leash Free area and another dog owner was there, the dogs had a great time playing. The woman told me she was going to get a taxi to the market this morning because their van was still out of action. I thought giving her a lift in was a great excuse to get there myself so we did that. I bought a couple of books and a bracelet made of some kind of beans.

Coming in to Alice on Friday we noticed a sign to Wigley’s Waterhole and we checked that out today. We were halfway in before we saw a sign indicating that no dogs were allowed but decided to continue anyway. Luckily it was cool today so leaving Fergus in the car wasn’t a problem when we walked the short distance down to the waterhole. On the way out we passed a couple of vehicles coming in then a third one, the driver gave us a cheery wave as she passed. The Rangers Service insignia was on the side of the vehicle, we’d already decided that if we were questioned we could honestly say Fergus hadn’t set foot in the place!

Another place I went into today was the Pioneer Cemetery. We’ve been before but the bookseller at the market said Lassetter of Lassetters Reef infamy was buried there and I wanted to see his grave. As soon as I saw it I remembered it from before, it’s a large depiction of a gold panner. Another impressive gravestone there is on Albert Namatjira’s grave.

When we were in Normanton a lady in front of me at the checkout bought about thirty sprays of artificial flowers and I presumed they were for a funeral. Today a grave at the Pioneer cemetery reminded me of that.

The last couple of races were being run at the BMX track when we got there this afternoon which was what I wanted to catch. The trophies must have been given out at the end of each race because there was no big ceremony. The races finished, everyone was thanked for their contributions then the rush for cars began, luckily we had a good park opposite the exit gate so we were able to get away quickly.

Tomorrow we pack up and head south again to Marla., not a long trek.

Day 52 Alice Springs

Not much news today, we had a relaxing day. We went into town to get a couple of things, like a light to hang in the annexe which we didn’t find and a USB cable for the semi-retired GPS Gal. For some time she’s been working on a purely voluntary basis popping up now and again to remind us she exists then working for an hour or so before popping out again. We hope that a providing her with a new cable might persuade her to work full time again.

Our favourite cafe was very busy and we think that might explain why our food was short of a few ingredients, we might give it one more go maybe at a later time of day. In the window we noticed an ad for an event next weekend, how disappointing, we’ll miss it.???

The Mall was quieter than we’d expect on a Saturday morning and there were a few empty premises, maybe Covid has affected custom though there certainly seem to be plenty of travellers in the Parks and on the roads.

We went into one shop selling “country gear” and listened as a customer was told how to treat his new hat apparently you should never rest it on the brim always on the crown. Reviving the rabbit pelt felt requires some time in a steamy bathroom. There were a few tourists proudly wearing their new big hats down the Mall. We didn’t see anyone buying kids boots but there were some fancy ones on display.

Outside a man was using the “payphone” which I think is now free, he obviously hasn’t gone in for one of those fancy mobile things and was talking for ages.

Women were displaying paintings on the lawn and the verandah of the old hospital, a building constructed with the hot climate in mind.

On the way back to the car we passed some musicians performing outside a cafe.

At 11:30 we were at a National BMX competition, some of the competitors have only recently returned from World Championships in France.

I think the youngest children participating were barely more than 2 years old but they all finished their set course.

One age group followed another, boys’ races and girls’, also I think races for different skill levels and even different wheel sizes.

Many of the competitors looked completely whacked when they walked back from their event.

After about an hour we’d had enough time in the sun and came back to camp to relax. Fergus had a play in the Dog Park with a Cattle Dog until I was too hot to stay out in the sun, there’s no shade at all in that area.

Now it’s time to try and use the Caravan Park WiFi, I’ve been notified that I’ve used up a couple of Gbytes and I don’t know what my allowance is. 🙂

Day 51 – Tennant Creek to Alice Springs

All was quiet when we left Tennant Creek and the Stuart Highway seemed to have mostly local cars rather than caravans, motorhomes etc. We intended to cover 508 kms which meant only quick stops. Our first one was at Bonney Creek Well. The first record of it is in December 1878 when a well sinking party set out to find water for cattle and sheep being sent north. Later the well became important for those installing the Overland Telegraph Line.

During the 1930s the well was replaced by a bore and during World War II a catering corp was based there to feed the convoys of troops being taken north. The bullet holes in the windmill’s tail stem from this time.

Further along the road we passed Karlu Karlu or the Devil’s Marbles.

Wycliffe Well is a place we’ve stayed before and listened to an old man playing the organ as we ate our dinner in the roadhouse. Today the place looked deserted apart from the car parked in the carport behind the still operating Service Station. There were no campers in the campground, the miniature Steam Train track we saw being built around the Well is fenced off and there is even Razor Wire along the outside fence. I think it needs some fresh energy to revitalise it.

It’s obvious from place names that the Stuart Highway in this section follows old droving routes and we stopped to read the plaque on a Teamsters’ Memorial. In my view it would be more interesting if the memorials had a relevant sculpture as we passed others built of the same stone in the same or similar shape with only different text on each plaque.

More modern installations are the mobile phone booster poles we passed at a few locations.

The area we were in is classified as “Central Desert Region” but it’s certainly not how most of us picture a desert.

Unlike Wycliffe Well, Barrow Creek seems to be undergoing a facelift, we didn’t stop but it looks very different from the last time we passed through.

Somewhere along the way we passed the Tropic of Capricorn but we didn’t need an obelisk and sign to tell us we were no longer in the Tropics!

Ti Tree seems to be a place split by the Stuart Highway. On one side is the Caravan Park, Roadhouse and small shop. Some women were selling art work on the verandah. Across the other side and about 200 metres back from the road is a community-run shop selling garden produce, groceries, sandwiches and hot foods, general merchandise and souvenirs. It also serves as a Post Office and sells fuel.

A little further down the road is Red Centre Mango Farm which not only grows Mangoes but also grapes. It’s not Mango season but in the freezer of the Atco hut shop were tubs of Mango Sorbet and Mango Icecream which I couldn’t resist. Our lips were numb by the time we’d finished our tubs.

We arrived in Alice Springs about 3:00 and made a dog’s breakfast of setting up the Camper, I think we were both tired out and not thinking logically. We’ve had a tasty pizza for dinner, the fleecy blanket has replaced a sheet on the bed and the quilts are ready for us to crawl under! Desert Winter Night, we’re prepared for you!