Just before we left the Van Park at Curtin Springs a Grading Contractor drove out through the Park. He was driving his large road grader and behind him he was pulling a semi-trailer with 3 large tanks (2 for fuel and 1 probably water) and a large generator on it; behind this was another semi-trailer with a large caravan built on to this tray; and behind that, on an A-frame, was his Landcruiser Ute. Unfortunately none of us was able to get a photo. We did not catch up with him once we left so he must have gone on to a side track to one of the large station properties nearby.
We left around 8.30. Another lovely clear day, but still quite windy. The locals say it has been windy for most of the winter. Not too far down the road we came upon another large herd of camels. They were getting ready to cross the road so we stopped to get a photo and to watch them.
We drove on to the large fuel stop at Erldunda (at the Highway intersection) where we re-fueled and had a short break. While there, taking advantage of mobile phone coverage, I rang ahead at a caravan park we had chosen the night before to book in. They were already booked out so we chose another caravan park. We have booked in for 3 nights. It was wise to ring ahead as we have now met some people who had long waits to get into various parks.We then drove on the Stuart Highway heading for Alice Springs. We were going to call in at a Meteorite Crater spot at Henbury Con. Reserve but drove past the entrance and had to go to the closest roadside stop to turn around. This was only 3 kms away at the Finke River Bridge. It was a most pretty little spot.
Ian and Bruce walked down to the almost dry river bed. It is a large river which is renowned for its flooding whenever it rains heavily here. Nearly all the rivers in the N.T. start and end in the Territory – either evaporating away, or feeding the underground artesian basin. There was a lovely gum tree there — large gums have been a rare sight for many days now, so I couldn’t resist taking a photo.
In the end Ian and I drove on, whereas Bruce and Linda did the short return trip to the Craters. Ian and I had lunch at a lovely spot called Stuart’s Well. It is also a little caravan/camping spot and includes fuel, and a cafe and is right beside a large camel farm. Very picturesque.
We have seen very little wild life during this trip, but today we saw a few flocks budgerigars, several wedgetail eagles (which did not move off the road kill as we drove past) and we also saw a dingo. It crossed the road in front of us and then just waited off the road and watched us go by. There is a minimal amount of road kill – a sign that there is a lot of feed off the roadsides. This may explain why we have seen no kangaroos and only the odd emu or two. I saw 2 beautiful ‘Australian Ringneck’ parrots in the tree beside our caravan here in Alice Springs.
We arrived in Alice Springs around 2.45pm. This has been the most expensive Park we have been in $45 per night with 10% discount for RACV membership. However, you get what you pay for. The surrounds, and the facilities are top class. There are lectures or entertainment every night – tomorrow night is all about 4 Wheel Driving (Planning and Safety) and Tuesday is Star Talk with a local astronomer. Should be good.
Surprise, surprise — we have met people Ian knows. The 2 couples behind us are from Drouin – Neil Tomasetti and his wife, and Barry Monson and his wife. They are both ex-dairyfarmers from Drouin. They also know people we know in Stanhope. Small world indeed. We talked for ages.
Bruce and Linda drove in around 5pm. They said the craters were good but it was 11km off the highway on a very dry dusty road. Linda spent some time using our vacuum cleaner just to get their windows and flyscreens clean, as well as their curtains and bedding. Their windows are louvres and the dust had gone in everywhere.
After having afternoon tea, Ian and I then walked around the park. At one place there was small food van selling strawberry desserts. We purchased a pav. with strawberries and cream to have with our evening meal. Very yummy.
We plan to have an easy day tomorrow. Fortunately this will include a sleep in because tomorrow morning’s forecast temperature is -2C. Brrr
I have finally caught up on my blogs. Whew.
Love to all, Janese and Ian