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Published: March 15th 2018
Flying over salt flats
Barossa Valley – Alice Springs - March 15, 2018 – Weather forecast: partly cloudy with a high of 26°C in the Barossa Valley – Alice Springs: bright sunny skies, temperature of 35°C with a light wind. New time zone – one hour behind Adelaide.
Today is another major travel day as we fly from Adelaide to Alice Springs, which is roughly in the centre of the continent. Responding to the 5:45am wake-up call we prepared for the day and set our bags out at 6:30 for the porters to take and load on the bus, while we went and got our breakfast.
The hour+ drive back into Adelaide was idyllic until we entered the city and were engulfed in the morning rush-hour. Still Rog got us to the airport in lots of time. Heather, our Tour Manager, had preprinted our boarding passes for us, so all we had to do was get our bags weighed and tagged before we headed off to the security screening. An interesting rule in Australia is that you can take any size of unopened bottles of wine in your carry-on luggage; no 100ml rule for
Landscape near Alice Springs
liquids in that category.
The flight went smoothly and when we landed in Alice Springs, or Alice as it is known locally, it was already well into the low 30°C’s under a very intense sun. We all commented to our new driver Deb that as we came in the surrounding landscape seemed to be greener than we had expected. Her reply was that the area had experienced more rain than usual this year and a fair amount actually fell last week.
Before we set off Deb distributed bottles of water and reminded us to sip water and not wait until we were really thirsty. She has had too many travellers ignore her advice and end up suffering from the effects of dehydration. She also told us that she had a cooler in the cargo hold for refilling our bottles whenever we stopped.
After a brief city driving tour we were let off in the downtown area so that we could go and purchase our lunch, while Deb and Heather took our luggage over to the hotel so that it would be waiting for us in our rooms when we checked in
Funky paint job
later in the afternoon.
Following our lunch break Deb drove us first to the ANZAC Memorial park. The city had erected their memorial on the top of a hill overlooking the valley and we had a marvelous view from the top.
Next, we visited the School of the Air centre. This facility was established in 1951 to provide schooling for children in remote locations throughout the Northern Territory. Back then materials were sent out to the students via mail and communication with the teachers was done through short-wave radio. Nowadays the exercise is done through satellite internet links and computers; all very high-tech.
Our last stop for the day was at the Telegraph Station, the start off point in the development of the city. After the area was originally explored by John McDougall Stuart in the 1860’s it was decided to establish a repeater station for the Overland Telegraph Line, which was completed in 1872. The original buildings had fallen into disuse. In the 1980’s the Alice Springs Telegraph Station was rebuilt as a museum and bears witness to the lives of the people who ran the station.
Hot, tired and ready for a rest we were driven over to our hotel, the Double Tree by Hilton, where after we had checked in and refreshed, we were entertained by the Collette Foundation Site drummers. This was a group of 8 to 11-year-old aboriginal girls who were using music as an enhancement to their education.
As the hotel is some distance from the centre of town we opted to dine at the hotel and call it an early night. Tomorrow we have to be up, breakfasted and on the bus by 8:10am for a visit to the Aboriginal Cultural Centre.
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