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Published: June 18th 2019
We set out from Uluru about 8-30am, and headed back to the Stuart Highway so we could proceed to Alice Springs. We checked our predicted petrol range on the car dashboard and decided we could make it to Erldunda, or if not, there was the Mount Ebenezeer Roadhouse marked on our map. It was a beautiful sunny day and listening to You only Live Twice, we sped along, finding the going easy. We passed the Curtin Springs roadhouse, still confident, but as we neared Mt Ebenezeer, we noticed that the fuel consumption was more than we had expected. We decided we would need to fill up there. However, when we reached this spot we found a derelict roadhouse and no fuel pumps.We stopped and looked around. Fletcher spoke to a fellow traveller in a motor home who had also stopped, and the driver told us that if we went ahead, and ran out of petrol, he would follow and then take us to the nearest petrol station. We were very thankful. We drove on , watching the dial go down and we had 20 kms to go when the dashboard told us we had 0kms of petrol left.. We drove on
and managed to make it to Erldunda on what was still in the tank!! We gratefully filled up and found our friend and thanked him.
From there it was a pleasant drive into Alice Springs.The countryside was uniform with red soil and scrubby trees and spinifex. We stopped at Stuart Wells for a loo stop and lunch. While we sat and ate our pies a sudden rain shower poured down and was then gone after about five minutes. We arrived in Alice Springs about 3pm and easily found the Diplomat Motel, right in the centre of town. After checking in we went for a walk , checking out a major shopping centre and then strolling along the Todd Mall, the main street. I messaged my cousin, Ken Hanlan and he rang me back and we made arrangements for catching up the next day. Back at the motel, we settled in and then went for a drive to the Botanic Gardens. This is not far from the town and is on the edge of the Todd River. We walked through the gardens displaying different species of Mallee and Wattle, not many flowers but we saw a Quandong tree and other
trees we had not seen before. A pleasant walk!
That night we walked back to the Mall and had dinner at the Red Ochre Grill. This was a very enjoyable experience. Fletcher had Salt and Pepper Crocodile as a starter while I had the bruschetta. For main course I opted for the kangaroo and Fletcher had the barramundi! When in the NT, eat their wildlife!!. It was a lovely night, the best meal we have had so far!
The next morning Ken and his wife Edna picked us up at 9am from the hotel. Ken is 8 years younger than me and has lived in the Alice for 30 years so I have not seen him very often. So it was great to catch up with him. We proceeded to have a fantastic day. Ken and Edna first took us to the old Telegraph Station and from there we did one of the walks. This was very pleasant as we saw kangaroos and wonderful countryside as we strolled along.They then took us to the original Alice Spring, after which the town is named. This is now a shrivelled pool of muddy water! From ther we drove
out of the town and stopped at a deserted spot which Ken then told us was Albert Namatjira's favourite painting spot. there were no plaques but Ken pointed out the old gum trees and the hills behind and we could see that this vista was typical of his paintings.
From there we were driven to Simpson's Gap. This is a beautiful landscape where two escarpments come together and there is a waterhole at the base of two cliffs. We walked in, passing many rock formations and viewing the rock wallabies that inhabit the steep slopes of the area. The sandy river bed provided an easy walk and we arrived at the waterhole where a generous pool still lay. On the way back we stopped and observed several of the small wallabied hopping about on the huge rocks lining the path. We drove back into the town, enjoying the countryside on the other side of the range and had lunch at the Gillen Club. Here we had a great lunch for a modest price and engaged in much conversation on a wide range of topics. Ken drove us nback to the hotel about 3-30pm We had had a wonderful day,
Walking in to Simpson's Gap
seeing far more of the local area if we had been there by ourselves and reconnecting with my cousin and his wife, a relationship which I hope will become closer when they move back to Adelaide in the forseeable future!
That night we went down to Uncles Tavern, part of our hotel ,and had a $10 Supreme Pizza between the two of us, which was delicious and more than enough. Then it was some TV watching and off to sleep. A lovely time in an interesting place!!
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