Hello again, today is our last full day in Alice Springs. The dilemma, what do we do? Last night we decided there were two things left On our list. One was a four wheel driving drive along a sandy creek bed and the second was to take a drive through the sites along the East MacDonnell ranges. The decision was easy. Tracey freaked out when we talked about sand so we decided on the East MacDonnell ranges. The first stop was, yes you guessed it, McDonalds for coffee, and cake of course. We headed along the Ross Highway. The first stop was Emily gap. This gap in the East MacDonnell Ranges rock wall is associated with the Eastern Arrernte Caterpillar Dreaming trail. Emily Gap, 16km out of Alice, has stylised rock paintings but there is no water. It hasn't rained in Alice for some time now so water is scarce and most if not all of the creeks are dry including the Todd River. This gap is a sacred site with some well-preserved paintings on the eastern wall. We also travelled on for another 8km to Jessie Gap. Similar terrain and paintings at Jessie Gap although the paintings were smaller.
Known to the Arrernte aboriginals as Anthwerrke, Emily Gap is one of the most important Aboriginal sites in the Alice Springs area; it was from here that the caterpillar ancestral beings of Mparntwe originated before crawling across the landscape to create the topographical features that exist today or so they say. Another 40km along the road we stopped at a roadsign directing us to Corroboree Rock. Well what were we going to find here? There are rocks everywhere. Surely one rock was not going to stand out in the crowd. Well we found this enormous dark grey column of a rock called dolomite. It's surrounding area had been ground down over the last 800 million years and apparently this rock has significant importance to the aboriginal people although given there is no water close to this rock it is not expected that Corroboree's were undertaken here. We walked all the way round this rock on the specified path which took about 15 mins. We must have forgotten to tell the grandchildren of this sacred site as they ran round like lost chooks. The signs around the rock reminded us of the church type significance of the site and to ensure
we respected this structure as such. it wasn't hard to notice the continued lack of water in the creeks. The next stop was Trephina Gorge. It started off the same as the first two but after about a 10 min walk we found water. Wohooo. The water seemed deep but it was at the base of a large rock formation and was about 10 meters in diameter. Too dark and "yucky" for the children to swim. Still impressive site although no rock paintings at this site.
It was now 12.30 and time for lunch. We did bring a packed lunch of dry biscuits and other condiments BUT there were signs tempting us to visit the Ross River Resort. I think the word resort gave our imagination some flavour and given we were now hungry having traversed a number of gorges we all agreed that we would visit the resort. We arrived about 5 minutes later to an old, and I mean old homestead. The front gate invited us in and we were greeted by the Resort Manager who immediately started talking about his mafia mates and how they used this remote homestead to deal with their problems. All stories
no doubt and we were ushered into another world. Inside this homestead we were greeted by the remains of a house that was born in the late 1800's. The furniture and all other parts of the decor reaked of "old" and it was hard to concentrate on any part of the house as it was all interesting. The most striking were the horse saddle bar benches. Wow who came up with this. We found out this old house was part of a cattle ranch of about 15,000 square acres and it was also well known for horse breeding. It now operates only as a tourist operation with authentic ranch activities and accomodation. Our lunch there was memorable. This was the last stop and we headed home to do some packing in readiness for the next day.
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