15th May to 22nd May
We arrived in Alice Springs and headed to the G’Day Mate Caravan Park, as it was one of the cheapish ones and it had some great reviews on Wikicamps. We then spent the next 3 days washing, cleaning and dusting, followed by more washing, cleaning and dusting of ourselves, our van and our bedding. It seemed we also hired out the laundry and donated many a gold coin to the caravan park, the poor permanents had to act quick if they wanted to score a washing machine!!!! After our ‘spring clean’ we also added a few days of school work just to punish ourselves that little bit more!!!
Once we had all the difficult things out of the way we went exploring down the main drag being Todd St, we visited the info centre and grabbed a coffee and soaked it all in. We also went to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station for a kick of the footy and a BBQ dinner. We will certainly go back to explore more of the station at a later date.
We also celebrated Nik’s birthday on the 19th, Bec had consulted with me and written up Nik’s menu for the day, starting off with croissants and ham for breakfast and finishing off with Apple Pie, ice cream and custard for dessert. The girls had each bought him a gift they thought he might like, Abby’s gift was a footy, which has been going in the car with us everywhere and Nik and the girls are having a lot of fun playing kick to kick everywhere we go.
For his birthday we decided to head to the Alice Springs Reptile Centre, as he loves reptiles and misses his 2 Blue Tongue lizards, Red and Treasure, who we had to rehome before we left on our trip. We had heard rave reviews about the Alice Springs Reptile Centre, so had decided to pay them a visit. We certainly weren’t disappointed as we learnt a lot and had a great time with all the reptiles. The reptile centre began back in 2000 and displays over 100 different reptiles, it also has a Gecko Cave which had a really great display of gecko’s, for a reptile they have very cute faces!!! Included in the price is a demonstration and a talk involving Kayla the python, a blue tongued lizard, a bearded dragon and a perentie goanna. We all learnt a lot about snakes including what to do if we see one and also first aid, it was delivered in such a way that the girls listened completely and actually took it all in. We then got to hold the animals and take photos, I took one for the team and gallantly chose to be the photographer. We all highly recommend the Reptile Centre, whilst the building itself is nothing great to look at we had a great experience. After our visit we then had a picnic lunch across the road at a park, we got to meet a few of the locals including a colourful woman who said she was currently living in the park as she had just got out of jail for stealing a cop car, “bloody made it down to the border too mate,” she boasted, as she also shared some other funny stories with us.
Another of our outings was to the Alice Springs Desert Park. We had such a good day there that we didn’t actually leave till after 4pm, and that’s after arriving at 9:45am. The park offers lots of scheduled talks including survival in the desert, bush tucker plants and a dingo presentation to name a few. We also turned up just in time for the 10am free flying birds display which was awesome, the birds were so well trained and stunning to watch. We even got treated to a wild eagle coming down off the ranges to suss out what the Parks eagle was doing and a silly Spinifex Pidgeon decided to meander into the show whilst the Wedge Tailed Eagle was doing his bit, he was lucky he was able to make a quick getaway. The desert survival talk presented by a local aboriginal, Jeremy, was very entertaining as he was very knowledgeable but had a great dry sense of humour which had us in stitches!!! The bush tucker plants talk was also fantastic, this was delivered by yet another local aborigine, Damien. He had the kids (and adults) enthralled and he also had a wicked sense of humour. When Damien was explaining the Spinifex Grass (with leaves like spikes) to us, an older ‘grey nomad’ member of the group asked him very seriously ‘how could one tell if the grass was in fact the Spinifex grass’, Damien simply answered “if you fall on it mate and it bloody hurts then it’s a Spinifex Grass…….” In all seriousness though he did also tell us that a US university has been out here for the last 8 years studying the Spinifex Grass and how the Aborigines use it as a glue resin. The university is hoping to synthetically reproduce this glue resin to manufacture and sell but as yet have not been able to replicate it. The Spinifex Grass crushed and placed on a fire is also a natural mosquito repellent, just sit downwind of the smoke and no mossies. From there we headed to the Nocturnal centre for the talk about nocturnal animals and to see Bilby’s and Marla’s, both of which are no longer found in the wild. We then went to the dingo enclosure for a very educational talk and entertainment from a keeper and the two resident dingos. Afterwards Zoe decided that’s what she wanted to do when she was older, but then the need for a university degree was mentioned and she quickly poo pooed that career move, back to owning an ice creamery for her…… The aviary was also a highlight with some very spectacular birds flying around. The park was well worth the money and we all thought it was great, we probably walked a few kilometres going around and back and forth to all the talks and shows, yet the kids were having too much fun to complain about it.
Our first week in Alice was a busy one, with cleaning and just a few little outings. We also visited ANZAC Hill and took some great photos, the hill is amazing and is a great tribute to all our soldiers!!!! We have so many things to do and go and see here in and around Alice that we are glad that we are here for a while before we head off onto out next destination on our OZLAP……………