Skip to content

There is no town like Alice Springs…… Part one

12th July to 31st July

After our whirlwind six weeks traversing the countryside from left to right we arrived back in Alice Springs from our rock concert road trip to chill out and rest up for a weeks. We had time on our side before we were to meet a deadline down south so we decided to book into the Big 4 caravan park for the next 8 weeks, making the most of their heated pools, brand new water slide and 2 massive jumping pillows. During the week the kids did about 3 days of schooling, usually from 10-12 then we would spend the rest of the afternoon at the pool or jumping pillow. On days without school we simply just relaxed and the kids went off and made so many friends it wasn’t funny and when we got bored of swimming we did a few day trips in and around Alice.

Pool Jess
Jesse on the waterslide at the Big 4
Pool Abby
Abs on the waterslide at the Big 4.
Pool Zoe
Zoe on the waterslide at the Big 4.
Pool Bec
Bec on the waterslide at the Big 4.
Big 4 Alice Springs (3)
Our set up at Big 4 in Alice and once again another glorious day!!!!!!

School of the Air

One day we decided to ditch school and go and watch other people do their schooling, so we went and visited School of the Air in town. Alice Springs School of the Air is a government school that provides education to 125 children in 11 grades ranging from kindergarten to Year 9, covering 1.3 million square kilometres from the remotest outback stations on the Tanami track to one of the many islands north of Darwin. It is situated in the grounds of one of the local primary schools and for $28 per family they offer tours, as a way of fundraising,  and also as a tourist attraction. You can sit and watch a live classroom, look at the kids school work and artwork on display, read about how it started and the history involved as well as watch a short documentary about the school, there is also lots of memorabilia to purchase as well.

On one of the walls was a map of the Northern Territory with the pictures and names of all the kids attending the school, they were all over the map, however it was great that our kids pointed to a few of the kids and told the tour guide that they had met and played with them during our stays. The lesson we were watching was grade 1 so you can imagine it didn’t really hold our kids attention so we meandered around for a while firing questions at the guide and then sat and watched the documentary. We learnt that whether there is a child or multiple children from a station or community doing School of the Air, the school supplies absolutely everything to the family, from the schoolwork, art supplies to the whole satellite dish set up, with it costing around $10,000 per set up. We were then surprised (well perhaps not really considering my experience as the kinder treasurer) that the school only receives the same amount of funding that any other government public school would, so hence the reason why they fundraise so much. I suppose fortunately they at least have more publicity, opportunities and ‘big name’ donors than other public schools do who also need to raise copious amounts of money to simply stay open…. But we had a great time there and we made our donation (which probably covered postage for one child’s schoolwork). It wasn’t a highlight for the kids though, but then again anything that has the word ‘school’ associated with it makes their eyes glaze over……….

School of the Air (9)
A school lesson in progress.
School of the Air (10)
Watching the documentary at School of the Air.
School of the Air (14)
The girls watching a lesson, yawn……….
School of the Air (15)
The map of all the students of School of the Air.

ANAZC Hill

We also visited ANZAC Hill, a beautiful memorial to all our soldiers, situated on the north side of town overlooking the main highway. ‘They’ (government, council, RSL) have done a great job honouring our many soldiers, with lots of plaques displaying information about the wars and the men and women who fought in them. The views over the town and surrounding ranges were fantastic and we were glad we visited.

Anzac Hill 1
ANZAC Hill
Anzac Hill 2
Views beyond ANZAC Hill.
Anzac Hill
Views of Alice Springs from atop of ANZAC Hill.

Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS)

Of course it wouldn’t be a trip to Alice Springs without going to see the RFDS. For the admission price of $40 you get to look around the museum that holds a lot of the old radios and ‘medicine chests’ that the doctors used to carry around, as well as photos of the many airplanes that have been used over the years. There is also lots of information about Alfred Traeger who invented the first pedal powered transceiver radio and revolutionised communication in the outback particularly for the RFDS.

The price also includes a short hologram documentary about the history of RFDS and is narrated by its founder the Rev John Flynn, it was very educational and we all learnt a lot. Up until the 1960’s the RFDS used to contract the planes needed for the service however these day they now own their own fleet of 61 fully equipped modern aircraft that cover the whole of Australia and even out to Christmas Island. Rio Tinto have even donated an aircraft to the RFDS, however it is based at one of their locations in southern WA and is used a lot for Rio Tinto needs……

For a gold coin donation you also get to explore the interior of a RFDS plane in the visitor centre, including the cockpit. The café also sells good coffee and cake as well. Even though we were still enjoying our downtime I think we were each quietly thinking about our next adventure and destination on our OZLAP…………

RFDS 1
Pilot and co-pilot….
RFDS
Patient, nurse and doctors.
RFDS 2
Safely landed.

For a gold coin donation you also get to explore the interior of a RFDS plane in the visitor centre, including the cockpit. The café also sells good coffee and cake as well. Even though we were still enjoying our downtime I think we were each quietly thinking about our next adventure and destination on our OZLAP…………

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: