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ALICE SPRINGS TO ALICE SPRINGS-THE LOOP VIA LARAPINDA DRIVE & NAMATJIRA DRIVE

June 3, 2013

Just had a nice surprise-friends we are travelling across the Great Central road with arrived here earlier than expected so we have just had a cuppa with them. We then went back to their caravan park & had happy hour with Sue & Ann, Margaret & Peter, Chris & Val.
To-morrow we are going to spend a few days out in the West MacDonnell Ranges. Have been there 2 years ago but only as a day trip. Shall be having some sleep ins I am assuming because we will be camping with no power so will be a little chilly getting out of bed too early, although temp is supposed to be back up to 12 degrees by Friday.
Before we headed west to the Ranges, after not touring the Overland Telegraph Station, that was what we did before leaving Alice Springs.

This is what I call a great stove!

On our way out of Alice Springs stopped to have another look at The Rev John Flynn’s burial site.

We decided to travel in a clockwise direction to do the Red Centre loop.

Our first night was at Meullers Creek #38 in camps 7. Once the traffic stopped there was complete quiet! Only one vehicle drove into the site but only stopped a few minutes the continued on its way. Was hoping for nice sunset/sunrises but that did not happen.

Was not cold so ate breakfast out side before the flies arrived. First side track was into Hermannsburg to have another quick look as did the Precinct tour in 2011.
Just after we crossed the Finke Rv & the turn off to Palm Valley the road became gravel. It was a challenge- if only corrugations you can ride the top of them but these corrugations were filled with potholes
so made for cautious travel.

Called into Albert Namatjira’s home again & also it was cuppa time.

Wandered down to the Finke Rv behind his house- it would be a raging torrent in flood!
Continued on for about another 40k then turned off Larapinta Drive, which continues around to King’s Canyon, along the Mereenie Loop road for which you have to obtain a permit. We were now heading north to complete the circuit around to Alice Springs. This road is all sealed & travels past many gorges & camping grounds as well as the Glen Helen Resort. Passed the Gosse Bluff which we did not drive in the 6ks as the road was for 4WD & narrow. However, the view we got from the top of the Tyler’s Pass lookout was brilliant.

Decided to spend the night here- hoping for brilliant sunset/sunrise. The clouds in the sky should make for great photos- fingers crossed.
Sunset was nothing brilliant as there was too much cloud cover unfortunately.
For a few minutes the sun shone over Gosse Bluff.

This is a very sick looking Grevillea.

We could hear vehicles coming either way but very hard to see them in amongst the hills.
A rainbow, or small part of one, appeared late in the afternoon & we surmised that it could be over Erldunda where they were supposed to be getting storms.

About 9pm we heard a vehicle & saw lights in the distance & decided to put all lights out. We did not want visitors at that time of the night. They did stop at the bottom of the lookout hill but after a few minutes moved on, thank goodness. We normally do not feel anxious when we are by ourselves but this time decided to be cautious.
I got up early to make my cuppa, rugged up against the cool breeze & sat outside about 6.30 to wait for the sunrise.

Had to wait then for to to get over Gosse Bluff.

Headed north again on good sealed roads with plenty of warning signs about crests, curves etc. Plenty of cattle grazing & not in the least worried about the traffic. Bruce went bush to dig a hole to empty the cassette & commented that the rock was a little hard!
As we got closer to Glen Helen Gorge the ranges changes considerably in their appearance. At times there seemed to be three layers.

Drove up Mt Sonder lookout & saw where we were going to camp for a few nights. Chris had given us the Co-ordinates & at last I know how to put them into the Navman!

We are camped beside the Finke Rv just to the right of the hill- the other side of the permanent waterhole. The entrance was only a few metres down the road.

Did not take too much persuasion, on my part, to get a fire going to cook dinner. We gathered left over timber from some other fire places as well as some of our sleeper from the Ghan railway track.

Then waited for the sunset to unfold. The changing colours at different times is amazing. The red rock, green trees with white trunks reflected in the water was rather nice.

There are various water birds- one of these days I WILL get around to buying a bird book.

This shag must have a lease on this rock as he has been on it since we got here, except to come over our side for a change of scenery this morning.
Once again made my cuppa this morning & had to really rug up as the wind was rather cold.
Could not believe my eyes when a dingo passed by me, very close, to get a drink.

Did not want to move to go to car for longer lens as did not want to disturb him.
Until the birds started to get out of bed & cause ripples in the water it was so peaceful.

Weather did not look too promising but by lunch the sun was shining again.
So peaceful here with only the calls of the water birds & occasional noise in the water when one bird decided to chase another! Playing or amorous? The Pelican arrived back about lunch time again for about an hour as it did yesterday. Sat & watched a Magpie scratch the sand with his beak once then food into mouth- this went on for about 30 mins so he obviously knew there was something here worth eating.

Got visitors, Webby & Ann arrived after they had booked into Glen Helen over the road. They said that the sites very close with not even room for awning. Unfortunately they had paid so could not move to over here which was a shame as they are good company. Anyway they came back here for a drink around the fire & to see the sunset.

The sunset was pale yellow at first then turned to orange within a few minutes.
Sunday morning, outside waiting for the sunrise & maybe the dingo again but he did not appear but the magpie was back scratching around & was soon joined by two PeeWees which were soon chased away. However as soon as the Magpie flew off they were back. They were fascinating to watch. They were scratching, not with their beaks, but moving in a continuous circle, on one spot, & throwing dirt backwards with feet as they moved in the circle. Must have been getting giddy as they would change direction every few seconds!. The last ones to arrive were about six Pigeons
They were then joined by a crow who also started moving sand with his beak to find what ever was there. Wish I could have seen what they were all eating.

Anyway, it was an interesting 30 mins out in the 12 degree temp this morning.

We had brekky, packed up & sorry to be leaving such a great spot to set up for a few days. Called over to Glen Helen resort to say goodbye to Sue & Ann & Margaret & Peter.

Next stop was going to be Ormiston Gorge then Ochre Pits & then the Neil Hargrave Lookout #44 in Camps 7 where we are spending the night.
All sealed road into the Ormiston Gorge. we had a look at info about the walks then had a cuppa before going on the shortest. There were a lot of steps, but not continual & were quite easy with the aid of my walking stick. Am determined not to let the Tendonitis in my hip stop me from doing walks. It decided to return about 2 weeks ago but so far not as bad as when I had the Cortisone under Ultrasound back in Adelaide..

Once we got back down to the creek bed, which flows into the Finke apparently, we had to climb over some rocks & the colors in these rock was so beautiful.

Looking back up at the lookout from down at the waterhole.

There were a few native flowers on the walk back to the van .

Got back to van after about an hour so decided to have lunch before moving. Just at the turn off into the Gorge is this grave & foolishly I did not write down his name. It would not be hard to find by using google & for Panorama Guth as that is his surname (I think). It does not say where the Panorama is situated though.

Next stop was into the Ochre pits which are only 300 mt off the roadside.

We were fortunate to have the sun appear before we got here as I do not think that the colors would be as vibrant.
Only a few klms further & we were on top of Neil Hargrave lookout for the night. First thing was a shower then a cuppa.

Took this while the sun was shining in case that not the case to-morrow.
We were sitting inside & had totally forgot about checking outside for a sunset as it was so windy & cold but heard a car stop so had to have a look & this is what greeted us.

It was brilliant. Grabbed camera & coat as was in PJ’s & joined the others outside. Forgot about the cold for a few minutes.
Could not resist taking this photo while driving back in to Alice Springs this morning. It was totally overcast & some of the cloud was so low with the sun trying to come through.

Got back into Alice,eventually, after stopping about 50ks out for a roadside cuppa. Chris & Val were heading out to the West MacDonnells where we had just come from so instead of standing beside the van talking in the cold went inside for a cuppa. There was a knock on our door & outside were a couple who had seen Chris & Val’s van so they also came in out of the cold.
Checked back into the Heavitree Gap Van Park (the pensioner’s park!) for a couple of nights as need to do a grocery shop, fuel, fill water, wash, defrost fridge etc etc etc before we head off again. Tried to find a smaller shower rose for the ensuite but there is not one in Alice Springs- went to every hardware store as well as van repairers. Shall have to continue using our camping shower which uses so much less water.
Do not know when I will get another post done after we leave Alice Springs, probably Wednesday.

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2 Comments
  1. Dot & George permalink

    As usual such beautiful beautiful pictures Kay, I am soooooo green right now How about you put some on the forum? If you can’t still do it send me one and I shall put it up for you June comp ends soon. Love to you both XXX

    • Glad you liked piccys. Still having trouble logging into blog! I do tick keep me logged in but does not make any difference.

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