Alice Springs

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Red Center Dreaming

The Todd River, home to the Alice Springs Regatta is dry as usual, which is good news for the 'sailors' as they will be able to practice in their bottomless boats.  If there happened to be water in the river on the day of the race, they would have to cancel.   I guess you really do need that Aussie sense of humour to live in the middle of vast tracts of nowhere

                                                Nicole Willis




We had been hoping to meet some indigenous people while we are here but it looked very unlikely, so we signed up for a cultural evening with dinner and a corroboree.  In this part of Australia corroboree is a generic word for a theatrical performance rather than a ceremony which would be invitation only.   It turned out to be a wonderful evening, due to the very talented Descendance Theatre Company.   Nicole Willis, daughter of the founder is the matriarch, storyteller and interpreter of 'women's business'

Her son gave a presentation on the arts of the Red Center and the many tools, baskets and weapons to be made from the very hard wood of the mulga tree.  Who knew that a woomera is the implement used to launch a spear, hence the name for the rocket range?

We were given a lesson on playing the didgeridoo and encouraged to give it a try, nobody could get a peep out of it which will have come as no surprise to the cast of Descendance as it probably happens most every night

Two 'brothers' plus a 'non indigenous brother', raised by the family introduced us to 'men's business' with music and dance.   Nicole travels the world 'to show us who her people are and to educate audiences about her people and culture.   She does a great job.  The food was less than memorable but Descendence made it a night to remember

The Ghan

Named for the Afghan cameleers it replaced.  The route from Adelaide to Darwin via Alice Spring is one of the great train journeys of the world

This day it brought Brian and his wife Shirley overnight from Katherine where they had been visiting their daughter.  I had been exchanging email with Brian since planning a trip to China in 1999 and we were invited to visit them in Narooma later in the trip but this was the first time we had met.   They waded aboard the previous evening and were lucky to get away before Cyclone Larry Flooded Katherine.  We didn't know it yet but Larry was to be a thorn in our side for some time

Desert Park

In spite of the long journey Brian and Shirley were up for a day out.  So after hundreds of miles of desert we were about to visit a man made desert setting with all the birds, animals and reptiles we had see along the way and then some.  We could be forgiven for asking ourselves why? 

It's Setting in the shadow of the West Mac Donnell Ranges is perfect for their recreated river, sand and woodland habitats of the Australian center and the whole experience was wonderful

 Sir David Attenborough no less, is quoted in the brochure as saying "there is no museum or wildlife park in the world that could match it" and who is going to argue with Sir David?

The free flying birds of prey were amazing                 




















Thorny Devil

The name is scary and in Latin - horridus, doesn't sound much better but it merely means bristly

 It is covered in thorny spines and has two heads, a real one on the front and a bigger fake head on the back of it's neck to frighten predators.  It can change colour to blend in with all possible desert conditions, from grey to red, yellow or orange

These little guys fit in the palm of your hand,  are slow moving and more interested in ant's than you or me, also this one is behind glass

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