Heading off to the Western McDonnell Ranges today, an 8 o'clock start for another full day trip. Larapinter -Serpent's tail & McDonell range -processional caterpillar -aboriginal descriptions for where we are in Alice Springs.
The indigenous people have strong links with this area. If a tribe have a bird / animal as their totem, they are responsible for its continued survival, and so even if they eat it, use its skin etc. they will do so in a sustainable manner. The Northern territories has approximately 270,000 people in 1.4 million square miles. The indigenous people seem less integrated here than the Native Americans or the First Nation in Canada. I appreciate that is a very superficial judgement based on very little evidence -strictly a first impression. The ones we have seen are in groups sitting in grass verges and could be quite scary. The Aboriginals have their own flag : 2 horizontal black and red stripes (colour of their skin and colour of the earth), and a golden sun in the middle. This flag flies alongside the Australian flag on government buildings etc.
Alice Springs Desert Park - zoo and flora; hard not to use superlatives. Lots of local wildlife in natural enclosures -kangaroo, emu, dingo of course plus loads of smaller mammals including a quillo! Incredible wild bird performance - 30 minutes in an open to the sky auditorium - where birds of prey and other birds demonstrated their skills under the training, guidance and food provided by the rangers. We were told to stay sitting down and not to eat or the birds might swoop down on us. They caught food on the wing, fished etc.
dkc-1075-025Kangeroos lazing in the shade dkc-1075-046Part of Birds of Prey demonstration dkc-1075-061A Dingo dkc-1075-057An Emu We felt our photos won't do it justice so planned to buy postcards but they didn't really have any. So D bought a hat and I bought another bag instead!
image - denis hat (from phone images?)
Stanley Chasm - a striking deep red cleft that glows in reflected sunlight. Scenic walk along the chasm and back, just over a mile but VERY hot. Then BBQ lunch (kangaroo, chewy and a bit tough but nice enough) with salad and fruit.
dkc-1075-078-HDR-LR-2The end of Stanley's Chasm
Finally Simpson Gap, for another scenic walk, this time to a water hole, again v hot but stunning. The driver has a huge container of chilled water under the coach and we are encouraged to have a sip of water every 10 minutes or so as there is a serious risk of dehydration and to refill our bottles at each stop.
dkc-1075-095Water Hole at Simpson's Gap
Back to the hotel for 3:30. Used the laundrette, had a relax with a cuppa, wrote the blog, knitted, sorted photographs. ....
Dinner in the hotel again tonight as there is not very much around us. Cases outside tomorrow for 7am and we leave at 8 for Uluru otherwise known as Ayers Rock. Another excellent day.