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October 28 Alice Springs, Australia

Flight to Alice Springs from Sydney, Tour of Alice Springs


October 28 Alice Spring, NW, Australia

Up early, checked our big luggage at the hotel, and with just a carry on bag we loaded into our transfer for the airport. Our flight to Alice Springs was delayed so we killed an hour at the airport, then we flew for 3 hours, an uneventful flight except we were thrilled to have free wifi for the trip! Life’s small pleasures! It was interesting to note that we set our clocks back 1.5 hours upon arrival in Alice Springs.

Alice Springs population is about 25, 00 - 28,000 (a transient population accounts for this fluctuation). There is an American Military Base near there, which brings important revenue to the town. It has influenced their sports, providing facilities for baseball and basketball. There are 1500 service personal at the base. The town is much more developed and modern than we thought it would be. While the rest of Australia is suffering from drought, the Alice Springs area has lots of water; while river beds may be dry, there is much water about one meter below the surface.


Our transfer greeted us, took us to our hotel, the Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lassiter, which was quite quaint and we had about 30 minutes to unpack, freshen up, change our clothes and meet our tour in the lobby! We boarded a coach along with 4 other passengers and headed off on our Alice Springs Tour.

First stop was the School of the Air where we learned about the way children in the Outback and remote areas of the Northern Territory are schooled via technology. It was established in 1951 and has evolved into an amazing network of educational opportunities for youth in remote areas of the NW. It provides them with the extras which they cannot get by doing correspondence lessons, helps them with special difficulties and makes them feel part of a group, instead of being isolated far from any other children. About 110 children are involved in educational programs each week, and three times a year they all gather in Alice Springs for group educational, cultural and social activities. An amazing education endeavour!


Telegraph Station: the next stop was the Telegraph Trail Station where we learned about Australia’s overland telegraph line. It opened in August 1872, was over 3,000 km long, with 12 repeater stations and was built in 2 years. As the network improved some repeater stations were abandoned and others were moved to more suitable locations. An incredible feat, it was able to connect Adelaide to Darwin.


In 1932 the large corrugated iron building was converted to a dormitory to house children of mixed descent who were taken from their Aboriginal mothers. These children were the result of white males who landed in Australia impregnating young Aboriginal girls and then leaving the area with the babies and mothers left to fend for themselves. The government felt that the dormitory was a more appropriate place for the children than living in the river valleys nearby. This dormitory housed children from 1932-1942 and then was closed. The children were placed in foster care or were old enough to live independently.


Flying Doctors: we moved on to the Royal Flying Doctor Sevice where we heard about how Australia’s remote areas are serviced by an extensive network of doctors and nurses who fly in and out of these areas providing emergency medical support and educational clinics. They have 63 planes, in 11 locations, with several planes in the air at any one time, 24 / 7.


We also visited the Alice Springs Reptile Center where we were up close with with lizards and snakes of Central Australia’s semi-arid desert. We also met Terry, a 300 kg crocodile who is 11 years old and has lived at the center since he was very young. Coincidence or not, the crocodile’s name - Terry, weight - 300kg, I think not!! Haha!


Our tour concluded with a panoramic view of the township of Alice Springs and the MacDonnell Ranges from the top of ANZAC Hill (stands for Australia New Zealand Army Corp). The Hill is a monument to the soldiers who have fought in the many wars since WW1. We were able to watch an amazing sunset before heading back to our hotel.


Back at the hotel, we had a bite to eat and then we were done for the day. And that’s a wrap...more to come. Carol on the go!


Posted by carolonthego 23:20 Archived in Australia

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