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Monday 25 Aug 2003
Alice Springs, Australia

Arrived in the Red Centre

Come a LONG way over the past few days... Ive arrived smack in the middle of the country, passed the Tropic of Capricorn (again!) in only 3 days because, well, there really aint much to see between here and Queensland...

23/8/2003

Last night I drove on from Cloncurry to Normanton. Long drive, not much to see. Arrived at Normonton and found a place along a suburban street to camp. This morning my battery gave me more grief, so I hauled it out and bought a new BIGGER one for 100 bucks.. more costs, but necesarry since the battery in the van was a tiddler.

Today I drove along more track toward Camooweal, the last town on the border between Queensland and the Northern Territory. Much of the road was one-lane with two-way traffic. Many times I had to slow right down to 20km/h to veer off the paved road while a large road-train approached from the other direction.

On the way to Camooweal I passed through Mt Isa. There is a large mine operation here - the largest silver mine in the world apparently - and Lonely Planet said that it is possible to take a tour underground. Thus this place has been on my agenda for a few weeks. Unfortunately when I got there underground tours were not available... grrrr. Well at least I didnt have to go out of my way since Mt Isa is an essential pass-through on the way west.

Camooweal was a dusty outback town but I DID manage to find a nice carpark in a campsite-cum-garage with, you guessed it, outside accessible showers. Met 2 unusual Queenslanders (working in the Saddle trade) that night who shared their XXXX beers while I regailed them with tales of my travels in Nam.

24/8/2003

Left Camooweal after a nice hot free shower. Put MORE expensive fuel in the car (the petrol costs $1.20/litre in these small towns) and zoomed off across the border into the Northern Territories. After an agonising 5-hour drive (passing by relatively uninteresting scrubland) I got to "3-ways". This is the junction point in the middle of the NT where I choose "Do I go north to Darwin, or South to Alice Springs?". Alice Springs it was so!

On the way south I passed through the first real BIG town in 2 days: Tennant Creek. Essentially a one-road town, I stopped off here to do some laundry and got talking to some Aboriginal kids here too. Yep thats right, Aboriginals actually TALK to you in the NT! No more loud-scary-drunken-anti-white shouting as Ive become accustomed to. Admittedly the kids were talking about gang-fights they took part in at Alice Springs, but twas interesting nonetheless.

Met up with Emma and Chris, a Physio and a Vet who were heading south. They told me about a good campsite down beside the "Devils Marbles" natural site that they were gonna stay at, so I decided Id meet up with them there.

Sure enough, the Devils Marbles was an interesting location, just off the Stuart Highway heading south. The "marbles" are large rock formations created by the weathering action of water against dried-lava. Experienced a beautiful sunset and outstanding starry night sky while we jammed away on our guitars beside a campfire. Mars was on full display too! Oh and Emma gave me some good physio treatment on my shoulder, ta ya very much!

25/8/2003

Woke up early (note that the clocks actually go back half-an-hour when you cross from Queensland to NT!) and took some great shots of the Marbles against the outback sunrise. Said my farewells to Emma and Chris (although it wasnt long-lived since I bumped into em several times more today on the way to Alice Springs.. doh!) and headed off south to Alice Springs. On the way I came across the unusal location of a "UFO sighting". Essentially there is a gas station here like any other, except for the extensive signage and alien papier-mache figures along the road that try to "remind" you how this place was visited by people from another world. Emmm not sure WHY aliens would go there, unless they fancy checking out the Devils Marbles sunset or over-priced fuel?

Tonight Im gonna stay in a camp site for 9 dollars since Alice Springs aint the safest place to stay out at during the night (apparently)... Tommorrow I will bear witness to the awesome might that is Ulluru! I might stay there for a few days in fact.. Will update you when I get back.

Farewell Humans!

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Photo Album

  • Devils Marbles

    Alice Springs

    Australia

    Devils Marbles
  • On top of the...

    Alice Springs

    Australia

    On top of the rock
  • UFO Landing...

    Alice Springs

    Australia

    UFO Landing Site
  • Ayers Rock

    Alice Springs

    Australia

    Ayers Rock