A given; travel and surprises go hand in hand. Those surprises become memorable adventures, many that go beyond any imagination. Today’s location in point; Australia’s vast and infectious Outback.
The forecast upon our arrival in Alice Springs was already counter to expectations, having long anticipated the famous or infamous conditions that usually prevail. That is very hot and dry weather. It was not to be. We arrived under cool temperatures 50’s and low 60’s F with 100% promise of rain. The locals confirmed that this was notable, newsworthy and very welcome. Rain it did as we donned our rain wear and umbrellas. After a day or two of seeing the prevalent Todd River basin dry and parched, sizable puddles, be it small ponds appeared.
The drive took 4 1/2 hours to go the 450km/270mi from Alice Springs. The purpose of the drive was to give us the true distances in vast space that is the Outback. The rivers and the roads were flooded, rain was falling and the road was mostly empty. We did encounter the monstrous “truck trains” made up of 3-5 truck trailers pulled by various types of trailers. The flooded roads did make the trip slow going but we were able to visit the red sand beach, the camel farm other attractions along the way.
Saving time and having already survived the grueling drive in reverse, we flew back to Alice Springs a 30 minute flight where we enjoyed visits to the agencies I referred to, The Royal Flying Doctors home base and School of the air.
Since early days of flying, The Royal Flying Doctors have saved many lives reaching injured patients in far away locations. The School of the Air is an incredible concept and is just that. School first via Morse code and updated to modern electronics to aid students in their school work on their remote homesteads and farms. Books and supplies are mailed to their homes along with assignments and frequent conversations between teachers and the student are scheduled.
Desert park, a remarkable nature reserve is devoted to protecting and educating the public about the flora, fauna, forests and jungles of the area. Somehow, Australia harbors the most poisonous species of snakes, spiders and other creatures in the world. We of course, saw kangaroos, small and large birds, crocodiles, eels and a vast number of other species both familiar and unfamiliar to travelers.
We learned first hand about the long history and trials of survival that hae faced the Aboriginal People. We interacted with the modern and vibrant community of the Aboriginal people and observed and interacted with them to learn about their arts, crafts, history and cultural development and achievements.
Didgeridoo Truck train monster
This blog entry is but a very brief summary of what we learned and observed. The outback must be experienced first hand to really have an inkling of what life involves in the vast area of Australia. We also must return for more adventure in the vibrant, rough, beautiful country of Australia.
Roos of course Demo Fire making
Royal Flying Doctors service locations