A Truckload of Trucks hits the Alice (Alice Springs Truck Parade and Show – August 2010)

A lovely old Bedford truck

Before last weekend, I’d never considered a truck to be a thing of beauty.  Sure, I’ve looked on some of the enormous outback road-trains with a sense of awe, or should I say terror, as they loom towards you in an all-engulfing cloud of dust along a rough dirt road.  But the enormous gathering of trucks, old and new, large and small, in Alice Springs for the National Road Transport Hall of Fame re-union changed all that.  I’m now in love with trucks.  I want to be a truck-driver when I grow up!


Henley-on-Todd Regatta, Alice Springs 2010

The regatta gets underway.

Forget all the hype about the Federal Election, there was something far more important and exciting happening today in Australia– the Henley-on-Todd Regatta!  Today marked the 49th consecutive year for this annual event held in Alice Springs.  The Henley-on-Todd is unique among boating regattas in that it is held on the dry, sandy bed of the Todd River.  Indeed, when the river flows, as happened one year, the regatta is cancelled.   After all our rain this year, organisers were nervous in the lead-up to this weekend, especially with rain forecast.  They needn’t have worried – the weather was perfect and the regatta venue suitably sandy and dry.


Spring arrives early in The Alice

Zebra Finch (male) gathering nesting material, Alice Springs

Spring has definitely arrived early this year in Alice Springs.  Everywhere you look, native shrubs are in flower, the birds are building nests and the hills still have a greenish tinge after consistent rainfall all this year.  It is gorgeous.  We are even getting a few days now above 20 degrees, although the nights remain cool.  Who would be anywhere else?!


Partial Lunar Eclipse – 26 June 2010 – Observed from Alice Springs NT, Australia

We admired the beautiful full moon in the early evening of 26 June 2010, but had no idea that there was to be a partial lunar eclipse, until we received a phone-call from my father in Canberra suggesting we have a look into the night sky.  A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth’s shadow blocks the sun’s rays from striking all or, in the case of a partial eclipse, some of the moon.  As it can only occur when the sun, earth and moon are in full alignment (or close to it), a lunar eclipse only occurs during the full moon.  Around half of the moon was to be in shadow during this eclipse. 

Unfortunately, we missed the start of the partial eclipse, and the first couple of hand-held photos are somewhat blurred.  Once the tripod was set up the photos improved.  I took the first photo at 8.06 PM Australian Central Standard Time (8.36PM Aust Eastern Standard Time) and took the final one of the series at 10.36PM ACST, by which time I was just about frozen solid.

Thanks Mum and Dad for the call!

Partial lunar eclipse seen from Alice Springs, 26 June 2010, 8.06PM Australian Central Standard Time


Recent photos – June 2010

Butterfly on Melaleuca blossom, Stuart Hwy, Alice Springs

Here are some (mostly) recent photos.  Where appropriate I’ve added them to other galleries on the site.  Hope you enjoy them!


Finke Desert Race 2010

Car no 70, going for broke close to the finish

Alice Springs comes alive during the cooler winter months, and the annual Finke Desert Race is one of its many attractions.  It is a gruelling event, stretching some 229km from Alice Springs to Apatula Community on the Sunday, then returning to Alice on the Monday of the June long weekend.  The race crosses the Finke River, believed to be the oldest river in the world.  To travel this track at a cautious pace in a 4WD is challenging enough, but to race across it at breakneck speed is mindboggling.  This year the number of motorcycle entrants was limited to 500.  This surprised me, because I thought you’d have trouble finding 100 suicidal maniacs to enter the event, let alone 500!  Seventy or so 4-wheeled entrants also entered the event.  I hesitate to call them cars, as they resembled something you’d more likely see in a Mad Max movie.


Storm-clouds over Alice – the Todd River flows

Ominous cloud approaching Alice.  9 April 2010

9 April 2010

Alice Springs is famous for its Henley-on-Todd Regatta, an annual ‘boating’ event held on the Todd River in the centre of Alice Springs.  Why is it famous?  Well, because the boat races only ever take place on the dry, sandy river bed.  The ‘boats’ are carried across the sand by their crews in a race to the finish.  Indeed, the only time the Regatta has ever been cancelled has been when there has been water in the river!

It was with this image of the Todd River in mind that we arrived in Alice Springs late last year.  Dry river bed, not a drop of water in sight.  We both spoke of how much we would like to see the river flow, but didn’t hold out any hope.  


Blog 12 – More of the Kimberley, then we cross the border to the NT – October 2009

View across Cambridge Gulf from Five Rivers Lookout, Wyndham WA

We finished our adventure along the Kimberley’s famous Gibb River Road feeling a strange mixture of elation and flatness.  We were elated to have experienced such a rugged, remote and ancient landscape, surprisingly full of wildlife and beauty.  We were also elated and relieved to have survived with car and camper trailer intact.  But we both also felt flat.  How could anything or anywhere live up to what we had just experienced?  How could we rekindle the almost magical quality of that region?

It was with these mixed feelings that we left the dirt and drove up the bitumen highway towards Wyndham, the most northerly major town in the Kimberley.  We had expected to drive along river flats and past mangrove swamps, but the region was surprisingly mountainous.  This was another reminder to us that Australia is a country of surprises.  Wyndham itself is a small place, with two halves separated by several kilometers.  The more modern administrative half appears to be the ‘growth’ district, while the older Wyndham Port features most of the town’s historic buildings.


Grasshoppers of Alice Springs


If you’ve seen one grasshopper, you’ve seen them all. Or so we thought until the last month in Alice Springs. Unusually heavy rainfall in January and February has led to an explosion in insect numbers in the region. Grasshoppers have been particularly noticeable among those insects, and have gone into a breeding frenzy, leading to a plague that threatens serious damage to local agricultural interests. (more…)