Uluru rolls out the Parakeelya carpet

We visited Uluru in September 2009, and like everyone else we were awed by its presence.  Nothing has changed on that front in a little over a year – seeing Uluru again up close still took our breath away.  But the countryside around Uluru has been transformed, and it is now surrounded by wildflowers and wildlife.  Its waterholes have been flushed clean and topped up; there are even frogs and tadpoles in Kantyu Gorge, a wonderful sign that its previously polluted waters are healthier now.


Rainbow Valley & Watarrka – Wild Country, Wildflowers, Wildlife and Wild Weather

Late afternoon, Rainbow Valley

It seems like months since we drove away from Alice Springs, our car and camper trailer packed to bursting point with food, water, fuel and all the books and treasures we accumulated over the past year during our stint of town living.  In fact, we’ve been away a week, but in that time we’ve packed in plenty of adventures, and had some thrown our way.


The Falckes Visit the Centre

Nirbeeja, Bev & Les at Simpson's Gap

Well, work is over and now it is time to play again!!!
I have just completed 10 months of being a “check-out chick” at Woolies. At the time of completion, we still had 6 or so weeks before we get back out onto the road.
Reasons for finishing work early??……1. I had had enough. and 2. We had friends and relatives visiting.
Our first visitors were our friends Janice and Chris from Canberra, and Peter has told of their visit in a previous post.


Recent photos, Alice Springs, October 2010

Nirbeeja "feels the serenity" of Jay Creek

I know, you’ve seen and heard it all before – birds, wildflowers, rugged inland scenery, and me rabbiting (bilbying?) on about how much rain we’ve had in Alice Springs and how green everything is.  Well……tough.  Here’s a bit more. And in any case, we are leaving Alice next week to explore the broader region so I couldn’t resist one more opportunity to showcase the rare beauty of Australia’s centre in full bloom.


Alice Springs Masters Games 2010 – Opening Parade

I always had a crush on Wonder Woman - but four at once! Actually, members of the Western Wonder Women volleyball team.


The concept of “Masters Games” always conjured up an image for me of a few old codgers shuffling around a running track, with a St John’s Ambulance team waiting anxiously at the finish line.

Before I’m lynched by some spritely mob, let me set the record straight.  There’s far more than athletics on offer here at the 12th Masters Games in Alice Springs.

And let me quickly add…..I’ve never seen a bunch of happier, healthier and more animated people in my life.  I must also confess that I am well and truly beyond the minimum entry age of 35.  So there.


Friends visit Alice Springs – we show them the Red (or was that Green) Centre

Field of wildflowers beside Binns Track, south east of Alice Springs

Our friends Christopher and Janice from Canberra made a flying visit to Alice Springs last weekend.  It was Janice’s third time here this year, and Christopher’s second.  They almost consider themselves to be locals now.

Their visit had been planned for a couple of months, and we were hoping the area would still be as pretty as we assured them it was.  All year we kept reporting flowing rivers, regular rainfall, wildflowers and abundant wildlife.  In the end I think they visited just to shut me up!


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.


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


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.