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The Outback of Australia


Bob
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I've spoken to a few South Africans over the phone while they happen to have still been in South Africa.

One of the statements they sometimes make is of not really knowing too much about Australia. They seen plenty of movies and soapies about America and the Grand Canyon, the Rockies, and so on - but what about Australia?

Well! As some of you old timers on this website gather, you've got your resident grey nomad on board, travelling many thousands of miles (or kilometres nowadays), seeing all sorts of interesting parts of this big country, which is seven times bigger in size than South Africa.

Over the year's I've been four times or so to the Northern Territory. It's a big territory in itself, as big as South Africa yet only having about 150 000 people living there. There's room for a couple more people, in my belief!

It's largely a dry territory, especially the southern part of the territory around "the Alice", as Aussies call Alice Springs.

There's no end of work here in mining, tourism, etc. and opportunity abounds for young folk to get themselves up here. Strangely, only a few Australians nowadays like to leave their comfort zones and actually live in remote parts of Australia, but I think the lifestyle is to be lived for a while to be appeciated and experienced.

Anyhow . . . . that's another story, but this one is about the ranges immediately to the west of Alice Springs - The West MacDonell Ranges.

Living in Adelaide, this sort of countryside is accessible by ordinary car for a family to come and really enjoy for a week or two during the school holidays.

I brought my three kids up here in 1994, camping in a 9' by 9' square tent in a campground in Alice Springs. I'm at the same campground 16 years later, paying only $24 a night for power, showers, etc. Some of the campgrounds are even cheaper, but more basic in the Ranges themselves as you'll find out.

The drive up from Adelaide is 1 500 kms, so takes 2 good days to drive it. You can stop at Coober Pedy where most of Australia's opals are mined on the way to break the trip up a bit.

We leave the Alice

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the interpretive centre explaining some of the main points on the way

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the explanation of the dryness of the "Red Centre"

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....... and a few miles / kms later sees us at John Flynn's grave.

The Rev. John Flynn was a Presbyterian minister who pioneered many of the remote Outback's means to a better life.

He started the Royal Flying Doctor Service which flew seriously ill people from cattle stations and work camps far away from the townships of Australia back to Alice Springs for treatment at the local hospital.

More than a few Australians owe their lives to being transported swiftly enough for urgent medical care in time.

They owe their lives to this great Australian who died only in 1951.

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the awe inspiring countryside in which John Flynn is buried

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Leaving the gravesite and heading west, we come to Simpson's Gap after 15 mins drive.

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Many of these gaps and gorges in the mountain range have waterholes, some of which allow you to have a good refreshing swim in.

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the trek back to the car

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More piccies to follow tomorrow for those interested in a Territory holiday at some stage in the next few years!

Edited by Bob
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Hi there Bob. Thanks for sharing this with us. Every time I see one of these kind of posts I wish I had more time to tour through this big and wonderful country! One day!!

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Hi there Bob. Thanks for sharing this with us. Every time I see one of these kind of posts I wish I had more time to tour through this big and wonderful country! One day!!

BOB

ur photos remind me of Graaf Reinet.

is it a bit like that, ie like the Karoo, just bigger?

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All I remember of the Karoo unfortunately, was what I saw on driving from Cape Town to the Free State - the townships we drove thro, the Block Houses from 100 years ago, the dry, the hills in the distance, the Orange River.

All now 25 years old in memory, so I think it's similar, but don't quote me on that.

I think the West MacDonell Ranges are even more rugged and grand than what I remember of the Karoo.

Anyhow . . . any bloke wanting to see the Outback and wishing to get out in the bush can tick this one off his bucket list of things to do before he karks it one day.

I find myself coming back time and again to the Red Centre of Australia. It is a bit different to all the other parts of Australia I've experienced.

Other parts may be dry, but this has its own unique appeal.

The closest I can come to in South Australia is the Flinders Ranges, about 400 kms north of Adelaide. . . . . and I've only been there about 30 times since I could drive!

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Hi Bob

thank you so much for the info and photos!!! This is truly a beautiful country we live in.

We are a group of 3 famlies that are planning a trip to Alice Springs and Uluru from Melbourne via Adelaide for next year September school holidays.

If you don't mind will it be ok if I PM you with some questions?

Thanks again for the great posts!

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Hi Bob

thank you so much for the info and photos!!! This is truly a beautiful country we live in.

We are a group of 3 famlies that are planning a trip to Alice Springs and Uluru from Melbourne via Adelaide for next year September school holidays.

If you don't mind will it be ok if I PM you with some questions?

Thanks again for the great posts!

Sure.

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