NORTHERN TERRITORY Slideshows

Loving the widgetty grubs

Wednesday 1 March Adelaide to Alice Springs

Had the fresh figs for breakfast which were delicious. Another hot sunny day. The campsite staff drove the golf buggy with all our bags to reception and from there we got a taxi to Adelaide airport. Keef & I didn’t recognise it (we had flown from Alice to Adelaide 10 years ago) so it had obviously had a bit of an architectural make-over. Our flight to Alice Springs left at 10.40am & we had to change our watches as Northern territory daylight saving time was one hour behind Adelaide time. At Alice airport we got the Alice Wanderer shuttle taxi service to take us to our motel – Elkira Motel. We walked around the town & it was very hot at midday. Saw the Residency house & garden which was open to the public. The Queen & Price Phillip had stayed there in the 1960’s for 2 days & he had got food poisoning. Charles & Diana had also visited Alice & stayed there on a later date. Next to the Residency there was a new Northern Territory Supreme Court building almost finished. Walked through Todd Mall & went into tourist info. Keef & I enquired about about the shuttle bus taking tourists to all the best sites in & around Alice but unfortunately it had ceased running. Also the man who used to do the free didgereedo lessons had gone bust & was now a bus driver (we had bought our didgereedo from him 10 years ago). The tourist info staff recommended us to visit the Desert Park a few kms outside Alice so we decided to do this the next day.

We visited an art gallery which exhibited Aboriginal art works – dot paintings. An Aboriginal lady called Margaret was sat on a cushion on the floor concentrating on her dot painting. When we tried to talk to her she was not communicative. The gallery owners probably make a handsome profit from these paintings. We walked on to the Royal Flying Doctor Service museum at 4pm. We had missed the film presentation so instead looked at the museum which was very interesting. Went back to the motel & K & I swam in the pool & then had showers. We all went to the Red Ochre Grill restaurant in Todd Mall for our evening meal.

Thursday 2 March Alice Springs

Had motel buffet breakfast which was very good. Keef had the full English breakfast which was huge. Then we got a taxi to Desert Park ( a wildlife park in the desert outside Alice). I was not feeling well, weak & occasionally light-headed with a cough & swollen glands in my neck – a virus probably picked up on the plane. Hope none of the others catch the bug. C & A kindly gave me some tablets which I took.

When we arrived at the park we had to hurry at top speed to catch the wild birds in flight demonstration in the amphitheatre which was just about to start. The ranger gave an excellent talk about desert birds & the setting was spectacular with the MacDonnell Ranges as a backdrop. We saw owls & kites fly low over our heads & wedgetailed eagles flying at speed towards the amphitheatre. The temperature was 37c according to one of the park wardens & it got even hotter in the afternoon.

We saw animals such as roos & emus & watched an informative presentation about Aboriginal bush tucker by a female Aboriginal park warden who showed us food , wooden tools, weapons & bowls. It was very interesting to hear how the women gathered berries, bush fruits, plus seeds & grasses to make damper (a flat bread) whilst the men’s role was to hunt game. She said that witchety grubs tasted like runny egg yolk & were nutritious. They had to bite the heads off the grubs which were found in dead tree branches or tree trunks. The grubs were about 2½ - 3 inches long & ¾” wide. Luckily she only had a plastic one to show us which did look quite realistic.

We walked into two bird aviaries to see more desert birds, including a large black cockatoo. Then we went to the nocturnal house where an Aboriginal guide told us about the exhibits – small mammals such as the bilby, desert rat, numbat, plus snakes & lizards. He said that the small & thin Death Adder snake is so toxic if it bites you that you only have 40 mins before you die. Thinking back to us walking around Cook on the Nullabor it was no wonder that the train staff did not want any snakebite victims. Most of the roos were asleep & lying down so we couldn’t see them properly. Did not have any lunch but drank a lot of water. At the end of the afternoon at 3pm we watched a 20 min film about the desert in the cinema. We all enjoyed the Desert Park. Got a taxi back to our motel. Had a shower then I went to bed & slept for 3 hours. In the evening we all walked into town to a pizza restaurant. I ate hardly anything as still unwell. I don’t know how I managed to walk around in the desert heat all day. Went to bed & slept for 10 hours!!!

Friday 3 March Alice Springs to Adelaide

We ate breakfast in the motel again then caught the shuttle transport back to the airport via various hotels & backpacker hostels to pick up other tourists. The Qantas flight went over the desert & some massive salt lakes – no habitation visible at all from the plane apart from dirt road tracks. When we got to Adelaide we collected our large bags from the left luggage lockers & got a taxi to our motel – The Atlantic Towers in Glenelg, a suburb of Adelaide by the coast with very fine white sandy beaches. This motel was a tall round tower & even our rooms had curved walls. The rooms were very modern & spacious with an excellent bathroom. We all went for an evening stroll & had some drinks at an oyster bar. As it was Friday evening the restaurants & bars in Glenelg were packed. Walked past the marina & more restaurants. There were some very large expensive boats in the marina & designer apartments with sea views. Saw the Glenelg pier, tram & clock tower & then walked back. We decided to have dinner at an Aussie Outback bar/restaurant where we managed to get a free table. I could barely manage my meal (chicken salad) and had to rush to the loo with severe diarrhoea. Walked back to the motel & I took some tummy tablets which sorted me out. Had no idea what caused the bug as no one else was ill.