Monday, 26 October 2009

East MacDonnell Ranges

October 23

East out of Alice Springs, the earth is terracotta orange, contrasting with the blue-grey of the mulga. Rough, chunky hills rise out a smooth, sandy plain.

We came first to pretty Emily Gap.

A little further along was even more lovely Jessie Gap, its car park shaded by a beautiful specimen of river red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis).

It was a good sign. Younger trees in flower lined our path,

and several more graceful gums grew in the dry river bed.

This narrowed between steep, red walls, then opened out again into pale sand and grass. It was spectacular and we had it for the most part to ourselves.

Michael sat under a gum tree to do some painting, but had trouble keeping his paper wet in the hot breeze.

Further along the route, we came to Corroboree Rock, a dark, rugged jumble above the plain. According to our literature, it was not used for any corroborees.

We ventured as far as Ross River Homestead, hoping to find a lunch spot there, but the reception was not hospitable once it became clear that we didn't plan to stay in one of their cabins, buy a meal or booze.

Returning to town, we had a look at the aviation museum we had passed up earlier, housed in an old hangar.

Outside is one of the planes used for the Flying Doctor Service, now superseded by more modern aircraft.

Inside were more planes and associated, engines, radios, etc, including a DC3 that you could board, set up as it was for passenger flights in the days before the modest Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service became the international giant still known by those initials - Qantas.

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