Alice Springs Off The Beaten Path

  • Budgerigar nesting for the night
    Budgerigar nesting for the night
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  • Palm Valley Campsite from Other Side of Palm Creek
    Palm Valley Campsite from Other Side of...
    by AlbuqRay
  • Crocodile Looking Rock at Canyon Entrance
    Crocodile Looking Rock at Canyon...
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Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Alice Springs

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    Upper Part of the Kings Creek Walk

    by AlbuqRay Updated Mar 18, 2011

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    Crossing the Dry Creek Bed and Heading Up
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    Once you get past the turn to the Kings Canyon Walk, the canyon starts to narrow and get steeper. We went there early in the morning (~7 AM) on 14 Aug 2010 and got to see the sun rise and peek down into the canyon. See also a videoclip of sunrise at the Garden of Eden in the upper end of Kings Canyon.

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    Lower Part of Kings Creek Walk

    by AlbuqRay Updated Mar 18, 2011

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    Start of the Kings Creek Walk
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    Kings Canyon is in the Watarranka National Park. The Kings Creek Walk is an easy, 2.6 km trail up through the canyon to an observation platform where you can see the start of the Garden of Eden. The initial part of the trail near the car park is in the wider, flatter part of the canyon. The upper part of the trail is steeper and runs through the rocky creek bed. Along the way, just past the the Cotterill Cairn, is the turn to go on the Kings Canyon Walk up to the rim of the canyon.

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    Kings Creek Walk, Kings Canyon Walk & Giles Track

    by AlbuqRay Updated Mar 17, 2011

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    Kings Creek Walks Signpost
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    There are two walks and one long day trek that are available from the Kings Creek trailhead. The Kings Creek Walk is 2.6 km and 1.0 hour return. It is a well marked trail along the creek that ends at a viewing platform in the upper part of the canyon, which is called the Garden of Eden. The Kings Canyon Walk is 6 km and 3.5 hours return. It starts with a steep climb up to the rim of the canyon and has views down into the Garden of Eden. It then crosses a bridge across a narrow part of the canyon and loops back around the south part of the canyon to the trailhead. Most of us only did the Kings Creek Walk; however, Zyg and Bob also did the Kings Canyon Walk while the rest of us drove to Kathleen Springs and did the trail there.

    Although none of us did it, the Giles Track is a 22 km trail from the Kings Creek trailhead to the Kathleen Springs trailhead that runs along the southern rim of the George Gill Range. It is a very long day walk to do the Giles Track. An alternative is to drive to the Lilla trailhead, take the Tjintjit Tjintjit Spur up to the southern rim and do a day trip to either Kings Creek or Kathleen Springs.

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    Around the Campfire at Kings Creek Station

    by AlbuqRay Updated Mar 16, 2011

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    Bob Pouring Wine
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    Bob did his job... poured the wine. Rosie toasted marshmallows and a few songs were sung. Well, that is using the word, sung, loosely. See also a couple of videoclips. Did I mention that the campfire was warm but it was really cold when we got up in the morning?

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    Barely Survived on Australian Tucker

    by AlbuqRay Updated Mar 16, 2011

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    Zyg Minding the Campfire
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    Tucker is Australian slang for food. Since it was the 2010 VT Survivor Camp, we had to rough it, right? I'll let you judge. The first evening at Kings Creek Station, we had to collect firewood from an offroad area south of the station. Secondly, Zyg fired up a campfire and got out his cast iron camp oven to cook the lamb and pork roasts. Meanwhile, Rosie, Deb and Pauline were wrapping the sweet potatoes, white potatoes and pumpkin in tin foil to cook in the coals. See four videoclips on how to use a camp oven. Two hours later after opening the apple sauce, everything was ready. See the last picture for the final product. Some people whose initials were ROSIE toasted marshmallows for dessert. Could you survive on this tucker?

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    Second Night's Dinner at Kings Creek Station

    by AlbuqRay Updated Mar 16, 2011

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    Rosie Starting the Spicy Salami with Vegetables
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    Somehow everyone survived the first night's dinner, so Rosie made a tasty spicy salami dish with vegetables and olives to eat on rice. Pauline made some delicious johnnycakes for dessert. Bob played his new didgeridoo CD (see a videoclip). Amazingly, everyone managed to survive again!

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    Sunset from Tank Hill at Kings Creek Station

    by AlbuqRay Written Mar 16, 2011
    Sunset at the Tank Hill Lookout
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    There is a hill behind Kings Creek Station. The water tanks that supply the station are located there. The Tank Hill Lookout is just a short walk from the campground and is a great place to watch the sunset. There is also a picnic table.

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    More Kings Creek Station Amenities

    by AlbuqRay Updated Mar 16, 2011
    Kings Creek Station Cafe
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    The Kings Creek Station Cafe serves camel burgers. I guess those camels that don't behave on the safaris end up as burgers. Actually the station is the largest exporter of wild camels in Australia and sells camels for live export, live domestic sales and meat.

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    Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve

    by AlbuqRay Updated Mar 13, 2011

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    Largest Hole (#7) Is Two Overlapping Craters
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    Around 4700 years ago, a large nickel-iron (8%-90%) alloy meteorite traveling at over 40,000 km/hr broke up before its impact at Henbury. This created 12 known craters ranging in diameter from 7 - 180 meters, and up to 15 meters deep. There are possibly three more craters. One crater (#6) has water in it. Approximately 2 - 3 tons of meteorite fragments have been recovered over a wide area. One piece, weighing 44 kg, is now in the Spencer and Gillen Museum in Alice Springs. The craters are named for Henbury Station, a nearby cattle station named in 1875 for the family home of its founders at Henbury in Dorset, England. The craters were discovered in 1899 by the manager of the station, then went uninvestigated until interest was stirred when the Karoonda meteorite fell on South Australia in 1930. There are two papers with interesting details and maps: the 1965 Smithsonian Institute scientific paper by Paul W. Hodge on the Henbury Craters, and a 2002 Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve Management Plan. See also two videoclips.

    Long term weathering has softened the edges of the craters and now a 1.5 km self-guiding loop trail runs from the small camping area through the site. There are a few covered picnic tables and a dunny (pit toilet) at the site. In dry weather the Reserve can be reached in a conventional 2WD vehicle. At 132 km south of Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway, the unpaved Ernest Giles Road goes to the west, eventually meeting the paved Luritja Road to Watarrka National Park and Kings Canyon. To get to the Henbury Craters travel west along the Ernest Giles Road for 8 km, then turn north for 5 km to the Reserve's entrance.

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    Cannonball Run Memorial

    by AlbuqRay Updated Mar 13, 2011

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    Cannonball Run Memorial
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    The Cannonball Run Memorial is at a pullover on the Stuart Highway ~8 km south of Stuart's Well (98 km south of Alice Springs). We could see that it was a car racing accident and that four people were killed, but did not know the details until reading this website and this blog.

    "The Northern Territory Cannonball Run was held from 22 May to the 27 in 1994 on the Stuart Highway from Darwin to Alice Springs and return, a distance of nearly 1600 kms, and attracted 118 racing enthusiasts from all over the world with their expensive machines. The race contained three distinct driving phases within the one event. These were the "flying miles", the timed sectors and, covering by far the greatest distance, normal, everyday driving during which there was no competitive element. The "flying miles" were a test of a car's acceleration with cars cross the starting line at 60 km/h and 1600 m later their speed was recorded by radar, with points awarded accordingly. The timed sections of the run were approximately 100 km stretches to which set times was applied. Cannonballers lost points on these sections by arriving either too late or too early by more than three minutes. While these sections of the run were happening, the road was open to regular traffic, although police swept the road ahead, side roads were manned and the travelling public and commercial vehicles were warned. During these sections, as throughout the run, Cannonball drivers were subject to the same laws as anyone else. It is to be pointed out, though, that in the Northern Territory doesn't exist a specified speed limit on the open road.

    On 24 May, during one of the timed sections near Alice Springs, a Ferrari F40 crashed into a checkpost killing its occupants, the Japanese duo Akihiro Kabe and codriver Okano (first name unknown) and two track officials, Tim Linklater and Keith Pritchard. An inquest found that the direct cause of the accident was driver error on the part of the Japanese team which entered the checkpoint at an excessive speed. There was a reasonable inference that the driver mistakenly believed he had arrived at the checkpoint when 7 km short of the actual checkpoint, and then sped up to make up for lost time. Another factor may have been the lack of racing skills of the driver, promoters refused an assessment of skill prior to the race and allowed everybody to take part to the race regardless of driver's experience. Although Akihiro Kabe had driven before on rent racetracks he was unexperienced as a racing driver and several commented on his lack of driving skills while he was practicing at Hidden Valley before the race. According to some sources one of the persorns concerned by that was ironically Keith Pritchard, one of the killed officials.

    The tragedy caused criticisms in Australia and the case was discussed by the parliament. The race was never repeated and a memorial was erected in the place of the accident."

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    Rainbow Valley Campground

    by AlbuqRay Updated Mar 13, 2011

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    First Campsite on the 2010 VT Survivor Camp
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    The turn east to the Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve is ~15 km north of Stuart's Well and it is ~22 km to the campground from the highway. Camping fees are 3.30 AUD for each adult and $1.65 for children. There are no facilities except for a dunny (pit toilet), gas and wood barbecues and picnic tables. This was the first campsite on the 2010 VT Survivor Camp. You must bring your own firewood or collect it outside the Reserve (which we did by a stockyard back towards the highway). Please note Deb's and Bob's "survival mattress."

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    Rainbow Valley at Sunset

    by AlbuqRay Updated Mar 13, 2011

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    Long Shadows & Colorful Rock Formations at Sunset
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    The views at Rainbow Valley are spectacular at sunset! The layered sandstone bluffs are accentuated by the reddish sunlight. The bands in the sandstone bluffs were formed in an earlier and wetter geologic age, when the red iron of the sandstone layers was dissolved and drawn to the surface during the dry season. The red minerals formed a dark iron oxide surface layer with the leached white layers remaining below. The dark red layer is harder and weathers slowly. The softer white sandstone quickly turns into loose sand. Weathering and erosion are also responsible for the shape of Rainbow Valley, where sandstone blocks have been eroded into rock faces and squared towers. Visitors are asked not to climb on the rock formations. See also a panorama videoclip taken at sunset.

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    Wurre or Rainbow Valley

    by AlbuqRay Updated Mar 13, 2011

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    Aerial View of Wurre
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    Wurre is a bushtucker dreaming site and an important ceremony place for the Upper Southern Arrernte people. There are charcoal, grindstones and rock art that date back thousands of years. There are colorful red and white standstone bluffs next to a large claypan lake which sometimes fills with water. When the lake has water, Aboriginal people have always met and camped at Wurre. Visitors are asked not to walk on the claypan or climb the Wurre rock formations. See also a panorama videoclip in the morning and a videoclip of the claypan with water.

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    Stuart's Well and Jim's Place

    by AlbuqRay Updated Mar 12, 2011

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    Jim's Place
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    Stuart's Well Roadhouse, Caravan Park and Budget Accommodation, Jim's Place and Camels Australia are co-located on the Stuart Highway ~90 km south of Alice Springs. It is a good place to take a break after a long drive or spend the night. There are camping sites (some free), dormitory style accommodation, toilets and showers, swimming pool, gas station, pub, restaurant and mini-market. Jim's Place is also the home of Dinky the singing dingo. Unfortunately Dinky was taking a nap both times when we were there. There are also emus in a pen around the pond. Camels Australia is a 9 acre camel farm that offers short camel rides or 1-5 day safaris into the James Ranges. Entry is free.

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    Hugh River Stock Route

    by AlbuqRay Updated Mar 12, 2011

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    Lunch Stop on the Hugh River Stock Route
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    To get back to the Stuart highway (Hwy-87) to get to Rainbow Valley from Oak Valley, we followed the Hugh River Stock Route. BTW, Rosie was the official gatekeeper. Stuart's Well is just ~10 km north from where the Hugh River Stock Route intersects the highway. The turn east to Rainbow Valley is ~15 km north of Stuart's Well and it is ~22 km to the campground from the highway.

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Alice Springs Off The Beaten Path

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