East of Alice

Trip Start Jul 27, 2009
Trip End Nov 07, 2009

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Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Friday, August 21, 2009

The East and West McDonnell Ranges are a spectacular series of not very big stony bluffs rising out of the desert plains. Alice Springs sits where the Todd River bisects the McDonnell Ranges.

On our first side trip from Alice we headed east for the day: to Arltunga (a corruption for the local language for 'stinky water' a reference to a slime filled pond which was the only local water source) to see a real live ghost town.  Arltunga was central Australia's first real town, established shortly after gold was discovered in a dry creekbed in 1887.  We enjoyed exploring the old mine workings, but the intense heat discouraged any detailed exploration of the above-ground structures.  We found the town's history fascinating; the determination of the early miners to try and make a living in such inhospitable surroundings seemed extraordinary.

The kids had one last go at seeing if they could make the mine pay, but soon gave it up as a bad job, like those who struggled before them with little water and paying exorbitant prices for poor food.

A short stop and a stroll in beautiful Trephina Gorge rounded off the day.
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