Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Alice Springs Tourists

In the hope of combating my late night frustrations with Blogger recently, I thought I'd attempt a post earlier than usual today! As the title suggest, we’ve spent the last couple of days being major tourists in Alice Springs. There’s certainly heaps to do here and no shortage of information on where to go and how to do it. We visited the tourist centre in town and picked ourselves up a stack of brochures (very handy as they included several discount vouchers – every little bit helps!)

So the first stop on the tourist trail was the Alice Springs Reptile Centre. Now, those who know me well will not be surprised to hear that I begged out of this one! I got dropped off at a nice little bakery called ‘Wicked Kneads’ where I spent a relaxing hour or so with a coffee and some magazines! Leon, Cooper and Immie had a great time though. They heard a talk about reptiles first up and Cooper very bravely held a massive snake! I couldn’t believe he did this but am glad to know he hasn’t inherited my ridiculously massive fear of snakes. They also saw several types of lizards, other snakes and Terry the Saltwater Crocodile. Leon said it was a fairly small operation, but very well done and pretty good value for money. After they picked me up from my momentary retreat, we grabbed some lunch and took it up to the Anzac Hill that overlooks the city. It had a great view over Alice Springs and a lovely Memorial. 

We then moved on to the next attraction, which was the Alice Springs Old Gaol and National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame (all housed in the one place). The Gaol was pretty cool, but Leon felt it had been prettied up too much from its original state to be truly authentic. There was a lot of interesting information on posters around the walls though and lots of old pictures. Unfortunately, when you’re a nearly 4 and 6 year old who can’t read that, it can get a bit boring! The kids did very well though and liked the cells and looking at the tiny bathrooms and toilets. Also displayed at the Gaol was a big Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame. Again, there was lots of information and pictures, but also a lot of items to look at. The kids were most interested in the typewriters, they had no idea what they were!  

Today was another big day of visiting the sights. We were very impressed this morning with the Alice Springs Desert Park. We made sure we got there in time for the 10am Birds of Prey display. It was a brilliant presentation in a lovely amphitheatre with a beautiful backdrop. The presenters were knowledgeable and interesting and showed us some beautiful birds. Cooper’s favourite was the Black Kite and Immie just enjoyed attempting to take photos with my iPhone. Unbeknownst to us she had switched it from camera to video mode and came up with some very interesting little clips! We spent another hour or so afterwards looking at the rest of the park, which showed all the different sorts of desert environments there are in the Outback and the kinds of animals that live there. A lot of the trees and flowers had information cards explaining what the Indigenous people use them for which was pretty fascinating. They are certainly very resourceful and make the most of the land around them! We had a really nice lunch at the great cafe there and spent some money in the gift shop. Overall, we really enjoyed the Desert Park, it was well worth a visit. And pretty reasonable too, Leon and I were $20 each, a voucher got Cooper in for free and under 5 was free, so Imogen was set too!

After a trip mainly for the kids this morning, this afternoon was mainly about Leon! The National Road Transport Hall of Fame was on the agenda and it was actually pretty good. It comprised three displays – the first of which was the Old Ghan Historical Railway. The kids were getting fairly sick of written displays by now but there were plenty of interesting items to look at, as well as the old train you could get on and walk along a section of. The walkway sections of the train were tiny, you certainly wouldn’t have fitted two people walking in different directions.  Luckily there was a playground there too, so after a quick recharge on the swings we moved onto the Road Transport Hall of Fame section. This was a huge and pretty incredible display of all sorts of vehicles. There were trucks, buses, army vehicles, fire engines and vintage cars to name a few. It was really well set up and covered a huge area. It also incorporated the Kenworth Dealer Museum which was obviously a lot more trucks. One good display was a cabin that had been split in half so you could climb in the middle and get a really good look at where the driver sat and where he (or she) slept. Again, kids were free and it only cost Leon and I $14 each to get in, so everything we’ve done so far has been pretty good value.

I've got heaps more photos to add, but if I hope to be in bed before midnight I'll have to leave it there! It's taking forever to load photos on here for some reason. Plenty more will be on Facebook later if anyone is interested.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to get out and find some 4WD in the Macdonnell Ranges. Leon wants to get the car good and dirty with some red sand! 

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