The West MacDonnell Ranges National Park features many gorges, waterholes and chasms. While staying at Alice Springs, we spent most of our time exploring these, including the ochre pits still used by the traditional owners, the Arrente. As we moved around we came by a couple of hikers walking the 223km Larapinta Trail. Our bike ride from the John Flynn grave site to Simpsons Gap was a real highlight, taking us past rocky landscapes, native birds and a roving dingo.
John Flynn grave
Ellery Creek Big Hole
Kings Canyon is a spiritual site of the Luritja people. It’s sandstone dunes protect tropical pools and provide great views for visitors. Our rim walk took us up and across the dune tops, over crevices and through a lush ‘Garden of Eden’. The Kings Creek walk at the base of the canyon meandered along a dry, stony creek bed lined with coolibah trees and river red gums. The nearby Kathleen Springs still has remnants of cattle trapping yards.
Kings Creek walk
Famously handed back to its traditional owners, the Anangu in 1985, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is just spectacular. The magnificent Uluru and Kata Tjuta were surrounded by a sea of colourful wild flowers during our visit.
Views from the bike path around the base of Uluru
Some of the flora
Walpa Gorge, Kata Tjuta
A beautiful evening watching Uluru at sunset.
Enjoyed warm hospitality and great outback access at William Creek, South Australia. Located on the Oodnadatta Track, William Creek offers close proximity to the remnants of the Ghan railway and overland telegraph, Sid Kidman’s Anna Creek and Lake Eyre (Kati Thanda). The traditional owners of the land, Arabunna co-manage the Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre National Park. A highlight of our visit was the William Creek flight over North Lake Eyre and the Anna Creek Painted Hills.
The Anna Creek Painted Hills
Lake Eyre North
Lake Eyre South
Beresford ruins (and current residents)
After Port Pirie we travelled north along the Stuart Highway, passing the southern end of Andamooka Ranges before reaching the town of Pimba, the plains of the Woomera Protected Area and opal mining town, Coober Pedy. The highway was framed by mallee scrub, saltbush, saltlakes and distant horizons. We stopped to look at Island Lagoon, Pimba. At Coober Pedy, the mining landscape and underground homes contrasted with a beautiful flush of seasonal wild flowers.
Port Pirie, last stop before we head inland. Located at the top of the Spencer Gulf, Port Pirie enjoys stunning views of the Southern Flinders Ranges. It has enormous grain silos by the wharf and claims the world’s largest lead smelter, which I have photographed below at sunset. We experienced clear, sunny days and cool nights here. Port Pirie and surrounds are home to the Nukunu people.
Above is the view from our caravan!
Quick overnight stay at Sea Lake as we start on our journey. This small, mallee town in Victoria’s wheat belt is located south of Lake Tyrrell. We were lucky to find Lake Tyrrell with water. It’s usually dry and it’s salt extracted commercially. Lake Tyrrell is on the traditional lands of the Wergaia people.