Center of communication for Australia

Trip Start Jan 01, 2014
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Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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What I did
Cultural tour at MacDonnell Mountain Range

Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Map of Alice Springs
 
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ALICE SPRINGS: August 9 and 10.

We had another domestic flight this morning, but our wake-up call was at 6:30AM for our 2.5 hour flight which arrived in Alice Springs at about 12-noon. Alice Springs is located in the heart of Australia, and many visitors come here to visit Uluru or Ayers Rock, that mysterious red rock everybody is familiar with from seeing pictures of this place. This is the true outback of Australia.


The bus tour of Alice Springs was short, because it's a small town with about 28,000 population. Most people living here cater to the tourism industry, and even the aboriginals sell their handicrafts and paintings on the sidewalks. The aboriginals here are shy, and we were asked not to take their pictures when close to them.


Our lunch at Bojangles Saloon and Dining Room was a real treat, because the ambiance there is one of a kind. Since words will not do it justice, I will post some pictures of this temple/shrine based in the heart of Australia's outback. This place won the first TNT Magazine's backpacker's golden award. They even have some displays on Ned Kelly. Most of us had their famous burger with beer.
  
 
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We visited the Flying Doctor's office in Alice Springs before proceeding by bus towards the MacDonnell mountain range to visit the Telegraph Station Museum. As a matter of fact, the name Alice Springs was obtained from the waterhole at this site. This is the original site of the first European settlement that was established in 1872 to relay messages between Darwin and Adelaide – then to Indonesia that provided them communication to and from outside the country.
 
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Telegraph museum
 
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The stone buildings have been restored with furnishings from that period in the early 1900s, and can still see some of the carriages, hauling equipment, and poles (over 36,000 were used). As a treat for visitors, the docent was a child who grew up at this station who relates his personal experiences of life from that period.

Our included dinner was at the Red Ochre Grill at Todd Mall, so I tried kangaroo with artichoke, olives, bell peppers, and egg plant for the first time. It was delicious. We all walked back to our hotel.
 
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August 10: The next morning, our group departed for our tour of Jessee and Emily Gap along the MacDonnell mountain range for our optional Outback Cultural Tour ($90 - I thought it was a bit pricey for a three hour tour.  $90 x 16 = $1,440).
 
 
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According to Aboriginal mythology, Yeperenye represents the caterpillar.  Yeperenye Dreaming is a dreamtime story about the creation of the Aboriginal Arrernte people, and Emily Gap is the location where their creative ancestors  (the MacDonnell mountain range) were established. The Aboriginals have a complex kinship social structure with subsections or skin name
divisions that governs their system of law and social interaction.  The system of division with two, four, six and eight subsections have a name. Skin systems are found across much of Central, Western and Northern Australia. During our tour, we were taken to some of the
aboriginal's sacred sites including a “birthing cave.”


Our lunch was at the Memo Club casino not far from our hotel. We had to sign in as guests to enter the casino. I had the calamari with chips and beer (XXX Golden).

After lunch, we visited the Reptile Museum where they have monitor lizards, snakes, lizards, perentie goanna, thorny devils, small pythons, and some of the world's most venomous snakes such as the inland taipans, king brown snakes, mulga, death adders, and giant geckos.
 
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We were then coached to the School of the Air visitor's center where 150 children across the remote areas are schooled by radio that was established in 1951. From using the telephone in the early years to the satellite technology of today, communication has improved dramatically. They are funded by the government, but also from donations. The students who are educated by the School of the Air rarely have the opportunity to see the other students or their teachers.
 
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For dinner, our Tour Director prepared a barbeque for us at the hotel property with steaks, sausages, salads, and munchies. She collected $20 p/p, but she also purchased two bottles of wine and some munchies when we were in Cape Trib for wine before dinner with the extra money she had.



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