Monday, September 14, 2015

Melbourne to Alice Springs Roadtrip: Day 7 Alice Springs

This post continues the series on our two week roadtrip from Melbourne to Alice Springs and back during the July school holidays.

Today we spent the day close to Alice Springs. First up was the Alice Springs Desert Park. The park is divided into three habitats being desert rivers, sand country and woodlands. There is also a nature theatre where the bird shows are held and a nocturnal house. We saw the dingoes then listened to the emu talk before going to the bird show. During the birdshow a wild Wedgetail Eagle decided to get in on the act, making it's presence felt, intimidating the younger trained eagle. You can see it coming in over the top to dive down.

A perentie.

The kids begged to go see the dingoes one more time before we left and as we arrived the keepers were taking the dingoes for their walk.

We stayed most the morning and it was a highlight for the kids as they love animals so we booked to come back for the nocturnal tour that night.

In the afternoon we visited some iconic outback institutions. First the School of the Air. The largest classroom (by area) in Australia, it covers children over 1.3 million square kilometres in NT, South Australia and Western Australia. Originally all conducted by radio with work sent and submitted by mail, a lot is now done over the internet, allowing for more immediate feedback and interaction.

Next was the Royal Flying Doctor Service which provides medical services to remote areas of Australia. Each station would have a medical chest that the doctor can prescribe form over the phone. This is the old one.

After we stopped in at the Araluen Cultural Precinct which houses a collection of galleries and museums. Unfortunately they were on public holiday hours and we arrived 30mins before closing time so we only had time to visit the arts centre, but the ticket lasted three days so we could come back. Love Albert Namatjira's artwork.

After an early dinner we were back at the Desert Park for the nocturnal tour. There separate areas, fenced to keep out feral cats and other introduced predators that have virtually caused the extinction of numerous small marsupials in the region. The keepers put out food so that sightings are more likely as we go spotlighting with special red lights that do not scare the animals. We saw echidnas, quolls, bilbys, pig-footed bandicoots and greater stick-nest rats. As you can imagine it was very difficult to get photos but here are the echidnas.

Echidnas Alice Springs Desert Park

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