I lived in Alice Springs for a year and just love it here! The Western MacDonnell Ranges are filled with chasms, waterholes, gorges, white ghost gums and rocky outcrops. In addition to the plethora of stunning vistas, there is the 223km long Larapinta Trail, offering one of Australia’s most spectacular bushwalking and trekking experiences. Bike riding to Simpsons Gap is like travelling through the Serengeti Plains – but without the predators! For the Arrernte people, the traditional custodians of this country, this is where ancestral creation beings such as caterpillars and wild dogs travelled the land, naming and shaping prominent elements, including the MacDonnell Ranges.
Bob Taylor from RT Tours Australia took us to some amazing spots off the beaten track. He is a wonderful guide, great company and a fabulous chef! Being back here reminded me of the last time I was here sitting back in my camp chair in a magnificent bush setting watching the red and purple hues of sunset while dining on kangaroo fillets and yam fritters with stir fry veg, followed by white chocolate, apricot and wattle steamed pudding, then snacking on bush bananas, oranges and quandongs. Bob’s father is Peter Taylor, who is a renowned Aboriginal artist who was inspired by the works of the famous Aboriginal water colour artist, Albert Namatjira. Bob took us to view Mt Sonder, the highest peak in the MacDonnell Ranges and the subject of one of Namatjira’s signature paintings. The mountain is significant to the Arrernte, appearing like the profile of a pregnant woman lying on her back. It was really special to see it and hear about its significance to the local Aboriginal people.
We also visited the Alice Springs Desert Park which showcases the habitats and wildlife of the region in a stunning setting. We got to see first-hand the great work they do in conserving endemic animals including the endangered and rare miniature kangaroo known as the Mala, which is central to the Uluru creation story.
We finished the day visiting local art galleries including Papunya Tula, an Aboriginal artists’ cooperative. They are credited with bringing Aboriginal art to the world’s attention. We also visited Tjanpi (meaning grass) Desert Weavers, that sell beautiful intricate coloured jewellery,woven baskets and animals, that are crafted by more than 300 Aboriginal artists from 28 remote communities.
Next I’m off to Uluru, stay tuned for this next adventure … Kristi!