After Ayers Rock, we flew to Alice Springs, where we had 3 nights (2.3 days). The flight there was also scenic, across lake Amadeus and then Kings Canyon
Later, we got to Gosses Bluff and impressive meteor impact crater, and eventually overlfew Standley Chasm and Simpsons Gap before landing at Alice Springs.
Alice Springs had the first controlled airport we landed at, which really was no big deal when you're used to flying around san francisco and on flight following all the time :) Interestingly, there is no radar coverage over most of Australia, so the controllers vector us entirely based on position reports. Oh boy, that feels like 1980's and prior :) Thankfully now that planes are adding ADSB, the controllers are starting to get some airplane positions based on ADSB aircraft self position reports (my aircraft had both ADSB in and out, so I could also see other equipped aircrafts around me).
this looks like fun :)
The controller nicely agreed to give us a tower tour, which was awesome:
In Alice Springs, we were at the doubletree hote, which was nice, even if kind of out of the way from downtown:
it almost came to me
After arriving, we went to check out the reptile centre, and we got lucky, it was the day they fed snakes:
no luck with jennifer either
the thorny devil is very cool (albeit small)
The next morning, we went to the original telegraph repeater station that caused Alice Springs to be founded (first telegraph route from Darwin to Adelaide):
I think the mice lose out in that display...
Next, we went to check out the Royal Flying Doctor Museum. While they could do without the "royal" part, they are an impressive organization that brings medical care to people who need it in the outback. People live sometimes in small towns with a few as 10 or 20 people, so when they need medical care, the flying doctors can come to them (all those towns have small airports or roads that can be used as landing strips), which is very cool. They use modified pilatus PC12 planes with a hospital like treatment center right inside the plane:
an idea of scale, Australia is bigger than Europe
patients can be treated in the plane
Next, we went to the nearby (small) aviation museum:
and the (better even if not super big) natural history museum of central australia:
this one looks like a cartoon character from ice age :)
Next door was an aborigines art museum:
We then went back to downtown to check out its shopping street:
The next morning, we went to Alice Springs Desert Park:
We went to a talk on aborigines. While I knew there were over 100 tribes, it was still hard to visualize and comprehend how so many people could have diverged so much in culture and customs, and speak totally different languages. Europe did the same, but with 15 or so languages, not 100+
Clare then drove us to Standley Chasm, a nice formation:
those are eaten as a delicacy
we were not allowed to proceed further, the local aborigines say it's sacred land
Next, Clare drove us to Simpsons Gap:
I found a friendly chicken walking around :)
Last, we went to Anzac Hill for nice views:
Most people then went back to the hotel, but I went back to downtown for a walk:
From there I went to the nearby botanical garden:
I then had to wait until 19:15 for the night tour at Alice Springs Desert Park where we got to see endangered species that lived happily in an protected enclosure and came to see us because the guides feed them. Sadly, we were forced to only use red light:
rat wallaby with a joey, very cute.
echidnas enjoying dinner
some kind of mouse rat
the echidnas were curious and came to our feet. One came to sniff my hand with its little wet nose
And that was it for Alice Springs, a fair amount to see, but I think we saw it all :) (not counting the small museum of transportation that closed so early that we couldn't get there in time).
and starry sky to be had of course