The Big Lap - Alice Springs & MacDonnell Range



I was impressed with the MacDonnell Range.  There are so many photo opportunities here.  Magestic Mountains, Colourful Gorges, Gnarly Trees, Serene Billabongs and Wildlife Galore.

We based ourselves in two places, Alice Springs to see the east range and Glen Helen Gorge to see the western side of the range.

The MacDonnell Range goes right through Alice Springs.  It is phonominal to see the east and west sides as you drive through past a huge round-a-bout.  Unfortunately no pix.  😢

Both Caravan Parks that we stayed at are Discovery Parks.  We are now thinking of joining them for the discount.  Shame that we hadn't thought about that before.  But we have found that these parks are clean, have helpful staff, free WIFI and much more.  I think it may be worth it to pay $50 for a 2 year membership for the discount in Discovery.



Whilst staying in Alice Springs, we spent a day visiting the East MacDonnell Range.  We drove 83k's to Ross River.  Stops are as follows - 15k's to Emily Gap, then 7 k's to Jessie Gap, 25k's to Corroboree Rock 32k's to Trephina Gorge and Ross River is 4k's.



Both Emily and Jessie Gaps were dry.  They both had sandy creek beds.  Emily Gap was very windy because it blasts through the gap.  We saw rock carvings and a rock wallaby.  The deep orange colour of the rocks was beautiful.  



I liked Emily Gap better than Jessie Gap.  They were pretty similar, however Emily Gap had more to see.  They would be so much better just after the monsoon when filled with water.



Corroboree Rock was impressive.  I enjoyed the easy walk on the path around the rock.  We walked through woodland which I like and the views over the range were lovely as well.

This is a place that I recommend.



Again, this would be nice just after rain.   We were disappointed to see a dry creek bed.



Now this place is well worth visiting.  We were greeted by a lovely fella that took the time to show us through the Homestead.  He told us stories of the first owners who had a dream to make the Homestead a tourist drawcard.  The locals didn't think it would work.  After all, the Ross River Homestead is in the middle of nowhere!

We were captivated by the rooms and pictures of the first family here.  There was one pic of a wedding and then of the same couple years later.  So nice. 😃

We learn't that the original central Australian railway line became abandoned and the family took a bridge and dismantled it.  Top half was used in the roof beams of the add-on tavern and the base wood was used outside for the verandah and walkway down.

We were ushered to a nice lounge where the host put on a slide show of photos of their experiences here whilst running the Homstead for many years.  We saw wildlife and beautiful landscapes.  We saw floods and bushfires.  It was a pleasure to view and learn about living here in this increadable place.


We shared a burger here.  It would go down in my top 4 burgers, the other two being Mayse's, Pine Creek NT, The Falls Tea House, Millaa Millaa QLD and Crank It Cafe, Deby TAS.  This burger had the lot including egg, pineapple and pickles, the last 2 giving it a unique taste.  Very nice.  😊

We sat up at the bar for a while, on the horse saddle seats.  Fun 😀



Glen Helen Gorge.  Not too shabby hey.  😎

We stayed here for a few nights to check out the surrounding gorges and waterholes.  Heading out of Alice Springs the first one is 24k's Simpsons Gap, next Standly Chasm 27k's, Ellery Creek Big Hole 37k's, Serpentine Gorge 11k's, Ochre Pits 12k's, Ormiston Gorge 24k's and Glen Helen Gorge 11k's.

We did a day trip taking in the Ormiston, Ellery Creek and Ochre Pits.  Serpentine Gorge didn't look much so we kept driving.  

Hubby did another day trip out to Kings Canyon and Palm Valley.  I wasn't fussed with driving a long distance to see a canyon.  He needed a permit to drive on Mereenie Loop to which he obtained at the Reception Desk here.  It was a long drive out there and back for Hubby and from what he said, I am glad that I didn't go.  Kings Canyon is overrated.



We visited Simpsons Gap and Stanly Chasm from Alice Springs.  We were both impressed with Simpsons Gap.



This is privately owned.  They required payment of $12 to go see it.  It's a steep walk up to basically where two gorges meet in a chasm.  I didn't see the sense in all of that exercise to basically see something that we have seen before and pay for the privilege.  Nup, not me.

So I stayed at the cafe, checked out the chasm on the free pamphlets, and spent $11 on coffee and juicy raison toast.  😁

Hubby got the exercise.



Next day on our way to the Discovery Caravan Park at Glen Helen Gorge, we stopped at this 'P' Lookout for a cuppa and SAO biscuits with salami, cheese and corn relish.

This is one of the nicer Parking stops that we have stopped at.  It had a gorgeous view.  There was a van parked and it looked like they had camped for the night.  Nice place for a free stopover.

Hubby thought it would be a good place to video him driving the van along the road below, so I armed myself with the GoPro and my camera as a backup.  Check out the Video below.





First stop next day on our day trip.  We both liked Ormiston Gorge.  There was a nice billabong to swim in but the day was a little too chilly for a swim.  Yes we had left the 40C weather behind us and now the days were a little cooler which was nice.  Still, there were a young couple that took a dip. 



Just as the name suggests, this was a nice big water hole not too far from the car park.  People swam here too.  Bit cold for us.

Whilst hubby was capturing bird photos I had a play with the Lensbaby tilt shift lens and my crystals.

This couple asked us to take a photo of them and they did the same for us.  The photos turned out nice.


Here I also had a play with my Lensbaby Tilt Shift Lens on Video.
I have a Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 35 Lens that you tilt to get a slice of sharp focus with bokkah either side.  I tilted it so that the middle bit was in focus so when I panned around the gorge you can see that the middle is in focus and then goes out of focus as I pan.

This is only my second try at video with this lens so not as good as it could have been.  I think that I was panning just a bit too fast.  Looking forward to having another go at this.  I saw a video on YouTube of someone using the same set up and capturing a train coming out of a tunnel and turning left.  That was real good as the camera didn't move but you could see the train moving with part of it in focus.  So cool.  😎



This was pretty impressive.  It was like a Wave Rock of colour.

All the different ochre colours that the Aboriginals used for their tribal cerimonies.  Aparently the women and children were not allowed to see it and the men had secret stories that they kept to themselves.  The women had to ask the men to bring back some for their female cerimonies. 

I would have stuck to charcole and glitter from glitter rocks, and made up my own secret sexist stories. 









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