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A Town That's Alice

Thursday August 6th 2015

sunny 31 °C

Although our bunks were comfortable enough, neither of us slept particularly soundly. In part this was due in part to the fact that at times the train would stop for quite a while and when it did you found yourself lying there waiting for it to move again. Breakfast was being served from 6:30 to 8:30am and given that we knew that we needed to be ready to get off the train at Alice when it pulled in at about 9:30 we decided to get up fairly early. Our steward had offered to bring us an early morning hot drink in our cabin, and it was nice to just be able to reach over and open the door and be able to have a cup of tea in bed. We then got up and in turn used the very small but fully functional shower room facilities. From our cabin We were also able to see the sun coming up above the horizon.

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We went to the restaurant car and sat with the American/ Canadian couple that we had spoken to the previous evening. Not long after we had finished we were pulling into Alice Springs station.

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Transfer coaches were available for travellers ending their journey in Alice and for those that were continuing but had chosen the town centre for their excursion.

It didn't take long before we were pulling up outside our hotel, but as expected given the hour of the morning, our room wasn't yet ready. They said that they would keep our bags safe whilst we went into town. It was about a 25 minute walk partly alongside the course of the Todd River, which given it was the dry season was completely devoid of any water.

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We were later told about an event which takes place every year in August known as the Henley on Todd Regatta. This involves people running in teams in what look like bottomless rowing boats. Any water in the river bed would render the whole event impossible and so insurance is taken out in case of any such eventuality! Whilst we were walking we also saw a large number of brightly coloured lorikeets, unlike any we had seen in Darwin. Once we were in the town centre we had a good look around. We saw the offices of Emu Run Tours, the company that we had arranged to go to Uluru with the following day, and decided to pop in to make sure that everything was as arranged. It was fortunate that we did as they confirmed that our three day/ two night camping trip was fine, but the excursion we had also booked for later in the week which was an Aboriginal cultural tour had been cancelled due to low numbers. Fortunately they also ran another tour into the MacDonell's that went to many of the same places but without the cultural/ Aboriginal element. As this was half the price, we decided there and then to transfer. Whilst we were in town we stopped for coffee before walking to the far end of the shopping mall towards a small hill called Anzac Hill. There were about a hundred or so steps to the top and it didn't look very high but it offered great views of the town and onwards towards the MacDonnell Ranges.

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There was a memorial at the top to all the local people who had lost there lives in wars and conflicts over the last 150 years or so. From the top we could also see the railway station and saw that the Ghan was still there whilst the passengers were off on excursions in the Alice area.

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Once we had walked down the hill we were getting a bit peckish so we stopped at a nice cafe with tables set out in the mall. We both went for a curry; the food was delicious and very good value. Our thinking was that by the time we got into our room we wouldn't want to come back into town that evening to get a meal. Instead we found the local branch of Woolworths supermarket and bought enough supplies for a evening meal and breakfast the following morning. By the time we got back to the hotel our room was ready, so we settled in for the afternoon/ evening, aware that we would have an early start in the morning.

Posted by Gill's Travels 04:35 Archived in Australia Tagged river anzac alice_springs

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