Wednesday, August 2, 2017


We didn’t get time to explore the East MacDonald Ranges last time we were in Alice and it was something that definitely was on our to do list.   The trip out to the East MacDonald Ranges wasn’t as long a drive as it was to do the Larapinta Lap that takes in the West MacDonald Ranges so we figured that as long as we got away by 9.30am we should manage to see all that we wanted to see.  

We had planned to go out to explore Arltunga, which is now the remnants of a gold mining ghost town, but in the end we really did run out of time, as it was an extra 33kms on dirt road from the Ross River Resort which was already 100kms from Alice Springs. 

The drive out along the Ross Highway through the East MacDonald Ranges was quite s[spectacular in itself, although the highway narrows to one lane and it's not much fun having to get off onto the dirt edges to let cars pass.  There are some amazing ridges, and mountain ranges along this drive and in most places you drive pretty close to them.  

This row of trees is appears to be growing along a rock ridge
Amazing patterns of rock ridges along these hills
Reminds me of a fortress high on a hill.  All natural rock formations.
Spinfex growing along the rock ridges on this hill - really very pretty.
Our plan of attack for the day was to go out to the furthest gorge and work our way back into Alice Springs, so our first stop for the day was Trephina  Gorge which was about 78 kms out from Alice Springs.  Everyone we had spoken too had recommended the gorge so we were all keen to go and check it out.  We got there just before 11am so decided to have morning tea before we did the walk.  At least that way we could walk off the Lemon Cake we had made the night before for our morning tea.
Morning Tea at Trephina Gorge
 We decided to do the Trephina Gorge Rim Walk which was a level 3 walk of about 2.5 kms.  Level 3  means it is a moderate walk which means that there are usually some short steep hill sections with rough surfaces and many steps.  I had already managed a few Level 3 walks so decided to give this one a go.  Well it was steep alright and many many steps but the views were fantasic, and I feel pretty proud of myself that I made it up to the top of the gorge and then back down again onto the creek floor.  I am so glad that I did the walk as I really enjoyed it.    I didn’t mind the steps of rock climbing to the top, but I did feel a little nervous when I had to climb back down over rocks and rough steps, and I also found the walking along the sandy creek bed pretty hard going.
The rim walk at Trephina Gorge
Barb and I ready to head out on the Trephina Gorge rim walk
So the walk begins...
it is pretty much uphill on surfaces like this...
Steve heading up to me with the walking Stick he made for me.
Amazing rock ledges
Amazing colours - amazing scenery
The rim of the gorge
 Steve was very good to me.  As we had come out with Ian and Kathy in their car today, we had forgotten to bring our walking sticks which are kept in our car.  Steve knew that I could quite possibly have trouble walking down hill so he found a really good branch and fashioned a walking stick out of it for me to use.  I was so grateful and thankful as it really do help particularly when coming down off the top of the gorge.  

My walking stick even had a handle....
 We didn’t notice as many wild flowers on this walk, but it was a popular walk because lots of people passed us on the track…

Looked a little like a holly leaf. Kind of like a bush holly
At the time of the gorge
The others having a rest
 Ian and I before our descent down onto the creek bed.
Trephina Gorge

 We did sit and have a break in the shade on one of the rocky ledges before heading further down onto the creek bed.  
Barb and John were wise - they remembered their fly nets.
The hardest part of the walk for me was coming down off the top of the rim.
Yah I made it.
Homeless or What?????

break time
Thirsty work....
The walk as a whole probably took us close to a couple of hours as we stopped to photograph and enjoy all that was around us.

Yah!!!!! We are down into the creek bed...

We did see quite a bit of bird life in the gorge especially lots of finches and Steve managed to photograph a flight of them leaving one of the trees.

 It was when we got back to the cars and it was close to 1pm that we realized we really didn’t have time to go out to Arltunga and have a good look around.  It would need to be left for another visit.
Barb and John at home
The rails are all made from train tracks..
 The Ross River Homestead and Restort was only another 12 kms further on, so we decided to head out there for a toilet stop and also to have lunch out there.  It was a lovely old original homestead, and they did have a lovely restaurant  which was all made from old railway sleepers, rail tracks and corrugated iron.  
Lunch menu at Ross River Resort
Ordering our lunch...
dining area.
We had a light lunch, steak pies, (except for John who had his sausage roll) and a bowl of chips between the lot of us.  We also had one of the best Lemon Lime and Bitter drinks we have had so far this holiday.  It was huge, and lunch out here was very reasonably priced.  The steak pies were the best I have ever tasted.  We thought they were home made they tasted that good, but one of the waitresses assured us that they weren’t, and that they actually came out from Alice Springs. 
Lunch at Ross River Resort
Lunch at Ross River Resort...
Someone is enjoying her drink..
  We should have asked her what Bakery they came from.  In hindsight, it is probably good that we didn’t as it probably saved us a few kilos on our waistline.

We took some photos of John and Barb out here as it was their namesake, and we left here probably around 2.30pm to head back towards Alice Springs and check out the other attractions on the way back into Alice.

Our first stop after lunch was Corroboree  Rock, a sacred Aboriginal sight.  It was an amazing shaped rock that in parts you could see straight through.  We did a half hour walk around the rock reading the different signs along the track. 
Corroboree Rock

 From here we headed into Jessie Gap. 
Of course we had to take a photo.  Barb has a daughter called Jessie...
Jessie Gap
Termite mound hacked into..
Amazing trees with so much character.
Such character
  Jessie Gap is directly on the highway and only a very short walk into the Gap.  It was really lovely and we saw some amazing trees growing in this gap.  I am amazed at how many trees grown straight off the rock surfaces.  We had a walk through the gap and then headed back to the cars.  By now it was around 4pm and we still had Emily Gap to check out before going home. 

Emily Gap was also pretty close to the Highway and I was tempted not to bother going for the walk into the gorge but am so glad that I did.  

Kathy in the middle of the Gorge
 There was quite a bit of Aboriginal art in this gorge.  Aboriginal art is more about telling a story... they use this sort of art to communicate and teach...
We thought this painting actually looked like a radiator

 We had a great day out exploring the East MacDonald Ranges, and I think I really enjoyed it more than the West MacDonald Ranges.  It might also be because we had more time to explore them fully.

We were really amazed at how these trees can find a crack and grow on solid rock.
 Before leaving this morning,  I had put some chicken on to cook in the slow cooker, so it was nice to come home to a cooked dinner all ready for us. 
Dinner on to cook before we left home...

We were all pretty tired by the time we got home, so didn’t spend as much time sitting around chatting tonight.  The cold was also setting in again.  Alice Springs is lovely during the day but gets very cold at night and first thing in the morning.  I did spend some time sorting photos and catching up on some of my blog posts….

We have another chilled out day planned for tomorrow.  We have had to stay a few extra days in Alice Springs as Ian and Kathy are having a few air conditioning problems with their car.  Since we are heading north into the heat,  they want to make sure that they have air con once again.  The boys all have jobs they want to do,  Steve wants to repair his chair, attach a clothes line to the awning for me.  John is looking at setting up the reversing camera on his caravan, and Ian wanted to get some new brighter LED lights installed in their van.  Us girls will be just happy to chill out with books, chatting and crocheting our termite mound clothing…


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