travel and life with lee mylne

The Outback Way, Day 4: Alice Springs and surrounds

Alice Springs provides a couple of days respite from the road, as we take time away from driving to explore this iconic outback town.

A lazy start to the day, then some laundry and a wander downtown…an easy way to kill the morning! I’ve been to Alice Springs before – a few times – but there were still some places I haven’t been and of course some changes since my last visit.

From our accommodation at the Alice Springs Mercure Resort, I crossed the road and took the new boardwalk along the edge of the dry Todd River to the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens.

The gardens are named for one of Central Australia’s great characters, Miss Olive Pink (1884-1975), a botanical artist, anthropologist, and passionate campaigner for Aboriginal rights. In 1956, at the age of 72, she set up a tent on the site of what is now the botanic garden and lobbied Northern Territory politicians to establish a flora reserve in order to protect native flora and provide a place for people to visit and learn about desert environments. The Arid Regions Native Flora Reserve was gazetted in 1956, and Miss Pink was appointed Honorary Curator, a role she held until her death.

In the afternoon, we headed out of town to join Ricky Orr of Rainbow Valley Cultural Tours for a walk through the land of his ancestors. Ricky is a Southern Arrernte/Luritja man, one of the people traditional owners of the Wurre (Rainbow Valley).

After a small ceremony to introduce his visitors to the ancestors, Ricky leads us into the valley, requesting no photos are taken. We learn the stories of the land, see rock tools, ancient grindstones, paintings and carvings on the rocky escarpments and animal tracks.

As the end of the day nears, we head back to the car park and take up a position looking across the claypan to the entrance to Rainbow Valley, ready to see the escarpment light up as the sunset. And it’s a real “wow!” moment to end a fascinating tour.

A Glass Half Full travelled courtesy of the Outback Way Development Authority.

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