Hello all

The Ochre Pits where the aborigines get their ochre for bodies for ceremonies.

The Ochre Pits where the aborigines get their ochre to mark their bodies for ceremonies.

It looks as if Geoff and I are in love … with Alice Springs that is! Oh okay, we are still ‘in love’ with each other too – but that is another story!

We arrived here since last Friday 15th right smack bang into the festival they call The Henley-Todd Regatta which involves a so-called ‘boat race’ in the middle of the dry river bed aka The Todd River.

Now dear friends, keep in mind that we are in the middle of the desert and most of the rivers do NOT run unless the rains come and then it floods. Yes, I did say: FLOODS. The rains do not come very often so Alice Springs decided – 54 years ago – not to wait for the rivers to flow. Instead, they would create ‘boats’ of all shapes and sizes, powered by people to run the course of the race … in the dry river bed.

The view of the Sonda Mountains - the Finke river is not visible but it runs in the foreground of this picture.

The view of the Sonda Mountains – the Finke river is not visible but it runs in the foreground of this picture.

Hence, the Henley-on-Todd Regatta was born. The Regatta street parade is followed by the race on Saturday 15th. Such good timing! The ad in our brochure said “A must-see event once in a life time.” Yes, we would agree with that!

On Sunday we went on a bus tour to the West MacDonnell Ranges to give Geoff a break from driving. These ranges actually run through the town and become the East MacDonnell Ranges to the east. This is a long mountain range dear friends!

Geoff called this tour “the highlight of our trip” and he wasn’t wrong. Picture this: coloured mountains that go on forever, beautiful gorges and huge gaps between mountains with billabongs (waterholes) at some locations. We were taken to a summit where we viewed the beautiful Finke River flowing (amazing, one river does flow in certain places) and the Sonda Mountains in the background.

Friends were made on this trip; German people were advised on where to go when they visited Brisbane; lovely food was eaten and Clive the captain of the show filled us in on everything we needed to know about Australia, aborigines and the West MacDonnell Ranges. A wonderful day out!

Today is our last full day here and we’ve visited a few places which I’ll tell you about later on. Yes we are feeling sad. We’ve come to feel at home in our rustic Caravan Park where the afternoon sun wafts into our van before it sets.

However, for the moment I’ll share a selection of photos of the journey so far. Tomorrow we pack up and inch ever closer to Uluru (Ayres Rock) the amazing Rock which Australia is famous for, but for now I’ll say my good-byes. I’ll be back when we get to Uluru to give you the latest news.

Chow for now… from talking to the Italians mentioned below.

A submarine in the Regatta Parade through the Todd Mall.

A submarine in the Regatta Parade through the Todd Mall.

On of the bigger 'ships' in the parade.This one was amazing!

On of the bigger ‘ships’ in the parade.This one was amazing!

Some of the 'boats' came out into the dry river bed for the first race!

Some of the ‘boats’ came out into the dry river bed for the first race!

This is me enjoying fresh strawberries, cream and ice-cream at the Festival on the banks of the dry river.

This is me enjoying fresh strawberries, cream and ice-cream at the Festival on the banks of the dry river.

We visited an Anzac Memorial on top of a hill overlooking the town. We went just before sunset so we could get photos of the sun setting behind the MacDonnell Ranges but got so busy talking to two Italian couples that we almost missed it. Yes, we were teaching them how to pronounce English words!

We visited an Anzac Memorial on top of a hill overlooking the town. We went just before sunset so we could get photos of the sun setting behind the MacDonnell Ranges but got so busy talking to two Italian couples that we almost missed it. Yes, we were teaching them how to pronounce English words!

When we arrived at the memorial, there was a wedding party having their photos taken. I captured them walking back up the hill to their lovely hire car sitting at the top of the mountain/hill.

When we arrived at the memorial, there was a wedding party having their photos taken. I captured them walking back up the hill to their lovely hire car sitting at the top of the mountain/hill.

We arrive at our first stop which involves a 30 minute walk to Standley Chasm. This is one of the first photos I take of typical central Australian scenery.

We arrive at our first stop which involves a 30 minute walk to Standley Chasm. This is one of the first photos I take of typical central Australian scenery.

Geoff and I at Ormiston Gorge - a beautiful spot and one which I remember from 45 years ago when I was first here!

Geoff and I at Ormiston Gorge – a beautiful spot and one which I remember from 45 years ago when I was first here!

Here was a nice spot to rest on one of our walks in the gorges

Here was a nice spot to rest on one of our walks in the gorges

Another Australian bush scene which captured my fancy.

Another Australian bush scene which captured my fancy.

Geoff enjoys the scenery at Ellery Creek Bighole

Geoff enjoys the scenery at Ellery Creek Bighole

We arrived back to the caravan park in time to see the rock wallabies being fed.

We arrived back to the caravan park in time to see the rock wallabies being fed.

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