Australia

Day 1 of Leg 2: Alice Springs to Banka Banka

— 17 Aug 2012 —

As much as we were sad to have a new guide for this leg, the four of the us were quiet excited to be starting a new journey. Truth be told, I think we were just excited to be having a somewhat later start.

And as part of the tradition, all my travels aren’t complete with a fail for the day. Today I happen to have left my trusty scarf back at the hostel. Head hanging, I had to sweet talk Keith (new tour guide) into making a detour. It worked a treat and I still have my scarf today.

The Journey

Point A: Alice Springs
Point B: Banka Banka
Distance: 610km

We were going to be travelling up the Stuart highway today, or otherwise known as “The Track”, a long stretch of road which actually runs from Port Augusta in South Australia up to Darwin in the territory. Aileron was our first point of call for breakfast.

The only think I remember about this place is they have a pet wedgie (wedge-tail eagle) and their bathrooms could be mistaken for a dance club. As you step into the information center/restaurant/gift shop/service station, you’ve got your takeaway counter with fries and good old Aussie tucker. Then as you pass through some doors, you enter the restaurant which looks like an old skool American diner. Once you walk further down, turn a couple of corners, you get to this glazed self sliding door which opens up to the bathrooms. There are white tiles everywhere making the place look sterile and mental institution like. Once in there, there is trance music blasting and you seem to forget where you are. Are you in there for a pee? Or a dance? The only things missing were the glow sticks and the condom dispensers on the walls. It was COMPLETELY WEIRD. Why would an outback service station turned on trance music at 07h00 in the morning?

Anyways, as we headed north there wasn’t much to see. The scenery hadn’t started to change yet. It was still mainly spinifex bush and unruly looking trees. We did however pass a vineyard which looked pretty bare. According to Keith there are many vineyards around this area, as well as mango farms. And they thrive!

A stop in Ti Tree for lunch and I found a car which couldn’t take me anywhere. Lucky for me because the fuel at this roadhouse was 195.9 cents a litre. The most expensive I’ve ever seen in Australia. And I’ve been around. (Australia that is).

And then it was onward to the UFO town of the territory, Wycliffe Well. Where some nut job (according to Keith, I’m impartial) has set up camp about all things UFO related. I love the witty signs welcoming humans. One of the girls, Anna, was super excited about visiting as she had read about it. And she’s into this kind of stuff. I think she was in heaven.

The highlight was Karlu Karlu, or better known as Devils Marbles, part of the conservation reserve. Separate post to follow.

After we had our fun scrambling around the reserve and climbing all the marbles we could (where I tried and failed to climb onto the marble and scratched my leg. Keith patched it up with the plant juices which formed an artificial bandage), we headed to Tennant Creek.

Tennant Creek is home to one of the last five remaining overland telegraph buildings which were built in the late 1800s. There is 1 left in South Australia, and 4 scattered around the territory.

It was recently refurbished with $300,000 from the conversation restoration funds and Aborigines from the local community. The station now houses all the remnants from the late 1800s and is open for visitors all year round.

After the history lesson, we arrived at our camp in Banka Banka. With spare time on our hands, the four of us decided to crack open the bottle of sparkling. We took the bottle up to the top of the hill, enjoyed each other’s company and conversations whilst watching the sun go down.

It was a great way to wind down for the day. And to nurse my leg.

Cheers to that!

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