What to say about Alice Springs?
We arrived here with no real expectations as to what it would be like. After a couple of weeks of the Oodnadatta Track, deserts, Coober Pedy and then long-distance drives to Uluru/Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon, we made our way to Alice Springs. We decided to stay for five nights to experience the town and use it as a hub for stooging around the West and East MacDonnell ranges.
Alice Springs really surprised us. Sprawling out across the landscape, it has a laid-back style where no one seems to be in a rush. Todd Street Mall is a two-block pedestrian mall in the centre of town with cafes, many CCTV cameras and a light show projected onto the pavement each night.
The centre of town is overlooked by Anzac Hill, which serves as both a lookout and a memorial to those who fought for our country.
The Todd River watercourse runs through the town – a broad sandy riverbed waiting patiently for rain to help it flow again. In the meantime, we took the opportunity to ‘wade’ across it en route to the Botanic Gardens.
Just out of town to the north is the old Telegraph Station, with many of the original buildings maintained in original condition. The Overland Telegraph Line provided the vital communications link across and outside Australia, and was one of the original sites of European settlement in the region in the early 1870s. The Station was closed in 1932, as more modern communications were being introduced. There is a working pair of Morse code keyers which use the same Meidinger’s Cell batteries that were used during the service life of the station. It’s hard to imagine how challenging life must have been for the Station Manager, staff and families.
The National Road Transport Museum on the outskirts of town to the south has a large collection of vehicles, be they trucks, tractors and even the yellow cab that starred (along with Michael Caton and Jacki Weaver) in the film “Last Cab to Darwin”. John even found an old Cooper S, just like the one he had as a younger lad – in British racing green, naturally.
The Rev Dr John Flynn is buried just outside of Alice Springs. Various buildings pay homage to the man who established the Australian Inland Mission and helped to bring health and other services to the outback in the first half of the 20th century, including the forerunner of today’s Royal Flying Doctor Service.
What to say about Alice Springs? … A real surprise package. We loved it! We will be back.