|Alice Springs from Anzac Hill|
The morning dawned with a glorious outback sunrise and before long we had arrived at our second destination, Alice Springs. Alice, as it is commonly known, is in the geographical centre of Australia, midway between Darwin and Adelaide. It is a
desert town, now primarily involved in tourism, with a population between 20,000 and 28,000 depending on the season. It is also home to the outback Flying Doctor service.
|The Ghan stretched out through the middle of town|
I had imagined Alice to be dusty, dry and slightly shabby so was pleasantly surprised to find it a fresh, attractive, tidy town. After a drive through the township our coach took us up to the top of Anzac Hill, passing memorials to every war Australia has been involved in, for a magnificent view over the township and to the majestic MacDonell ranges beyond.
Murals celebrating the history of transport in and around Alice adorn walls in the town.
|A road train (truck with many trailers) passes through Alice|
|The dry, dusty, waterless Todd River|
Two popular real dinkum Aussie events are held in Alice annually; the Camel Cup where jockeys on camels race each other, and the Henley-on-Todd regatta, a boat race on the completely dry Todd river where contestants carry their boats and indulge in mock battles armed with flour bombs and water cannons. It sounds like a lot of fun and is a hugely successful fundraiser for the local Rotary Club. It is also the only boating regatta in the world which is cancelled if there is water in the river as happened in 1993. The river does occasionally have water in it but it is usually only briefly after heavy rain in the wet season.