Today we toured the East MacDonnell ranges, located oddly enough, to the east of Alice Springs. The first stop was at Emily Gap, just 10kms out of town.
The Gap is a cleft carved into the rock by the flow of water and the walk between the walls is over a dry creek bed. This location holds important significance to the local Eastern Arrernte Aboriginal People, with a gallery of rock paintings depicting three Caterpillars from their Dreamtime stories.
|Aboriginal Rock Paintings of the three Caterpillars|
Again, a short distance further on was Corroboree Rock, a large dolomite rock standing alone and away from the base of the ranges. It's believed that no actual corroborees were held there due to the lack of water, but it still holds importance to the Arrernte people.
We made our way back to the fork in the road then on to Trephina Gorge, which has well laid out campgrounds and odour-free self-composting toilets. A location to consider staying next time we're back this way. The Gorge itself is very wide and is seen by walking a couple of hundred metres along another sandy, dry creek bed lined with rugged , red walls.
|Ghost Gum more than 300 years old|
Back on to the main road and on to take a look at the Rich River Resort (I reckon calling it a "resort" is a bit "rich"). It's not exactly what you'd be accustomed to if you've seen any of the Qld. island resorts. This place looks a bit like an old school camp, but it does have a helicopter and pilot who can take you on scenic flights over the ranges. Even the chopper looks old and is one of the old "bubble" cockpit Bell 47 models as seen on M.A.S.H. We didn't waste too much time here and just drove straight in and straight out again.
A few hundred metres later we left the main road to join a section of "Binns Track". This is actually a 2191km route starting at Mt Dare S.A. and ending at Timber Creek N.T. and is promoted as a selfdrive 4wd adventure route. The small segment we drove was about 80kms long and started off with a creek crossing. The only problem was, our way was blocked by a Ssangyong 4wd (???) ute that had stopped mid stream and wasn't going anywhere without help.
As soon as the crossing was cleared, along came a big, jacked-up Landcruiser approaching from the other side who confidently hit the water, drove straight through and up the other side with no dramas. The couple hopped out to chat and see if they could lend any assistance. Sharon and I talked to the wife who advised us that we needed to go as far over to the left of the crossing as possible as this was the shallowest path and that the track was spectacular and a lot of fun.
So, now our way was clear and we took to the water with more than a little anxiety. But the water was crystal clear and we could easily see the bottom, so it was in, across and out again with the water probably not much deeper that the side steps. The Prado performed as expected and we were back on our way again.