Archive for ‘May, 2014’

The West MacDonnell Ranges

Located near the centre of Australia, the West MacDonnell Ranges are an impressive mountain ranges that run parallel ridges that travel to the west and to the east of Alice Springs. These ranges cover a distance of 644km, and contain spectacular sites to all travelers and adventurers both. These mountain ranges not only hold cultural aboriginal significance, but also contain breathtaking gorges and gaps that are a must see for tourists and locals.  The three highest peaks in the West MacDonnell Ranges are Mount Keil, standing at an impressive 5023 feet, followed by Mount Liebig and Mount Sonder at 5000 ft and 4528 ft respectively.

West MacDonnel RangesThe West MacDonnell Ranges were named after Sir Richard MacDonnell, who was the governor of Australia at the time of their naming by explorer John McDouall Stuart when he reached them in April of 1860.  The ranges were further explored by many other expeditions including John Ross and David Lindsay.

Over a period of 300-350 million years, erosion, folding and fault lines have continued to make the MacDonnell Ranges one of Australia’s most notable locations for natural, simple beauty.  The ranges are most recognizable for their red quartzite peaks gorges and peaks but many other types of rocks exist there including sandstone and granite and many, many more.  The ranges are also notable for their fossil evidence, demonstrating that the area was once covered by an inland sea that once covered large parts of central Australia.

When visiting Australia, no trip is complete without visiting the West MacDonnell Ranges and experiencing this breathtaking site for yourself.   The gorges shelter many species of plants and animals – some of which can only be found in this region like up to fifteen land snail species, and are also the home to 53 threatened species including plants and animals like the Palm Valley Myrtle and the Australian Painted Snipe.  The mesic environment breeds ecological diversity supported by permanent wetland areas and springs.  The West MacDonnell ranges also include pieces of tropical history like the Palm Valley that remind visitors what life was like in an era gone by.  With numerous trails to explore and various treks to experience, these ranges are a truly beautiful place to visit.  Please contact us with any questions about our tours of the West MacDonnell Ranges of central Australia to see this magnificent site for yourself.

The Red Centre – More Life Here Than You Might Think

Alice Springs has a history that goes back for several millennia. The Aborigines have been here since they believe life began and tell the story of the creation of the area.

Their ancestors moved across the barren land (the desert), hunting, camping, fighting, and loving and in doing so, created and shaped the featureless landscape. They moved from Dreams to actions and made the creatures and plants of the area.

They moved on to creating the sky and the humans with tribes and clans. Once all was made the ancestors grew tired and retired to the sky, the earth, the clouds, and the creatures to live within all they created.

The Landscape and The Climate1531838_732566033430183_8240421006409687889_n

Desert-like but great beauty, the Red Heart of Australia is at Uluru-Ayer’s Rock and Alice Springs. The temperatures are warm to hot during the summer and dry, with little rain. Red rocks upon blue skies make for awesome pictures and beautiful night skies. Imagine campfires and listening to the wind tells its stories of days ago.

Insects, Lizards, and Fish Plus Kangaroos and Wallabies

Just like other deserts in other parts of the world, there is only so much water and plants to sustain the creatures of the desert. Many of the creatures are small; the insects feed the birds and the lizards. Reptiles are bumpy so not to be eaten. Fish eggs lie dormant until the rains come.

People come to see the larger creatures of kangaroos, wallabies, and emus. However, if they listen and watch they might hear the howl of a dingo, the song of budgerigars (small parrots), or the penetrating whistling cry of the kite.

Plants Nourish and Stabilize the Landscape 

Spinifex is a plant similar to other desert plants, which seem to have no purpose. They are not tasty to any creatures except termites, they are tough and spiky if you step on them, and they contribute nothing to the soil. However, these grasses hold the sands in place so that the desert does not become like the Sahara. And if you watch them carefully, you might find a desert lizard or small Spinifex Hopping-mouse peeking out.

Desert Bloodwood Trees adapt to the desert, bloom in the cooler months between April through October, and when times are tough, and drought is near, they will drop a branch so that the rest of the tree can live. 

Corkwood Trees have cream colored flowers, which emus seem to love and get drunk on the fermenting nectar. Imagine what that would be like to see Emus drunk on flowers?

The People of Alice Springs

The Arrernte (tribe) Aboriginal people have been in the area of Alice Springs for thousands of years, with evidence of occupation of over 30,000 years. They believe their ancestors created the landscape and are part of the environment. Their art work, culture, and community works bring in the tourists to Alice Springs. 

When the railroad came through, they found Alice Springs was almost the halfway point through the country. It was an active staging base during World War II and the United States Air Force Detachment 421, came in 1954. Americans have lived continuously in the area since that time.

There are also other small immigrant communities of Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, and Indian ethnic groups, who opened up different restaurants in Alice Springs. Other folks who come through the area because of events in Alice Springs such as the desert races, cultural events, and Art Shows.

It is said that people come here to visit and never want to leave. Alice Springs is that enjoyable, the landscape stunning, and the art renowned as the capital of Aboriginal art.

To find out more about Alice Springs and the surrounding area, Contact Us for more information.