The day began at our overnight stop at Ambalindum Station. There was a bit of disappointment at not making Ruby Gap but this day promised to make up for it. A decision was made the previous night to split the group in two in order to maximise time in Alice Springs, a major resupply point for the trip. Very bright and early the Bennett and Kargas clans departed for Alice at 0700 followed by the rest of the group at the still bright and early time of 0800 (although at least one sparrow probably wished that it slept in that morning, hey Hayden ;-) ).
The trip to Alice took us through the eastern side of the spectacular MacDonnell ranges with the second group getting hit with a quiz as part of the commentary. Although only scheduled as a place to refuel and shop for groceries, Alice turned out to have a lot more in store for us than we expected. Upon hitting the town we all went a separate ways with the girls heading for supermarkets and the guys heading for the service stations. It was at one of these service stations that Cameron noticed that the Suzuki was taking on a bit more fuel than usual, shortly after this Cam made another discovery – he was standing in an expanding puddle of unleaded. Unfortunately both of these discoveries pointed to a fairly major split in the Suzi’s fuel tank. Bugger! In the meantime the girls were merrily filling their shopping trolleys at the supermarkets.
Both Tim and Cam swung into action, finding a welder who was able to repair the split, but before that could happen the fuel tank had to be drained, removed and cleaned before being handed over - meanwhile the girls continued to fill their shopping trolleys.
At various other fuel stations around Alice, Gerry was having a long and protracted argument with the attendant on why it was perfectly reasonable to fill jerry cans whilst still on the roof rack (an argument he ultimately lost), whilst Ivan enjoyed the Shell service station so much he marked it as his own territory (I’ll leave I to your imagination as to how). Meanwhile …. you guessed it, those shopping just kept getting fuller.
Towards lunch we all started to meet at our rendezvous point on top of ANZAC Hill overlooking Alice. It was during this time that Tim, Gerry and Steve found out just how much more room they would need to make to fit the shopping into their respective vehicles, Ivan appeared to have no problems with lot’s of food and quite frankly I didn’t know what all the fuss was about, there’s something to be said about having the entire car to yourself
Word finally got through from Tim that the Suzi would be back on the road at around 2pm so it was again decided to split into two groups with the Bennetts staying with Tim, Di, Cam and Blair and the rest of us pushing on to Boggy Hole. The Western MacDonnell ranges proved to be just as spectacular as the east and we made good time to Hermannsburg where after a couple of false starts (resulting in visits to the local tip and cemetery) we found ourselves on the track winding through the Fink Gorge on the way to our campsite at Boggy Hole. As turned out to be the norm for the trip, the expected rough going did not eventuate and we were able to enjoy the spectacular scenery and the second part of the quiz. We arrive at Boggy Hole just after 3pm leaving us with plenty of time to explore. The first place we stopped in search of a good campsite had plenty of potential- sandy ground, good spot for a fire and waterfront views, however just in case, Hayden and Adam took off in the Patrol to see if we could do better (did I really hand over my car to a 16yo and 13yo ????). As it turned out, we couldn’t do any better and I believe the Kargas tent got the prize for the best waterfront view.
A few hours later the rest of our group arrived and we were all together again. It was revealed that night during the story so far both Tim and Ivan made exactly the same mistakes on the turnoffs to boggy hole, scary huh ?
After the story Ivan, Lea and family were announced as the winners of the quiz (with everyone else except for the Thrifts being disqualified) and then we were treated to a demonstration by Zac, Nick and Ben on how to make lot’s of smoke (and a little fire).
The day ended with another beautiful night in the swag around the campfire staring up at the stars. On the whole – a great day.
Hayden and Matt poking their heads through a window on the way to Alice
Alice Springs from the lookout - we were spread far and wide - shopping, fixing, and junk fooding!
More of Alice
The road out to Hermannsburg
Yep, this is the right track (took a couple of goes to find it)
Blaire letting some air out
Airing down and collecting fire wood
ahh - this is a bit nicer!
Those snow gums are beautiful
An early moon
Possible camp site??
Yep, how good is this!
Ivan and Matt go looking for animal life across the creek
The camp from across the creek
Time for the campfire - and Happy Hour - Narelle has been promising that Gerry will make his rice paper rolls for a while - tonights the night! (bloody good too!)
Matthew cooks up some Nachos in the camp oven
Later, Matt, Adam and Hayden climbed the hill behind the camp for a photo
A bit of Secret Mens Business here - Nic, Zac and Ben built a fire in a deep hole for us all to enjoy
Dry grass - check, kindling - check, matches - check
Fire - Check!