Ever since we had mentioned we were coming to Alice Springs to any of our fellow travelers those that had already been here mentioned the Desert Park as a place well worth the visit. Ever since we arrived on Monday we kept planning to get there but only finally made it today. And they were all correct – it is definitely a must see on the list of things to do in Alice.
Desert Park is a tourist precinct where the aim is to give you a picture of the Australian dessert, and the area around here in particular, as a living, breathing, thriving place rather than the dead plains it is sometimes conceived to be. The park is set in 4 hectares of land at the base of the McDonnell ranges with 3 main areas set out – the Sands, the Desert Rivers and the Woodlands areas. You are provided with some audio equipment consisting of a set of headphones and a receiver with a numerical keypad. As you meander along the paths there are certain points which show a number – if you key this number into your head set you will then be provided with information relating to the area you are currently in.
There were also many signs along the way identifying plants and how the Aboriginals used them be it for food, medicine, tools or building materials. In addition to this there was also a program of talks and displays given by various tour guides within the park. The ones we sat in on included survival techniques and tools of the local Aborigines, nocturnal talk in the amazing Nocturnal house, Raptor and Birds of Prey, and a bush tucker walk. All were so informative and interesting – we figure we have learnt more today about the Aboriginal culture than ever before and have such a huge respect for their knowledge and skills.
We will also never look at the desert around us in quite the same way. And the bird life – it is incredible the quantity and variety – I begin to understand why people would want to spend time bird watching if some this is a sample of what you would be looking for. We had been told we would need a full day here and this was definitely correct – we spent nearly 8 hours here and even then we could have done with more time. And as a bonus this whole day only cost us $20 entry fee – not each that is total – amazing!! It is with much sadness that I leave Alice Springs tomorrow as I know that soon we will be leaving the outback. I know that originally my goal was to get to Northern Queensland whilst enjoying a few sights along the way but I had no idea how much I would love this part of Australia. It is SO beautiful and we think that every Australian should discover this beauty for themselves at some point in their lives. I so hope that I will return again one day.