Camping is not about deprivation, but indulgence
Tim Bowden (writer and broadcaster)
Dear Mr Bowden,
As I write to you, I am propped up in a bed (a mattress over two stretchers) in a tent. I have enclosed a photograph of said living quarters.
The temperature is dropping at a rate you can measure in minutes and the local galah population, underneath which we have slept for four nights (while our empty trailer van is being repaired) is making its presence felt not only with noisy night arguments among themselves, but also with their incredibly regular liquid messages dropping onto the outer fly of the aforesaid tent.
One of the residents in the camp ground has a dog called Gary who, by the sound of his snarl, could be quite scary to meet should I need to leave the tent during the dark and cold hours of the early morning.
There is a gathering of grey nomads communing in the communal area. Their increasingly drunken conversations carry effortlessly through the thin night air.
In regards to your words relating to camping as an indulgence, dear Sir, I beg to differ.
It’s a long day trip out to Chambers Pillar from Alice Springs and definitely worth the effort.
Mr Chambers (after whom the Pillar was named) funded John McDouall Stuart’s exploration so Mr Stuart could do nothing less than name this giant clay, sandstone and silt formation after him.
On the way out to the pillar is Ewaninga Rock Art Reserve. It is a pretty special place, with a large clay pan water source and amazing 360 degree views of the landscape.
Yesterday it was time for some sightseeing in and around Alice. Starting in the town centre with the Sunday morning markets and a good cup of coffee, the bougainvillea led your eyes skywards.
These rock wallabies were sunning themselves, surprisingly on the rocks, above the dry creek bed leading into Simpsons Gap.
Further west in the Macdonnell Ranges is Standley Chasm. Look up!
Saturday 13 July (written 15 July)
After the vandemonium of the past couple of days, it was good to have our attention diverted by the race that stops Alice Springs if not the nation.
The nine-race event that is Camel Cup Day is an annual event that attracts over 5,000 spectators and international attention. This year, a television crew from the Japanese NHK network covered the race.
Here’s just some of the fun.
By happy coincidence, we met up with my family and our fellow travellers at the event. Dinner at the Hanuman Restaurant in the Hilton Hotel was a fabulous collation of Indian and Thai dishes. Sweet!