Saturday morning we got up at around eight and explored the township of Yulara. It really is a little town: hairdresser, bank, post office etc. It has to have all the amenities because the bulk of the tourists fly directly to the airport there and they need everything on hand. Of course, the price for this convenience is quite steep and a lot of people don’t realise the actual cost of setting up and maintaining the infrastructure of a town in remote heartland of the country, a huge distance from anywhere. It begins to seem less pricey when you consider that.
We weren’t planning to go to Uluru itself as I will be working there and husband will come on a tour someday but we drove for a closer view and somehow ended up in the park so we purchased season tickets and had a quick drive around. Then it was five hours drive to Alice Springs.
I loved the countryside along the way: it reminded me very much of the Kimberley region of Western Australia, being similarly ancient. The main difference is lack of water. It is incredibly dry and the air parches out your skin and hair.
Yes, there is some rain but no, not regularly. One of the cattle stations/now tourism place we stopped at (Curtin Springs) had a brochure which explained why they diversified into tourism. Apparently, the year they arrived there was one inch of rain and then nothing for another ten years – cows need water!
The landscape is full of dry creek and river beds. Alice Springs itself is situated on the banks of the Todd River, equally dry. There is a boat race in the dry river bed every year, with people running in boats that have had the bottom cut out of them: the Henly-on-Todd Regatta. Apparently they had to cancel it one year because it did rain and the river was in flood!
We had booked a couple of nights at a caravan park (very basic) and the next day I tried to tee up some accommodation. I need a base to leave my things whilst I am on tour and I am too old to live in Guide accommodation these days. I found a place I thought would do but unfortunately they didn’t have it available right away; it was a separate large room, with it own entrance, which would be ideal. Luckily, the homeowner took pity on me and I am currently dossing down on her study floor until the incumbent inhabitant of my new dwelling moves out in a few weeks.
Accommodation is expensive here in Alice. Just a room will set me back $200 a week. But I need a place to call my own and leave things – there is quite a high crime rate here. if I leave anything in my car parked at the yard whilst on tour, there is a good chance it will be broken into.
Also on the list was meeting my new employers so we both went along to do that. Wayne said afterwards that he was reassured by their professionalism and I liked the small company vibe. Having arranged for me to start at five the next morning, we went on to explore a little around town and passed the rest of the day (and night) trying not to think of parting the next morning. It was a bit miserable.
Alarm clock went off at four the next morning and we said a brief goodbye; I drove off to the yard and he was going to catch the airport shuttle.
And that concludes the third part of the arrival story. I will write more about the trips as I do them: I hope to eventually do it in real time but think it will be hard as my lifestyle is very intensively scheduled for the next month and I just seize time and internet opportunities when I can.