FRIDAY 6 AUGUST ALICE SPRINGS TO PALM VALLEY 155kms
Today is the second anniversary of John’s hip operation. I hope that is a good omen!
We finally got away, though it took us until midday.
It took quite a while to finalize the van for storage. There was much had to go inside the van, that we couldn’t put in until we were out, including the two bikes.
John had been concerned about vans being moved around in the storage area, but they assured him that our van would not be moved again, once it was in. We backed it in very well, ourselves. The stored vans are quite close together. It is going to cost us $2 a day.
I booked us on for four nights on our return – definite dates to be confirmed later. This will give John a chance for some bowls, again!
Then we had the real final shopping to do: wine casks, a beanie and new thongs for John, kerosene for the lantern. I bought a ticket in a big jackpot lotto draw. Picked up the result sheet for the last Territorian lottery and found I’d won $10. That will be a cheque that is mailed home.
And so we left town………
We headed west, towards Hermannsburg. Larapinta Drive looked different, this time, with cloudy skies. The range was very orange. Stopped to eat our packed lunch at the picnic area at the Hugh River crossing.
At Hermannsburg, took the Palm Valley track to the south. The 21km track was fairly rough, rocky in places, certainly needing high clearance, but not really 4WD. The track parallels the Finke River, was sometimes in its dry bed, then branched off along Palm Creek to the west.
We reached the Palm Valley campground mid afternoon, signed ourselves in at the information bay/entry station – $5 each a night. It is National Park. Camp sites were delineated by bollards. There were plenty empty, so we had a good choice of where to go.
Set up camp. The first time is always the slowest – I hope!
The camp ground is alongside Palm Creek – dry, of course. It is in quite a deep valley, so there are red rock walls on both sides of us. There is quite a good little amenities block, with flush toilets and solar heated showers. There is a free gas BBQ.
The birdlife around the campground is prolific – crows, ringneck parrots, mynahs, butcherbirds, magpies – so there was much bird noise. There were also circling kites overhead.
From our site, we sat and looked across the grassy creek valley to a red cliff face with caves and hollows in it. There are cypress pines on the top.
Read yesterday’s paper, brought with us, which we didn’t have time for then.
There was a superb red sunset.
Tea was the last of the minestrone soup, rissoles, salad, bananas.
We went to the Ranger’s talk at 8pm. It was about the special Livistona palms that are the reason for this National Park. We haven’t seen them yet, though. They are relict plants from a wetter time, when there was tropical vegetation in these parts. They are able to survive here because of water seeping out of the sandstone of the valley.
The Ranger also said that the water here is good to drink.
We got to bed at 10pm. It was cold by then.