Alice Springs, West MacDonnell National Park, Devils Marbles, Wycliffe Wells
39 days away
545 km / 339 miles since last post
8,728 km / 5,423 miles total
First stop today was the Reptile Centre in Alice Springs. This houses an array of venomous snakes, pythons and lizards and is also home to a saltwater crocodile named Terry. The main reason for our visit though was to see the Thorny Devils. These are amazing looking lizards with the appearance of being covered in loads of spikey thorns; however the information signs say they are harmless to humans. The lizards in the park were impressive, and it seemed good value for only $12 AUD each.
Our next destination was a little way out of Alice Springs, the West MacDonnell National Park. Specifically, we wanted to see two particular sights.
Firstly, we visited Standley Chasm. This is an incredibly narrow chasm with 75m high vertical walls. Our travel book advised us the best time to visit Standley Chasm is just after midday, and we made it right on time. The sun had just passed over the gap, giving a wonderful glow to the sheer rock faces. We found it a bit odd that there was an $8 per head entry fee for this - but it was worth the visit nonetheless. It was made even better by spotting a colourful wild lizard on the walk back from the chasm to the van.
The second part of the national park we wanted to visit was Simpsons Gap. This is a large, picturesque cut through a high area of solid rock apparently caused by a stream which hardly ever runs anymore. It was a great sight, and again, worth the visit.
Before leaving the Alice Springs area completely, we paid a visit to Anzac Hill which offers a great lookout over the town. It also has a memorial at the top dedicated to the 'diggers' (Australian soldiers) killed during the First World War and other conflicts.
The intention after leaving 'The Alice' was to head back up to Wycliffe Well, the U.F.O. centre of Australia which we had visited briefly whilst travelling south. Staying here would give us the opportunity to visit the nearby Devils Marbles once again, and to capture them at sunset. Wycliffe Well was around 370km away, so it was a push to get there in good time for sunset.
We managed to arrive at Wycliffe Well around 6:15pm. We just had enough time to get some dinner and then drive up to the Devils Marbles.
Fortunately, we made it in perfect time. The huge boulders glowed brilliantly in the setting sunlight, and Stu managed to capture some fantastic shots. We had been recommended to visit the Devils Marbles from a number of people, including the authors of our travel book, and I'm so glad we made it here in time. We had to be careful with the time as the gates to our campsite closed at 8:30pm, and once again, we made it back just in time. We had managed to time things just right today, and fit in all the things we wanted to do. Seeing the sunset at The Devils Marbles was the perfect end to the day.