The MacDonnell Range (Big 4) Caravan Park was to be our 'home' for the next 8 nights before we went to Uluru. Then park was also to be a meeting place for a number of our old and new friends.
The caravan sites in the park are huge, plenty of room for the van, a concrete slab for the annex and green grass (as opposed to dry brown grass or red dirt) for the car, with room besides. My sister, Mags, was flying in from Tauranga, via, Auckland and Sydney to spend 17 nights with us, so in preparation we set up the full annexe, stretcher bed, table lamp and heater, as this was going to be Mags' bedroom.
After setting up our van then went looking for fellow travellers (Ashley & Bev), that we met while in Burra. The four of us had really 'clicked' and had made arrangements to meet up again when we got to Alice; along the track we had kept in touch with each other, so we were looking forward to having a few beers, and many laughs with them. To give you an example of Ashley's sense of humour, when talking about a dirt road they had travelled, he said 'the corrugations are so deep you need a packed lunch to get out of them" I love the guy! Bev and Ash were in town for the next 3 days so of course we shared a meal or 2 with them, then off they went; the next time we see them will most likely be in their hometown of Muswellbrook, NSW.
The next few days we became real domestics, cleaned the van, top to toe, washed the clothes, shopped for food, and checked out the town. On entering Woolworths we felt like kids being let into a lolly (candy) shop, we went crazy, so much FRESH food, crisp lettuces, fruit that was not too ripe, meat and bread that was not frozen, it was almost heaven!
Mags arrived on the 9th, looking rather tired after the long trip, leaving Tauranga at 2am the same day and arriving in The Alice at 1pm. That afternoon was spent settling Mags in then we went for a drive around; I had been to Alice Springs 30yrs before and the town was unrecognisable to me, so we had good time exploring. The next day we took a trip out to beautiful Trephina Gorge, in the East MacDonnell Ranges, which has sheer quartzite cliffs and a sandy creek bed, lined with gorgeous River Red Gums. We walked along Trephina, with its wide views and sandy creekbed, to the John Hayes Rock Hole with its steep, narrow rock walls. The rock pool was too cold and deep for us oldies to walk through, however a few young folk were on the other side of the creek, sunbathing on the rocks; they must have been from a warmer climate and were feeling the heat! Along the way to Trephina we stopped off to have a look at a wonderful old Ghost Gum.