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Home / Essays / 2014 / October / Day 12 - Australia 2014 - From Alice Springs to Glen Helen in my own 4WD

Day 12 - Australia 2014 - From Alice Springs to Glen Helen in my own 4WD

I slept today longer than the other day and was wakening up through my iPhone. I wondered in the first moment, because who in the hell would call me in Australia, but then I remembered myself that I gave my number the nice guy with Dutch migration background from the Central Car Rental Office in the Hartfield Street where I have booked my car for my second tour in the outback. And his nicely voice told me that my car was ready for pick up.

After having a fruit salad, a sandwich and a coffee for breakfast I went to central car rental to pick up my 4wd which I have booked yesterday. I was little bit exited because of two reasons: at first I have never driven a 4wd, and at second the nice guy with the Dutch migration background should explain how I should drive a 4wd. And he did it excellently. I think he was wondering about me and he recognised my uncertainty a little bit. But he was dealing with it wonderful and asked me wether I need a container of 20 litre of water. My reflexes were reacting instantly. I said only yes, yes, yes. Maybe I read maybe to much travel guides in advance, but in every stood that water is important in the outback. I bought 12 1,5 litre bottles in the super market too. I thought later that it was too much maybe. But so am I. So after 12 o'clock the car took me out of Alice spring in a southern direction on the Larapinta Highway to my next stop the Simpsons Gap.

Entry to the Simpsons Gap at noonSimpsons Gap is one of the most prominent waterholes in the region

I wanted to go there because the tour guide from the last tour told me that there should be a lot of wallabies. The Simpsons Gap is one of a beautiful landmark in the MacDonnel Ranges.

Waterhole in the Simpsons GapThe area is an important spiritual site to the Arrarnta Aboriginal people, where several dreaming trails and stories cross.

Wether I didn't see any wallabies there in the noon, the gap between the two steep rocks with the waterhole on the grounds was really beautiful. Because It is the home of a lot of birds

Birds in the Simpsons GapKnown as Rungutjirpa to the Arrernte Aboriginal people, Simpsons Gap was the mythological home of a group of giant goanna ancestors.

and insects like dragonflies

Flying Dragonfly across the Waterhole in the Simpsons GapSimpsons Gap is one of the most prominent gaps in the West MacDonnell Ranges.

After that I dived in the beautiful valley of the MacDonnel Ranges, which was covered with small mountain crests and green hassocks like small hedgehogs and a wide variety of bushes I arrived Standley Chasm. There was a campsite and a bistro at the end of the street. And the Stanley Chasm trail for what you have to pay for. After a short explanation of the trail from the waitress who made me cappuccino, I decided it to do the walk.

Trail to Standley ChasmStandley Chasm is located in a private flora and fauna reserve owned by the Iwupataka Land Trust and is operated by Aboriginal family members that are direct descendants from Aboriginal people that have lived in this area for thousands of years.

And it was it worth it.

Palm in the Standleay ChasmThanks to water, the gully floor is lush that range from delicate ferns to tall gum trees; many species such as the cycad palm, have survived here in the shadow of the arid hills from a long-gone wetter age.

Beside the trail were a few Cyad palm trees, which should be one of the oldest palm tree in the world.

Entry to the gorge of Standley ChasmSurging flood waters over thousands of years are responsible for this beautiful site, which is at its most impressive in the middle of a sunny day.

The trail guides to a typical valley in the MacDonnel Ranges ended in a tight gorge.

Gorge of Standley ChasmA relatively short and easy drive from Alice Springs, Standley Chasm cuts through the tough quartzite to form a picturesque natural alleyway.

Afterwards I achieved a really amazing look out which was recommend to me from the nice Dutch guy in the car rental office in the afternoon. I was so impressed from the afternoon light and the different color shades of green that I couldn't hesitate to make a photo.

Lookout in the MacDonnel Ranges in the early afternoonThe ranges were named after Sir Richard MacDonnell (the Governor of South Australia at the time) by John McDouall Stuart, whose 1860 expedition reached them in April of that year.

Now was it time to reach Glen Helen to get an accommodation for the night. Arrived there I booked a low budget accommodation in the Bank House. It was very simple, but for one night enough. The staff in the Glen Helen Ressort was very friendly and I booked a dinner, for what the Glen Helen Ressort is well known. But before that I wanted to take wonderful capture of the amazing landscape in the warm sunset light. So I set myself in the car and drove the street against the setting sun. And then I found a spot I have recognised already when we were going this street in the opposite direction in the tour with the group. But in this time I could decide when I want to stop.

The spot was really beautiful.

Rocks in the western MacDonnel Ranges in the late afternoonThe MacDonnell Ranges were often depicted in the paintings of Albert Namatjira.

Lowlands with rock fragments in the foreground ranged itself in the deepness of the landscape to majestic brown shaded mountains covered with trails green an yellow bushes and hassocks in a warm sunsetting light.

View to the moutain range of the MacDonnel Ranges close to sunseThe MacDonnel Range consist of parallel ridges running to the east and west of Alice Springs.

I was really happy to find my spot

MacDonnel Ranges during sunsetThe ranges were named after Sir Richard MacDonnell (the Governor of South Australia at the time) by John McDouall Stuart, whose 1860 expedition reached them in April of that year.

so that the absolutely delicious Dinner at Glen Helen was tasting wonderful. And finally I am sitting now in a comfortable chair and listening to the Barry Skypseys Red Center Show on a guitar who is singing old Australian country songs, the right final for this wonderful day.