Saturday, June 29, 2013

This Alice is a real wonderland

My Paper, Wednesday, May 29, 2013, Page A16, Journey
Source Website:  
By Ana Ow, May 30, 2013, Australia

 
GREAT OUTDOORS: Be sure to catch the fun bird presentation at the Alice Springs Desert Park.PHOTO: GREAT OUTDOORS: Be sure to catch the fun bird presentation at the Alice Springs Desert Park.

 
STEPPING off the aeroplane, I was greeted by a wave of heat so intense, I swear I could hear my skin crackle.

As far as the eye could see was bushland, dotted with a smattering of low-rise buildings in the distance, with the Western MacDonnell Ranges dominating the landscape.

Welcome to Alice Springs. As the gateway town for pilgrims to Ayers Rock – Uluru is but an hour’s plane ride away – Alice Springs could be easily overlooked as a destination.

But there are a few reasons why you may want to stay longer in a town like Alice.


A CHANCE FOR GOOD
I’ve always been a huge fan of the kind of tourism where travellers gain an insight and are empowered to make choices that impact the immediate communities in the areas they visit.

In Alice Springs, there are two standout places of interest that give you these opportunities.


This tourism travellers gain an insight and are empowered to make choices that impact the immediate communities. You can also learn from the guides how the Aboriginals survived the harsh territory.
PHOTO: This tourism travellers gain an insight and are empowered to make choices that impact the immediate communities. You can also learn from the guides how the Aboriginals survived the harsh territory.
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-pEJsf1KG0qM/Uc4ywRLEp0I/AAAAAAAAXX8/Q8SZCuDFdmQ/s1230/Alice+Spring+-+1.jpg
http://sgtravellers.com/travel-article/this-alice-is-a-real-wonderland/4410/1

My Paper, Wednesday, May 29, 2013, Page A16, Journey



The Alice Springs School of the Air (www.assoa.nt.edu.au) is not a place for would-be pilots, but an educational institution that broadcasts its lessons on radio. Or, at least, that’s what it used to do.

Now, this non-profit organisation makes use of Skype, e-mail, social media and home tutors to communicate with its 120 students, located in isolated parts of Central Australia – mostly on farms and sheep ranches.

Since 1951, the School of the Air has been serving these children by providing them with top-quality primary-school education, uniquely tailored to their native culture and environment.

Visitors to the school can help fund its work by sponsoring books for its mobile library and purchasing items from the gift shop. But perhaps the best contribution would be spreading awareness of its cause.

In a similar service, the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (www.flyingdoctor.org.au) provides urgent medical help and emergency-evacuation services to outback residents in outlying areas where there are no immediate medical facilities. Tourists can also help to fund the work by donating or purchasing gift-shop items.

Its visitor’s centre is an interesting, well-designed museum and mini-theatre (which screens an informative documentary on the service), providing a very familyand child-friendly experience.

A bonus: The cafe on the premises serves a killer lamb burger.


EAT LIKE THE LOCALS
One of the more outstanding elements of the Northern Territory is the landscape, the terrain. But why stop at simply marvelling at the sights and sounds, when you can actually do more in the dark of the night – with dinner served?



Part-Aboriginal tour guide and chef will take you on a pre-dusk bush walk, pointing out edible fruit.
PHOTO: Part-Aboriginal tour guide and chef will take you on a pre-dusk bush walk, pointing out edible fruit.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-mMFi_TMUtms/Uc4ywcqDS2I/AAAAAAAAXX0/IpLPfzCVPUM/s678/alice-springs-desert-park-36598.jpg

http://cloud.pleasetakemeto.com/photos/ims-australia/a/alice-springs-desert-park/gallery_678/alice-springs-desert-park-36598.jpg
http://www.pleasetakemeto.com/australia/alice-springs-desert-park/information



The Mbantua Bush sunset dinner (http://rttoursaustralia.com.au/) caters to that latent Boy or Girl Scout within.

Part-Aboriginal tour guide and chef Bob Taylor will first take you on a pre-dusk bush walk, pointing out edible fruit, roots and even grubs that form the basis of the Aboriginal diet.



Alice Springs Desert Park Information - Maps, photos and things to do
PHOTO: Alice Springs Desert Park Information - Maps, photos and things to do
Hundreds of the species of plants and animals found across Central Australian deserts can be seen, smelt and heard at the Desert Park.
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-bfgxNgyJmBY/Uc4yxGJpLnI/AAAAAAAAXYE/aUfOOt3GsSM/s678/alice-springs-desert-park-36601.jpg

http://cloud.pleasetakemeto.com/photos/ims-australia/a/alice-springs-desert-park/gallery_678/alice-springs-desert-park-36601.jpg  
http://www.pleasetakemeto.com/australia/alice-springs-desert-park/information


He then drives you out into the wild and whips up the likes of kangaroo steak, outback beef hotpot and homemade dukka, among others, for your dining pleasure.

With 26 years of experience in the hospitality industry, chef Taylor brings his expertise to the exotic, barbecue-style, outdoor cooking of the three-course bush-tucker fare – trumping campfire marshmallow and hot chocolate any day.


WALK LIKE AN ABORIGINAL

If you have a couple of free hours, head to the Alice Springs Desert Park (www.alicespringsdesertpark.com.au) to walk the trails.

Also catch the awesome bird presentation which introduces you to the kite, a native species of bird of prey.

Another interesting activity is to learn from the park guides how the Aboriginals survived the harsh territory by foraging for food and water.

What an eye-opener.

By Ana Ow, May 30, 2013, Australia



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