The Red Centre is the heart of Australia. It is also my home. And while I sometimes feel confined by the small town I live in, I cannot deny the feeling that sweeps through my body whenever I fly back into the Alice and look at the ranges that streak across the desert. I love this place and feel a deep spiritual spiritual connection. Today, I wanted to share with you some of my favourite photos of this special place. You might be surprised by what photos I have and haven’t chosen to include, but just know each of these photos tells a story for me.
I took this photo while I was completing the Valley Walk at Kings Canyon. This experience will always be special to me since it was part of a trip I took with a friend over the Easter long weekend. To cut a long story short, we took the scenic route and had a great time, but upon my return I had obtained a small injury that my students became convinced was the result of me getting hit by a car. I swear I didn’t prompt this response in anyway! If you want more details on exploring Kings Canyon, you can read about it here.
My most favourite sign. it marks the beginning of the ‘Adventurer’s Way’ which, if you have a 4WD, a map and plenty of water, will eventually lead to Kings Canyon. I regularly turn down this road to visit Ellery Creek Big Hole and Ormiston Gorge if I desire a Red Centre style beach day. I took my first ever ‘road trip’ down this road with a couple of girl friends a few years back ove rthe Australia Day long weekend. We stayed at Glen Helen (not shown on the sign even though it is literally 1 km past Ormiston) for a couple of nights and spent our days visiting each of these locations.
And here we have Ellery Creek Big Hole. This is one of our permanent waterholes in the Red Centre, and with sandy ‘beaches’ lining its shores, it’s the close we can easily get to having a beach day. The water is FREEZING so there’s no point in visiting for a swim in the winter months, and it’s thought to be up to 27 metres deep depending on how much rain we’ve had in recent months. This is an important site for local Arrernte people, and a couple of Aboriginal girls who I teach once told me to clap and throw a rock into the water before I go swimming next time to alert the spirits that I’m there.
This handsome specimen of a camel can be found at the Kings Creek Station Homestead. They rescued him after someone killed his mother. I met him during my exploration of Kings Creek Station a couple of years ago. Camels actually played a significant role in opening up the Red Centre to exploration through the use of Afghan Camel Trains, and the camels used by Robyn Davidson in her trek to Western Australia were from Central Australia. I actually got to view the house she lived in during this time recently which was pretty cool.
This is just one of the amazing views that you can see along the Larapinta Trail, which I’m sure you have seen is on my bucket list. The trail is made up of 12 sections covering a total distance of 223km along the Western MacDonnell Ranges from Alice Springs to Mt Sonder. I took this photo during a day hike where we completed Section 10, Ormiston to Finke River. In the distance you can see Mt Sonder, one of the tallest mountains in the Northern Territory. I plan to chip away at this next year over the weekends in the cooler months because I crave more views like these.
Though technically not in the traditional confines of the ‘Red Centre’ since it’s a bit further North, The Devils Marbles was the first solo road trip I ever took, and I learnt a lot about myself along the way. There really is something so majestic exploring this site. You can almost feel the magic in the air. You can read about my experience in my post See the Devils Marbles.
This is certainly something you won’t see everyday, but it is something that makes the Red Centre strangely unique. Alice Springs is an arid environment, meaning we don’t get a lot of rain very often, but when it does rain we all get a little bit…cracked in the head shall we say, and this is just one example of this. Once a year, after we’ve had some ‘big rains’, a local art group takes advantage of the local clay pans to host the Dirty Water Sailing Regatta, where participants create shallow hulled boats out of recycled goods and race them in the dirty water of the clay pans. This was my creation from a last year, made from the left over packaging of a new fridge.
A place of magesty and culturally significant to Arrentre people for its bush tucker Dreaming, Rainbow Valley is just too beautiful to pass up. Whether you see it at sunrise or sunset you are bound to be awestruck by its shape and continuously changing colours. I highly recommend camping here for at least 1 night to get the full experience.
This hidden gem was a recent discovery for me and houses a number of fond memories. It is perfect as both a hiking and (albeit FREEZING) swimming location provided it hasn’d dried out. I love that over every rock is a possible new pond to discover.
I hope that you can see why these are some of my favourite photos of the Red Centre. They aren’t perfectly framed or completely aesthetically pleasing, and they will by no means turn me into a ‘social media influencer’, but they tell the real stories behind this fantastic part of the world. A part of the world that I have been fortunate enough to call my home. I’d be interested in seeing your favourite photos of your home and hearing your stories, so if you ever do a blog post like this, hit me up.