Day 14 – Alice Springs
After breakfast we made our way through the town to the School of the Air.
Paid an entry fee to do a tour. Our guide was of Indian origin. Her Indian teaching qualifications haven’t been fully recognised in Australia so while she is studying to upgrade them she works at the School of the Air. After a brief introduction we watched a short video about how the school operates. After that we checked out the old equipment that was previously used to deliver radio classes before the advent of computers.
Next we looked at some of the displays of combined artwork done by the students in the past.
Back in the main room we were able to see two teachers taking lessons via video link. We could only hear one of them – avoids confusion that way. The screen at the top of the photo showed us what students were seeing on their computers.
Each year level has a number of classes each week and the rest of the time a parent, governess or other person helps them with their studies. A couple of times a year they all come into Alice Springs for combined sport and social days. Here is a photo board of one of them.
After looking at the teachers in action we chatted with our tour guide for a while. We also decided to make a donation of a book to their library.
From there we drove back into town to the Royal Flying Doctors. Tricky to get a parking spot but managed it after a while. The tour started with a short talk followed by a movie in a theatrette. Then we could board a replica Pilatus PC-12 plane, which is the current model being used by RFDS.
Next we did a self guided tour of the adjacent museum detailing the history of RFDS and the work done by Rev John Flynn, Alfred Traeger and HV McKay. A trio of holograms of a nurse, a doctor and a pilot was a modern twist. After a quick browse at the shop we headed back to the caravan for lunch and a rest.
Later in the afternoon we drove back into town to the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens. We enjoyed the Annie Meyer Hill walk which took us up above not only the gardens but the town as well.
We came back down the same path and followed a couple of the walks around the gardens. Signboards along the way detailed good information and many of the plants were clearly labelled.
The Mallee walk was well worth doing.
In one of the picnic rotundas there were a number of information boards about Olive Pink and the history of how the gardens came to fruition.
As sunset approached we made our way back to the car. Up in the rocks above us we noticed some black footed rock wallabies moving about, a bit of a bonus to finish our visit. Although it was hard to photograph them as they hopped about looking for food.
On our return to the caravan park we attended another information session put on by the park. This one was a Q&A about problems with caravans and caravanning. We found it quite interesting and helpful. The guy running the session runs a caravan repair business and was living in the caravan park for a while. Dinner back in the caravan.