As The flight to Cairns wasn't until 5.20pm and check out of the motel was at 10am.so what to do in the meantime. Well first leave bags with the motel receptionist and then walk the 4km to the Telegraph station. The heat at 30 deg was punishing but the walk along the dry Todd riverbed had its merits. We saw rock wallabies, eagle's, weird coloured crickets and small lizards. After an hours walk, we finally arrived. Would have got there sooner but kept stopping to check out the terrain.
The first building to view was the Barracks, the first major structure built in central Australia and in 1872 the Stations first telegraph message was transmitted to Adelaide. The message read 'CW Kraegen had died of thirst 100km down the line in the December heat'. He had been on his way to Alice Springs to take up the position of Stationmaster.
The Telegraph Station was midway along the Overland Telegraph line from Darwin to Adelaide and played a key role in Australia's development. Personal and business messages, which had taken months by sea, now only took hours. It reduced the isolation of Australians from the rest of the world.
We then walked to the 'Springs'. Most people (myself included) assumed that the name Alice Springs came about because of a spring at the telegraph station. In fact, the 'Spring' is just a water hole found by Government surveyor William Mills in 1871 whilst exploring the Macdonnell Ranges. He named it Alice Springs after the wife of Charles Todd who won the tender for constructing the overland line.
|The river bed might look totally dry but dig down and the water is just underneath.|
The 4 km walk back was even more draining. The temperature had soared to 38 deg and with very little shade it was an effort to put one foot in front of the other. We both had constant sips of water from the 2 Ltr bottle but that didn't help in quenching the thirst. I have come to the conclusion that these two Brits find it very difficult to cope in the very hot conditions.
Very glad to get back to the air-conditioned Motel. We only had 30 minutes to wait before the airport shuttle bus came to collect us. Got to the security check and I was once again pulled out for a search. It happened at Auckland and again here in Alice Springs. I must have that dodgy look! Anyway, we boarded the plane in glorious weather and landed in Cairns during a thunderstorm and torrential rain. To say it was a bumpy ride was an understatement. I was very frightened at one point when the plane lurched and seemed somewhat erratic. Boy, was I glad to get down on the ground safely at Cairns. And as for Ian...totally unconcerned, took the turbulence in his stride and called me a right wuss for being so scared!.
It's the last leg of the Aussie adventure next. We collect the campervan in the morning.