Well three months down the track and we are three days away from departing the amazing Alice! Before we got here we had been told by many people that we would love the Alice and she would get under our skin in a way we least expected. Never a truer sentiment was spoken! The only positive thing about leaving is that we will be back……….back in February 2019 for another three months at the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame.
So what is it about Alice and why has she got under our skin and into our hearts? The first thing that comes to mind is that Alice has all the amenities of a bigger town that we would want, but she is in the middle of nowhere! She is surrounded by the most amazing ranges, the East and West MacDonnell Ranges. The first sight of them as we drove into town triggered off a series of “wow, oh wow, oh wow, oh wow!” The range is a 644 km (400 mi) long series of mountains, consisting of parallel ridges running to the east and west of Alice Springs. The mountain range contains many spectacular gaps and gorges, such as Simpson’s Gap and Ormiston Gorge. It is also home to many areas of great Aboriginal significance.
The town of Alice Springs itself has most of the normal shops and services that you would get in a much bigger town or city. They have K Mart, Target, Coles, Woolworths, Bunnings, Harvey Norman, a cinema, post office, banks, Centrelink, bakery, cafes and restaurants, etc etc. Where we are based at the NPWHF, it is only a five-minute walk into town. So unless we are going off exploring, we hardly have to use the car at all.
There is so much to explore in and around this amazing town, and there are many events that take place annually which we have been fortunate to attend. Some of the places we have visited are The Alice Springs Desert Park, the Old Telegraph Station, the Reptile Centre, The Royal Flying Doctor Service Museum, Araluen Arts Centre, Megafauna Central, Central Australia Aviation Museum, and the Olive Pink Botanical Gardens. We have explored Simpsons Gap, Honeymoon Gap, Hermannsburg, parts of the Finke Gorge National Park, Owen Springs Reserve and Gosse Bluff Conservation Reserve. We have attended the Alice Springs Camel Cup, The Henley on Todd Regatta, Desert Voices, Desert Song and Parrtjima 2018. But there is still so much more we haven’t seen so we are looking forward to our return, and continuing our exploration of this area.
And finally, we cannot find enough ways to say thank you to the Board, staff and volunteers at the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame for giving us the opportunity to be Volunteer Caretakers. It has been a life enhancing experience and one that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. We have met and been supported by the most dedicated group of people who work at the museum. We particularly want to thank Julie, Jessica, Dianna, Kathleen and Patti for their patience and assistance whilst we learnt the ropes and then for their ongoing support, friendship and humour over the past three months. Thanks too for the wonderful group of people who volunteer their time and expertise in a variety of roles within the museum. You all know who you are and we have so enjoyed meeting you. Keep up the great work and we will see you next year! And last but not least, has been the vast army of visitors to the museum. People of all ages from all walks of life, from all across Australia and overseas. It never ceases to amaze us the different topics of conversation that we find ourselves having with complete strangers and usually within the space of five to ten minutes. Each person has left their mark in one way or another!