The McDonnell Ranges, Northern Territory.

Premium spots in the carparks which are set aside for sunset viewing, are much sought after. Many arrive hours beforehand. I joined them.

Besides socialising much discussion went on as to how to get the best photos of the various colours of The Rock at sunset. Most of this seemed meaningless to me, as my good camera was still at home. I did the best I could with my old camera.

Uluru national park 096

Stayed that night at Yulara camp ground, a camp ground with amazing facilities. Most enjoyable, and budget friendly.

Next morning, Friday, I filled up and checked the oil….. as I had been told to do. Things did not look good. Buying engine oil was not as easy as I expected, and I was referred to the ‘local’ mechanic….. some kms out of town. He took one look, topped it up and suggested I go see the VW mechanic in Alice Springs. This turned out to be the best advice I was given.

The mechanic took one look at it, showed me where the trouble was, cleaned it all up and suggested I drive around over the weekend, and bring it back on Monday morning. When I presented the van after the weekend, he was able to see exactly where the leak was, and fixed it in a couple of hours…. for just a couple of hundred bucks. We were good to go, and have not lost a drop of oil since.

Rock Paintings at Emily Gap

Rock Paintings at Emily Gap

Made good use of the weekend by tripping around The Alice, to Emily and Jessie Gaps National Parks.

Ghost Gum at Jessie Gap

Ghost Gum at Jessie Gap

Another trip saw me out at Hermansburg, a mission run for over a century since somewhere in the second half of the 1800s. Today it is merely the collection of historic buildings, with tea rooms run by the local indigenous people. I roamed around this compound for some time,soaking up the history. The stone church, the dwellings and the old machinery.

The Red Centre Way which leads to Hermansburg passes by Stanley Chasm and Simpson’s Gap, two popular hiking places. It also passes by John Flynn‘s Grave…..

Flynn Memorial 008

… and the Albert Namitjira Monument.

Albert Namatjira Mnmt 001

The McDonnell Ranges, the landscape which inspired his world famous paintings. Many of his descendants carry on the tradition he started.

West McDonnell Ranges.

West McDonnell Ranges.