From Julia to Alice….Alice Springs that is!

In August last year whilst caretaking in Tasmania, we saw a job advert in the Grey Nomad Times asking for Volunteer Caretakers in Alice Springs.

Caretaker Advert

The line that caught our eye and our attention was “Have you ever wanted to stay in an historic gaol?” Well of course we did and in fact we had already done so. In 2016 we stayed in Fremantle Gaol in the converted Women’s section for our wedding anniversary. Ray and I made contact with the Business Manager and had a good chat about the role. We didn’t have to think twice before filling in the application form and emailing it off. Referees were contacted and a few days after applying we were delighted to find that we had been accepted to start in July 2018.

So over the next eleven months we carried on travelling and attending various events that we have written about in earlier blogs. But throughout that time, hardly a day passed where Alice wasn’t mentioned. So many people told us that we would love the town and gave us ideas of things to do and places to see whilst there.

Mid July, we left Julia Creek, Queensland, and continued along the Overlander’s Way, passing though Cloncurry, Mount Isa and Camooweal, before finally making it over the border into the Northern Territory.  We had finally made it into all the six states and two territories of Australia!NT sign

It was another 966km from the border to Alice Springs, so we only drove 457km to Tennant Creek. We broke our journey there and stayed for two nights. Tennant Creek is an interesting town and we had heard many stories from various folk we had met on the road. Half the people said to avoid it due to issues with the local indigenous population, and the other half said it was worth exploring. We can only go on our experience, but we would stay there again. We stayed at the Tennant Creek Caravan Park which is on the highway and next door to the BP Service Station. We had a drive thru site, the amenities were good, staff friendly and we felt very secure. We walked downtown and had no problem with the locals. We wouldn’t walk around at night time but then we wouldn’t walk the streets at night in Perth or any other major city! We do acknowledge that there are many social issues and problems with the locals and alcohol is probably a big cause. The media has also documented many problems including domestic violence and child abuse. However on the days we visited we did not experience any discord ourselves.


The stories of the Warumungu people and their culture are showcased in the Nyinkka Nyunyu Cultural Centre. The Warumungu and other Aboriginal groups including the Warlpiri, Kaytetye and Alyawarra people have a history in the area spanning 40,000 years. Unfortunately we were too late to visit the centre on the day we were in town but will definitely check it our on our return.

The European history of the town began in 1860 when the explorer John McDouall Stuart came through during an attempt to cross the continent from South to North. The town was also home to one of the Overland Telegraph Stations which was constructed in the 1870’s and in the 1930’s it was the site of Australia’s last gold rush and at that time was the third-largest gold producer in Australia.


We left Tennant Creek and headed the 509km south to Alice Springs. On the way we passed the Devils Marbles; Aliens in flying saucers, Anmatjere Man, Woman And Child and wild camels.

And then there was the iconic sign to show that we had finally made it to our long awaited and highly anticipated destination!!dsc_24875623992878927110029.jpg

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