Monday, June 21, 2010

Return to Alice and Trephina Gorge

Our flight from Sydney to Alice Springs on Saturday had a bonus in it when we flew over Lake Eyre. The weather was clear and we were given great views of the giant saltpan that had filled with water. The thing that surprised me was the number of islands in the lake. Our flight path took us over the area between Lake Eyre and Lake Eyre South. I think that the pilot bought the aircraft down to a lower altitude to give us the views. For once I never had a camera with me so I missed out on the photo opportunity.

On our arrival in Alice Springs we retrieved our vehicle from the long term car park and went into Alice to replenish our supplies. We then collected our caravan and headed for Trephina Gorge in the East MacDonnell Ranges. When we arrived, the camping area was full so we set up in the overflow camping area which we had all to ourselves. After setting up I went for a walk to try and find some birds to photograph. I managed to get some near our camp site one of which was a different Hooded Robin. The common bird in the area was the White Plumed Honeyeater.

The Hooded Robin at Trephina Gorge
That night was extremely cold so it was an early night into the bed to warm up. Next morning I was up before the sun and I headed down the road towards Trephina Bluff and into the creek to get photographs. It amazed me the colour change in this Bluff as the light changes through the early morning. I then headed back to the caravan before walking into the gorge to check things out. On my return I managed to talk Coba into doing the ridgeline walk around the top of the gorge and then returning through the gorge. I was surprised at the difficulty of this walk mainly due to the rocky condition of the land as well as poor physical condition.
Trephina Bluff from our campsite - Taken before the sun came up
Trephina Bluff from Triphina Creek in the early morning light.

That afternoon we went for a drive into John Hayes Rock pools which is a 4X4 wheel drive. The track ran along the river bed in several places with one section being just boulders to drive over. Needless to say Coba was no real happy. The rock pools were nothing and I felt that I had wasted the effort to drive there. That night we tried out the generator as we had not used it to date on this trip. All went well and I had power to run my computer and charge batteries.

Monday morning it was up again before sunrise but this time I headed into the gorge for photos. Trephina Gorge is the jewel in the crown of the East MacDonnell Ranges. I took the opportunity of the soft light to photograph the gorge, returning to the caravan for breakfast at 9.00 am. We then packed and hooked up the van to move on. Our first stop was Ross River Resort where Diesel was $2.30 / litre and petrol was $2.35 / litre. From there it was back to Corroboree Rock where I had hoped to find the Grey Fronted Honeyeater. There were no Grey Fronted Honeyeaters but I did manage to find and photograph two Painted Finches. My main reason for going to Trephina was to look for these birds but I could not find any there. I had all but given up on these finches so this had been a lucky break for me finding them here. Then it was a short stop at Jessie Gap and into Alice Springs.

Lookin down into Trephina Gorge from the Rim Walk
River Gums in the soft light of dawn in Trephina Creek
Morning sunlight on the red cliff in Trephina Gorge
Early Morning Reflections in Trephina Gorge

Trephina Gorge is a beautiful place and we both could have stayed there longer but we had coved it and it was time to go. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we intend to move north and hope to find warmer nights. The days are beautiful but the nights are cold.

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