To break up the fossicking days, we also did a couple of day trips.
Trip 2, Monday 29/8, we headed out on a section of the Binns Track running between the Plenty Hwy and the Ross Hwy, coming out of Alice Springs. Relatively easy track with only a few rocky sections and ruts around flood runs. The top end of the track takes you through part of the ??? Ranges which is a lovely drive, before opening out into pasture country through to Artlunga Reserve. Artlunga was Australia’s first major central Australian town, initially founded on a Ruby rush, which were quickly properly identified as the less valuable Garnet, but a year later, around 1881, Gold was discovered and the miners poured in. Artlunga quickly became a small town, however, due to its remoteness and lack of water, conditions were harsh and mining quickly became unprofitable. All that remains of the town now are a few ruins and the restored Police Station and Jail House.
From Artlunga we drove West along the East MacDonell Ranges which, like the West MacDonell Ranges, are truly spectacular. Huge blocks of rock, layered and twisted from years of geological events and weathering form a guard of honour as you drive through the range into Alice Springs. We took a little side trip into Trephina Gorge but as we were running short on time we didn’t do the hour return trek into the gorge but have marked it as somewhere we need to revisit and explore as the campgrounds look great.
Coming back up through Alice, we restocked our provisions of food and beer, then fuel before opening Garry, our Prado, up to the 130km speed limit back to Gemtree.
A lovely meal of roast chook and vegies, followed by a campfire and some rum will see us right until we start our slow trek home tomorrow, first to Uluru (Ayers Rock).