The Red Centre – James Allan

This year Frances and I dragged the van up to Alice Springs and back.  It’s not an overseas holiday.  In fact as far from the sea as you can get.  Someone commented that they had no interest in going to Central Australia after seeing endless slide shows of relatives heading up north.  I don’t feel that way.  I am quite excited by our central deserts.  This is a Small collection of my photos from this trip.  Hopefully It might inspire you.

The castle (2)

The Breakaways near Coober Pedy.  You can’t complain about the sheer audacity of Mother nature putting all of this colour together.  They say you should choose the golden hour for landscapes, yet this is close to midday.  I climbed to the top of that chocolate brown rise in the foreground.  Panorama stitched in Photoshop.


WTE is the term.  We stopped dozens of times on the road side to look at Wedgies gathered around road kill.  Eventually they get irritated and fly off.

Shady tree.jpg

After driving through miles of salt bush, blue bush, gibber and generally flat land, it is nice to stop in some red sand hills and mulga scrub land.  The trees have an expansive symmetry.  All you need are some bull ants and you have a Pro Hart painting.

A big Shadow

There are lots of options for enjoying Uluru (the rock) without climbing it.  The early morning viewing area allows you to sit in the sand hills with the birds watching the deep purple shadows being drawn back like curtains from the  red and orange stripped surface.  There is also an attractive 10km walk around the base.

Lengthening shadows-1

This is the Evening Viewing area for the Ulgas (Kata Juta)  As we had evening drinks the splendid fairy wrens were fossicking among the grasses.  You can see another party of travelers waiting for the sunset on the distance.

Port Lincoln Parrot

The black headed variety of the Australian ring neck parrot.  (also known as the Port Lincoln Parrot) There were a pair roosting in scrub near to our van at Kings Canyon station.

Kings Canyon.jpg

A panorama of Kings Canyon from the cliff top.  It’s a long drop to oblivion.  On the left you can see the beehive mounds that occupy the top of the plateau.  The walk takes you through the garden of Eden (a secluded gully at the top of the gorge) and back along the top of the cliff on the left hand side.

Landing in desert oaks.jpg

Large flocks of 50 or more red tailed black cockatoos would fly across the landscape in the mornings and evenings.

Weathered Rock.jpg

A close up of the weathered rock walls show that it is a light sandstone with variable degrees of tinting as the iron particles oxidise with exposure to the weather..

White winged wren 2.jpg

This is the white winged fairy wren.

Caper White in the erymophila.jpg

and a Caper white butterfly enjoying the nectar of an erymophila flower.

The end of the day

The Glen Helen waterhole in the West Macdonnell ranges.  Apparently you swim through the gorge to do the walk along the Finke river to all of the features on the other side.  I couldn’t go any further than knee deep it was so cold.  So much for the features.

Rock Skink.jpg

A rather pale spiny tailed skink in the Desert reptile park.  Check out the cool zig zag ear coverets.

Chambers 1

We drove a whole day through sandhill country to get to Chambers Pillar South of Alice Springs (and back again).  We didn’t get home until after dark.  Many of the other travelers were setting up camp for the night as we headed home.

From the Pillar.jpg

From the base of the pillar you can see other rock formation in this desert landscape.  In the distance are the endless red sand hills of the Simpson desert.  The early surveyors have en-carved their names in the soft sandstone interestingly in a Times Roman font.


In the desert park (Alice Springs) they host a flying bird display, including the aerial acrobatics of the Australasian Hobby, a smaller cousin to the Peregrine Falcon.  At 240km/hr (in a dive) it demands a lot of your camera shutter speed.

Backlit Black Footed Rock Wallaby

At the Olive Pink Botanical gardens we had coffee among the Bower Birds and Butcher Birds.  An early morning hike to the top of the rocky outcrop rewards you with views of the sunrise over the gap and a bevy of the delicate black footed rock wallabies.

Patterns at Lake Hart.jpg

A popular overnight spot on the road home is the rest stop on the shores of Lake Hart.   This is a salt lake.   Actually the lake is a 20 minute walk from the rest area, including a walk through some gorgeous red sand hills and a crossing over the Gahn railway line.  We saw Major Mitchell Cockatoos in the vegetation as we headed off on the last day of our holiday.

There was so much more that I haven’t included.  Now you have to agree.  There’s nothing boring about central Australia..