Friday, May 29, 2015

Alice Springs to Wycliffe Well 20 May

Wycliffe Well is about a 5 hour drive north of Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway. There is very little of interest in this part of the highway except for the Tropic of Capricorn marker.
The Tropic of Capricorn Marker

We stopped at Aileron roadhouse for a coffee. It is a place with a confused identity. According to the owner it acquired its name when the original station was broken up. The Afghan cameleers used to bring early plane parts in their loads, as the Ghan stopped at Alice Springs. Apparently an aileron was found on the site, dropped by mistake.

The owner has also created what he calls his “garden gnomes”, 2 large black statues, a man with a spear on the hill and a woman near the road. The roadhouse also has a gallery of Namatjira copyist paintings, a history of the area and a bar called “Glen Maggie” which is the name of the original station. However he has an aversion to people using polite words to ask for the toilet, such as bathroom, rest room, convenience etc. He has a skeleton holding a large sign saying “Shithouse”

Aileron was the only bright spot on the journey. We stopped at Barrow Creek to eat our lunch. The area around the roadhouse was filthy and depressing, so our visit was short.
A flattering view of Barrow Creek Roadhouse
We stopped at the John McDouall Stuart Marker for Central Mount Stuart which he reached in 1860. He believed it to be the geographic centre of Australia.
Central Mount Stuart Monument

Central Mount Stuart, a rather generous description of a hill

Our overnight stop was at Wycliffe Well Caravan Park which was lovely. It caters well for tourists and promotes itself as the UFO capital of Australia. We could buy a two for the price of one dinner. A couple of singers entertained us as well, but they didn’t cause us to linger. The park has a swimming pool and also a TV room decorated with magnificent murals of the natural wonders of Central Australia.
Murals promoting the UFO Capital

Above and below: Murals in the games room depicting scenes from Central Australia

Tomorrow night the plan is to stay at Banka Banka, a historic property about 100km north of Tennant Creek. 

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