A glorious day awaited. The birds were going crazy this morning, singing in the tree above our tent and flying in from the gap in the Ranges just behind us. I went for a quick walk with Charlie whilst it was still cool and we spotted a few new kinds that I’d never seen before. The Big4 Macdonnell Ranges Caravan Park is expensive but worth it for the facilities when you have kids. With a number of pools, a waterslide, games room, go-karts, jumping pillows, playground and activities on every night, to me it was worth it at $48 per night for an unpowered site, to give the kids a little bit of ‘luxury’ and entertainment. The boys went on the jumping pillows while I did a massive load of laundry. Just because you’re camping, doesn’t mean the laundry stops. Sheets and towels today as well. The forecast was set to be early 30s so it was a great day for it. Everyone had the same idea of course, but I managed to sneak the last free washer. I came back only a couple of minutes after it finished and about five women jumped on me. ‘There she is!! We weren’t sure whether to unload your laundry or not…’ Crikey. Patience ladies. I unloaded and backed out slowly. Not going to mess with the laundry ladies!
We headed off to the cultural precinct to do our ‘schooling’ for the day. While we waited for the Museum of Central Australia to open, we noticed the hangar open for the Aviation Museum. It was a great little exhibition, especially seeing the remains of the Kookaburra and reading the story about the lost men who went to search for Kingsford-Smith and Ulm when they went missing in the desert. The Kookaburra and its pilots were lost unfortunately, but the Southern Cross pilots were found unscathed. Interesting stuff. The Museum opened - cost a little to get in, whereas the Aviation Museum was free - and the kids wandered around. A lot of it was the same sort of stuff but locally based of course. Geology, taxidermy, skeleton models. Both Charlie and I sat down to watch the Films of TSH Strehlow, and were both fascinated. Charlie even said he would have to buy the film so he can watch the rest. Ted Strehlow spent his childhood growing up with the Arrente people and once he had his degree at Oxford, came back to live with them and recorded their testimonies and culture for most of his life. What a fascinating man. I loved that he kept diaries, both of his personal life and of his life’s work. There is a research centre at the museum that you can get access to with special permission through an application. He must have some amazing tales to tell. His father was also an interesting man who, with his wife, came out as a Lutheran missionary, and gradually over time, he fell in love with the Aboriginal way of life and although the two cultures contradicted each other at times, he accepted the Arrente and he developed close bonds with various individuals.
Knowing we were going to be on the road for a few days in a row, we did a quick food shop and went back to enjoy a leisurely afternoon at the caravan park. We spent most of the afternoon in the pool, with the boys going on the waterslides over and over and over, never seeming to tire from it. They rented go-karts for an hour, and then went back in the pool. We made dinner and then had strawberry treats from ‘Strawberries Galore’ or the ‘Strawberry Man’ as the ladies behind the desk at reception call him. Every evening in peak season, from 5-9pm, glorious strawberry treats are available. I recommend the ‘Volcano’. Yoghurt, cream, icecream, and strawberries, in aheaped serving, all covered in a four berry sauce which is divine. I thought I had better have something amazingly delicious so I would have something to write about. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Love, from the sweet tooth.