We got up early the next morning (November 11th) to catch our flight from Melbourne to Alice Springs.
[Breakfast at the airport]
To be honest, the Outback was one of the things I was the most excited about! I love the desert!
[They don't call it the "Red Center" for no reason!]
We landed in Alice Springs and hopped on a bus that took us to our hotel, Chifley Alice Springs Resort, where we stayed in a deluxe rivergum room.
[View from our balcony]
We had a few hours to kill before our tour started so we got some lunch at the hotel and relaxed in the lobby. I thought it would be fun to go walk around the town but it was 106 degrees outside so we decided it would be a better idea to stay inside!
While we were waiting for our tour to start I started researching Alice Springs. I found that there was a kangaroo park there where you can go and pet kangaroos! I was a little sad that we weren't going to do that because I really wanted to see kangaroos and I was upset that we had been in Australia for three whole days and I had not seen one yet!
The coach showed up and took us to the School of the Air. I honestly had no idea what this was. School of the Air? So like airplane school?
Nope! Not at all!
Australia is huge and the population is ~22 million. Most of the people live in the cities on the coast but there are a lot of people that live in the Outback. These people are very isolated. They may live on a large ranch or in an Aboriginal community and since they are so far away from civilization they are not able to attend school. So the School of the Air was born! This is a school that caters to kids that can't go to school in the city. The school sends the kids their books and then the kids log into the computers and video chat with their teachers and other kids.
I had no idea this even existed! I guess I never really thought about it. The visitor center was very informative and we even got to watch a class!
After the school we jumped back on the coach and went to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station. On the way there I spotted some kangaroos sitting under a tree. Our driver said we would stop on the way back and get pictures if they were still there.
Alice Springs is the dead center of Australia. The DEAD CENTER! This means it is far from everywhere but it is the perfect spot for a telegraph station. The site was pretty interesting but it was SO HOT!
When the first explorers arrived in Alice Springs they noticed that there was a lot of water which was in a whirlpool. They thought that it was a spring so they named it Alice Spring. Turns out that it had just rained and the water quickly dissipated.
On our way to our next site we stopped and took pictures of the kangaroos that I had spotted on the way to the telegraph station! They are so cute!
Our next stop was the Royal Flying Doctor Service center. Here we learned about the Doctor Service which is available to the people who are secluded in the Outback (much like the School of the Air).
The Doctor Service is still functioning and it saves hundreds of lives every year.
Our next stop was the Reptile Center which was so awesome! Australia is home to 20 of the 25 most venomous snakes in the world. It is also home to a lot of different reptiles.
[Baby crocodile - this reminds me of Jurassic Park]
[A huge crocodile]
We wondered around the center looking at different animals and taking pictures then we all gathered for a demonstration. The guy told us about the snakes and lizards and then he showed us the crocodile. Josh and I apparently both really liked this stop since we both took a ton of pictures! My favorites were the thorny devils and the goanna's but I do love snakes the most :-)
Our last stop was Anzac Hill. For Remembrance Day the hill was decorated with red poppies. From here we had a great view of the city.
After Anzac Hill, the coach took us back to the hotel. We knew we had to be up early the next day so we just wondered across the street, found a local bar, ate quickly, and came back to pack and go to bed.