It seems there is a lot of rivalry between the various states in Australia - the people of western Australia were most derogatory about the Northern Territory:
" Alice Springs - why on Earth would ya wanna go there?" they asked. "It's all just red dirt." We have encountered similar hostilities from the people of the Northern Territory towards those of say Sydney, who said things like, "Sydney, it's awful. Just like London - overpopulated and overrated. Now, where are you two from...?" Hmmm, London actually. Awkward silences all round...
To be honest, they weren't far wrong. Alice Springs IS surrounded by red dirt. Wolf Creek is just down the road. Proper outback. It's also home to the Macdonnell Ranges (mountains), is the springboard for tours to Uluru and King's Canyon and is home to a large population of Aboriginal people.Oh, and it's pretty dangerous, with a high crime rate, especially at night, when you are advised to take a taxi everywhere. It was a tad unnerving to see uniformed police taking crime reports at our hostel most evenings.
Our hostel wasn't luxurious, but it was functional, with 2 swimming pools and air-con in the room which was an absolute neccessity in the 40-plus degree heat. It turned out there had been a mistake with our booking,so the receptionist gave us a toothy grin and said she'd upgrade us to the Deluxe Suite. There we were, thinking Lady Luck was on our side, until she gave us the key and we let ourselves into the "suite", which turned out to be a normal room but with a set of bunkbeds in the corner, presumably for when the honeymooners visiting Alice Springs want to bring their 2 kids along??
We spent a few days lying by the pool, our retinas burning as we attempted to read our books in the dazzling sunshine and having to cool off in the pool every 20 minutes or so. Even the breeze was boiling - it felt like someone was blasting you with the hottest setting on a hairdryer about an inch away from your body. However our 30+ sunscreen was a force to be reckoned with and we managed to escape with only minor burns. By the time we get home we're gonna look like the old bird in "There's something about Mary". You know the one, skin like an old handbag and a puckered mouth like a cat's arse.
After a few days chillaxing we started to get antsy, so did what anyone would do when it's 45 degrees outside...we visited the Desert National Park. After only an hour or two of exploring we were literally crawling through the desert towards the cafe, hoping it wasn't just a mirage.It was an interesting day, talking to Aboriginal guides about their traditions and ancestors, but the heat meant we had the attention span of a goldfish and were itching to get back by the pool.
There wasn't much else going on in Alice, apart from being accosted by Aborigines hanging off the security gates of the hostel trying to cadge cigarettes and alcohol (I swear they could hear a ring pull on a can of beer from a few kilometres away..must be all that hunting and stuff..) so by the time it was the day of our flight to Melbourne we were going stir-crazy, desperate for a big night out...