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Central Australia adventure (continued)

Alice town centre

Back in "Alice", Adelaide House (located in Todd Mall) is Alice's first hospital site (designed by Reverend Flynn). There is a steep ramp but possible to negotiate, adjacent to Flynn Church (also designed by Flynn) where you can enjoy cups of tea and local chat for a wee fee, again mobs of info.

In the church itself is Traeger pedal wireless and so on. If you recall Flynn and Traeger were colleagues, who had a particular interest in opening up the outback and providing the much needed mantle of safety for bush folk.

Other options to explore are the Women's Hall of Fame situated in the Old Court House, Old Stuart Town Goal, Royal Flying Doctors, and Anzac Hill to name a few.

Be mindful that many attractions are fully accessible while others have degrees of accessibility.

When in "Alice" opportunity to experience Aboriginal art and culture is plentiful. There are excellent galleries and works by recognised artists.

Visit the Aboriginal Art & Culture Centre, view the living history museum, featuring a display of local Arrente culture including a large range of historic photographs and exhibits. Learn to play the didgeridoo at the Didgeridoo University, see a traditional sand painting and other 30 major art works.

Undertake an Aboriginal Desert Discovery Tour. Transport is problematic with some of these tours.  Some companies will offer to assist you in transfering into vehicles if lifting is required  or, depending on your level of independent mobility, you may be able to transfer on your own. These tours are difficult or impossible for power drive wheelchairs and/or scooters.

To help tourists with decision making and offering a brief insight into what is in town, close to town or further away, there is an excellent free publication "Welcome to Central Australia" (available at all accommodation outlets and businesses).  This booklet is informative and up to date.  If you would like to receive a copy prior to your departure this can be arranged by contacting the Disability Services and Liaison Office:

Telephone (08) 89515177 or (08) 89515248.
Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm.

"Alice" night life

Nightlife in the "Alice" is limited.

There is a fully accessible Casino (Lasseter's) with good toilet facilities, row's of pokies, gambling tables, keno, formal and informal dining. A good night out.

There are many top quality restaurants often supported by a show with a Territory flavour. Prices range from reasonable ($12.00 main meal) to expensive.

A range of takeaways food outlets plus delivery can be ordered.

Night Club life, SGB (Simpson's Gap Bar at the Rydges Plaza), stay's open to around 3.00pm and Bojangles in the CBD on Todd Street is open till early hours.

The cinema complex has accessible theatres and screens all the latest movies.

A night out to the Sounds of Starlight Theatre is not to be missed. The theatre presents a musical journey of didgeridoo and other instruments through the ancient landforms, history, light and space of Australia's heartland, enriched with photographic images and special effects. The theatre is located in Todd Mall (next to the Sails) and the entrance has a step of approx five inches on the old scale. It is believed that a portable ramp is to be soon installed for visitor convenience.

The Araluen Art Theatre within the Cultural Precinct has live shows, especially during winter if you're lucky enough to be here during this time. Access to theatre and loo's very good, reasonable prices in comparison to interstate. When booking for wheelies ask for G row as these seats are removable.

Annual antics in the Alice

Snapshots from Camel Cup and Henly-on-Todd races.

Activities and events include:

National Trust Heritage Festival, Bangtail Muster (May), Finke Desert Race (June), Alice Springs Show (early July), Camel Cup (July), Alice Springs Rodeo (August), Henley-on-Todd Regatta (first Saturday in October).

Every second year Alice hosts the Honda Masters Games, known as the Friendly Games. Sports people of all sizes and ages come from all parts of Australia and beyond to enjoy their particular sporting activities, to have fun and let their hair down (providing of course if they have hair). The Town virtually buzzes from dawn to dusk with many headaches following a good night's carousing on the town.

Corkwood Festival (November) is a celebration of locally produced art/craft, music, entertainment and food eagerly looked forward to by locals and visitors alike.

All of these events are great fun and conducted with high spirits and plenty of humour.

Accommodation

There are a variety of accessible accommodation options available, from "excellent" to "not so good" ratings.  These can be found in the CBD as well as a little further out of town.  Features include good bathroom facilities with shower and grab rails for toilet, basin at right height, environmental controls predominantly by the bedside.

The YHA hostel in the Centre of town also has accessible facilities, as do several backpacker lodges for the more able.

I would urge you to check out the Alice Springs Town Council's web site for further details

Outback ballooning, early morning.

Weather considerations

Bloody hot in summer, drinking water a plenty, is essential, dehydration can be a real issue. Don't forget "slip, slop, slap" and wear a hat at all times for safety. Most places and vehicles are air conditioned for personal comfort.

Bloody cold in winter, winter woollies definitely required. The onion layered look for dressing is advisable, so one can peel off unwanted garments if temperatures rise.

Make sure you bring sufficient medication with some to spare (just in case).  This includes personal requirements for your health and hygiene. Don't be caught unprepared, be responsible.

For oxygen dependent persons, cylinders of oxygen are available and can be purchased. Any paperwork in relation to this issue, please bring with you to ensure prompt service. Again, it is advisable that you contact the Co-ordinator of Disability Services & Liaison to guarantee your specific needs are met.

Miscellaneous

Keep in mind always that early booking is essential to avoid disappointment, this applies to accommodation, tours, special need equipment etc.

A set of portable hand controls for automatic cars are available for loan from the Disability Services & Liaison Office

Fitting of hand controls can also be arranged. It is advised that you contact the office at least four (4) weeks in advance and of course prior to travel.

Shopping centres and specialty shops including art outlets are in general, accessible although keep in mind that some are not and inconveniently have one step that leaves people on the outside of retail therapy instead of spending their dollar on the inside.

The hospital is centrally located close to the CBD and several GPS situated in the town area have accessible surgery's and are available for after hour house calls.

Personal care can be arranged if plenty of notice is given. It is always advisable to the Disability Services & Liaison Office at least four (4) weeks prior to arrival if special requirements are needed.  Equipment hire is limited though we do our utmost to oblige. There is no lifting hoist available for loan or hire in Alice Springs.

The Disability Services and Liaison Office situated at Eurilpa House in the Todd Mall, has for loan, a six foot portable DEPAC fibreglass ramp and a smaller version with a carry bag, ideal for those inaccessible moments.

A commode shower chair (no wheels) is available, as well as a manual wheelchair.

A small donation may be required to guarantee safe return of the equipment item and to maintain the state of the equipment.

In conclusion

For the avid rev head the Transport Hall of Fame is only a short distance from town. A variety of fabulous old vintage and veteran cars, trucks, and displays, makes for an appreciation of current day modes of transport. Not a horse to be seen, but plenty of horsepower.

The Old Ghan Train used to run from this spot which is evident by the many old steam trains and memorabilia littered around the quaint old station next to the Transport Hall of Fame.

Memories of your trip will be of brilliant night skies, million star restaurants, stark beauty and vivid blue skies of the Centre, these will never be erased from your mind and will live forever.

Please note that all information is not exhaustive, there is mobs more to see and do!! Camel riding, gem hunting, belly dancing at the Turkish Restaurant to name a few.

This article is a taster only.

As the TV says though, "you will never, never know, if you never, never go".

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