Living Next Door to Alice - Smokie

After a morning of repacking, refueling and restocking we headed out to the public weighbridge to pop a fully loaded Hillary on the scales.  Seems Hillary needs to shed just a few kilograms to have her BMI within the normal range. 

Hillary along with her new traveling companion, Patrolie, led us into the West MacDonnell Ranges.

The West MacDonnell National Park stretches for 161km west of Alice.

The information centre at our first stop Simpson's Gap was not very informative with the ranger ignoring our knocks on the door. Seems Rangers are the same all over.  Luckily we were resourceful and had various guidebooks and printouts to inform us of the various park features. 

We were keen to swim in the various gorges despite warnings that most swimming holes were extremely cold and prolonged exposure could result in hypothermia. Also we were keen to spot the long tailed Dunnat, a rare species of a rat-Bilby-thingy found in the park.  

Our lunch spot was along the Hugh River, a dry riverbed.  After lunch (yes we waited an hour after eating before swimming) we had a swim in Ellery Creek Big Hole. The warnings were correct and the water was fairly refreshing.

Ellery Creek Big Hole

Ellery Creek Big Hole

Serpentine Gorge

Serpentine Gorge

A short drive up a dirt track led us past the demolished Serpentine Chalet and to an awesome campsite complete with metal fire pit and nice flat areas.  We set up camp, had an evening wander up the hill amongst the Spinifex and watched the sunset. 

Jaks having a terrible time watching the sunset.

Jaks having a terrible time watching the sunset.

Ronny getting jiggy with the Spinifex.

Ronny getting jiggy with the Spinifex.

R & R cooked us a yummy chicken curry for dinner in their new camp oven.

Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry

Dinner was followed by toasted marshmallows and the billy blackening ceremony. 

Billy Blackening Ceremony

Billy Blackening Ceremony

Our first really quiet night for a long time.

Serpentine Chalet Camp

Serpentine Chalet Camp