There’s great excitement in town – after all that rain the previous day the Todd River was flowing. That doesn’t happen very often so we walked up the road to see what all the excitement was about. And sure enough, the muddy brown water was flowing across the ford.
The usually dry Todd River\
There were cars everywhere, driving across the ford and having a fine old time. The locals had come out to play. There were 4WDs, cars, a caravan or two, people on bikes, and pedestrians, all having fun in the water.
Play time in Alice Springs
On our walk back to the hotel we noticed that there was a vast array of solar panels on the roof. That’s certainly taking advantage of Mother Nature’s bounty.
Solar panels on the hotel roof
In the early afternoon we boarded the AAT Kings bus for our “Town Like Alice” tour. And we found out that there are no springs in Alice Springs – that was a surprise, no one had ever mentioned that before. Our first stop on the tour was the School of the Air, which runs the largest classroom in the world. First established in 1951, the service provides education to primary aged school children in remote locations originally using radio equipment. These days the equipment is much more high-tech and uses satellite internet services. A team of 10 teachers prepare and send out the lessons from this building.
Old style radios used
These days the teachers are linked by the internet and film their lessons here
Our next stop on the tour was the Alice Springs Telegraph Station. Alice Springs began as a repeater station along the Overland Telegraph Line. Built in 1872 to relay messages between Darwin and Adelaide, the historic station was the site of the first European settlement in Alice Springs. But……… as I got to exit the bus, I felt something “pop” at the back of my knee and I could hardly walk. Robin had a quick look around with the rest of the group, before returning to see how I was getting on.
The famous Royal Flying Doctor Service was next on the list. The aim was to deliver medical services to those living in remote parts of the country. Originally the planes used were rented, but now the service owns 63 of their own aircraft. I hobbled inside the theatre and we all enjoyed a hologram explaining the history of the service.
Entrance to the Visitors Centre
Pilatus PC-12 is the main aircraft used these days
By this stage my knee was getting more painful, and certainly needed checking out. We decided to forgo the remainder of the tour, including a trip up Anzac Hill, something we had really been looking forward to. Our driver took the others to the next stop, the Reptile Centre, and kindly drove us to the Alice Springs Hospital.
Hobbling up the hospital steps, we were processed quite quickly, forms were filled in, and I was given a card with my hospital number. Also in the Emergency waiting room were two armed policemen, a necessary presence at the hospital it seems. One of the staff found me a wheelchair, and before too long I was wheeled in to see a doctor. So what had I done to my knee? Not a torn ligament or tendon as I had thought. I had ruptured a Baker’s Cyst behind my knee when I was twisting my legs to get out of my seat on the bus. No, we had never heard of that either.
Waiting to be seen at the hospital
Treatment is rest, elevation, painkillers, an elastic bandage, and gentle exercise, and my knee should slowly improve. And luckily for us, Kiwis get reciprocal hospital care with Australia so no charge was made. We are boarding the Ghan to continue our journey up to Darwin tomorrow, so I should be able to rest my knee for the next couple of days.