We’d arrived to Alice Springs and the end of our exploration of this enormous country’s red heart. True, we’d only scratched the surface, only had time for a brief flavour of the extraordinary landscapes, but we’d still a lot more to see and do. We had time for a peremptory examination of Alice Springs, a town I’d hitherto mainly associated with the Nevil Shute novel, ‘A Town Like Alice’ and film of the same.
Modern Alice is a pleasing place with a hint of wild west about it and enough shops, bars and restaurants to satisfy passing tourists. I still have [and wear] the rust coloured safari shirt patterned with Australian wildlife that I bought there. By now we’d passed a substantial part of the UK autumn in the southern hemisphere- their spring, and Christmas was not too far ahead, would be upon us once we got back home. But there was little in Alice to herald the event, and it was hot, although by this time we were well acclimatised.
We had a domestic flight arranged for Adelaide, where we were to spend a couple of nights before picking up the next [and final] van for our trip along the south coast. Our hotel in central Adelaide was swanky indeed, the room uber modern with one of those glass bathrooms in the centre that leaves you exposed to your room-mate whatever activity you may be engaged in. Hmmm…
Unlike Alice, Adelaide had moved into full Christmas mode, our hotel foyer bedecked with decorations and Christmas trees and across the street, a department store entrance bore a sleigh complete with reindeer and Santa Claus. And all of this in sweltering heat, the tinsel glinting in sunshine as the air wobbled above the pavements. I suppose anyone who has grown up in what to us is a topsy-turvy climate is accustomed to snowy scenes in stifling temperatures, but it felt incongruous to me.
Adelaide itself I considered to be an elegant, beautifully laid out town with attractive parks and wide avenues. It also seemed to be a bit of a party central, the restaurants and bars not short of revellers of various kinds.
All too soon it was time to leave and to collect our third van of the trip, which was to take us along the famous South Coast Highway and a spectacular coastline, if the guide books were to be believed. There were to be more sights and experiences before our arrival to Melbourne, but best of all, if all went well I’d get to meet up with someone I hadn’t seen since childhood!
Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Deans. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is now out and available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my website: janedeans.com or my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook.