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Lifestyle : Discover Northern Territory Special Report 2013
1HERSA1 D019 Rent a Compact, Intermediate or Full Size car from Budget Northern Territory for 4+ days and get the 4th day FREE of the base rate. Quote coupon TPNZ068 when you book. *Valid for car groups B, C and E only. Subject to availability at the time of rental. Valid at Darwin City and Airport, Alice Springs City and Airport only. Valid for rentals commencing between 14 April and 30 June 2013. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, coupon, promotion including staff, corporate, government or tour rates. Standard Budget Rental Terms and Conditions apply. CT9497B of the base rate DAY TH FREE 4 132727 budget.com.au 1300 799 342 For Pensioner & Senior Card holders further SAVINGS apply. Conditions: New bookings only from 1 APR for travel 1 JUL to 31 OCT. Subject to availability. Savings are based on Adult fares. Twin share Gold Service. Subject to change without notice. Prices correct at time of printing. Call Now for a free brochure Or visit: 537 George St, Sydney Lic No. 2TA5541 RAIL HOLIDAYS GREAT RAIL SALE EXPLORE AUSTRALIA BY RAIL G5910005AA-310313 Uluru to Kakadu Departs every Wednesday for 10 Nights • Air travel, Sydney to Uluru • 5 day Red Centre Way Tour • 1 night in Alice Springs • Town Like Alice Tour • Rail travel on The Ghan, Alice Springs to Darwin • 3 nights in Darwin • 2 day Kakadu and East Alligator River • Air travel, Darwin to Sydney. From $3982 per person twin share SAVE $238 3 Cities and 3 Trains Depart on Thursdays • Rail travel on the XPT, Sydney to Melbourne • 2 nights in Melbourne & Sightseeing • Rail travel on The Overland, Melbourne to Adelaide • 3 nights in Adelaide & Sightseeing • Barossa Valley and Hahndorf Tour • Rail travel on the Indian Pacific, Adelaide to Sydney From $1700 per person twin share SAVE $170 The Ultimate Australian Rail Holiday Departs every Wednesday for 22 Nights • Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth • 4 nights in Perth City Tour • Air travel, Perth to Broome • 4 nights in Broome & Sightseeing • Air travel, Broome to Darwin • 3 nights in Darwin & Sightseeing • Kakadu or Litchfield National Park Tour • The Ghan, Darwin to Adelaide • 3 nights in Adelaide & Sightseeing • Overland Rail, Adelaide to Melbourne • 3 nights in Melbourne • Melbourne City Sights Tour • XPT, Melbourne to Sydney From $7542 per person twin share SAVE $808 The Best of South Australia Depart on Wednesdays • Rail travel on the Indian Pacific, Sydney to Adelaide • 5 nights in Adelaide & Sightseeing • 3 night Murray River Cruise including transfers and touring • Barossa Valley & Hahndorf Tour • 2 day Kangaroo Island Tour including 1 night accommodation • Air travel, Adelaide to Sydney From $2850 per person twin share SAVE $170 Darwin and the Top End Depart on Saturdays • Air travel, Sydney to Darwin • 3 nights in Darwin & Sightseeing • 2 day Kakadu and East Alligator River Tour inc 1 nights accommodation • Rail travel on The Ghan, Darwin to Adelaide • Air travel, Adelaide to Sydney From $3342 per person twin share SAVE $458 19 Northern Territory SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2013 THE SUN-HERALD TRAVEL NORTHERN TERRITORY 100KM 0 N Hermannsburg ULURU-KATA TJUTA NATIONAL PARK ALICE SPRINGS DESERT PARK FINKE GORGE NATIONAL PARK WEST MACDONNELL NATIONAL PARK Simpsons Gap Alice Springs NT SA Gold for Australia: (Clockwise from main) West Macs seen at Glen Helen; children learn about the flora at Alice Springs Desert Park; Palm Valley. Photo: Getty Images garden and museum wrapped in a superbly arid landscape. More than 120 species of animals and 350 species of plants attract the likes of Sir David Attenborough, who filmed a documentary here in 2006. Park highlights include free-flying bird demonstrations and visiting the nocturnal house to see the reptiles and small marsupials that roam through the desert after dark. The Alice Springs Desert Park is open daily, 7.30am-6pm. Entry $25 adults, $12.50 children. alicespringsdesertpark.com.au. The West Macs To the west of Alice Springs rise the breathtakingly beautiful West MacDonnell Ranges (West Macs), where you'll find some of the country's best gorge scenery. From the Alice, head west on Larapinta Drive (also known as the Red Centre Way). The landscape here is all about colour: rich, vibrant and primary red rocks and sand, blue sky, yellow spinifex and purple hills. About 23 kilometres from town is Simpsons Gap, a spectacular cleft in the range. About 40 kilometres further on is Standley Chasm, less than nine metres wide and towering to a height of 80 metres. The best time to see it is at noon, when the sun is directly overhead, lighting the chasm's walls and floor. Another 40 kilometres along is Ellery Creek Big Hole, a beautiful permanent swimming hole surrounded by towering cliffs. Many travellers don't venture this far, even though it is less than 100 kilometres from Alice Springs, so chances are you will have the place to yourself. The water is ice-cold, no matter how hot the day. From Alice Springs, the sealed Simpsons Gap Bike Path is an alternative way to travel. A map is at nretas.nt.gov.au. Entry to all gorges is free except for Standley Chasm, which is on Aboriginal land; entry $10/$6.50. standleychasm.com.au. Glen Helen Gorge The Finke River has carved a path through the sandstone ridges of the West Macs. Glen Helen Gorge, another permanent waterhole, forms part of the river system. It is about 130 kilometres west of Alice Springs on Namatjira Drive, which spears off Larapinta Drive. The gorge is a beautiful spot, especially in the late afternoon when the sun lights its walls and throws reflections onto the inky black water below. Because the water is permanent, the birdlife is prolific and you may see egrets and other wading birds in the shallows. The area's traditional owners believe the gorge is the home of an ancient and powerful Rainbow Serpent so swimming there is off limits. The nearby Glen Helen Resort (glenhelen.com.au) has a bar, restaurant and fabulous views. Across the road is the turn-off to Ormiston Gorge (about 10 kilometres), another beautiful swimming hole. Entry to both gorges is free. travelnt.com. Hermannsburg When travelling through the West Macs, it can sometimes feel as though you have stepped inside the frame of one of Australia's famous landscape paintings. Indeed, the former Lutheran mission Hermannsburg, the birthplace and home of the Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira, is just on the other side of the ranges, 125 kilometres west of Alice Springs. This is Western Aranda country, where travellers can see some of Namatjira's artwork and that of his relatives at a small gallery. Historic buildings open to the public include a school, mess house, manse and quarters for the former missionaries, as well as the church, which is now a museum. You can also visit Namatjira's tiny two-room house, just a few kilometres west of the old mission. The historic Hermannsburg precinct is open daily, 11am-4pm. Entry costs $10/$5. hermannsburg.com.au. Finke Gorge National Park If you have a four-wheel-drive and are up for some adventure, this beautiful but remote national park, 138 kilometres west of Alice Springs via Hermannsburg, is home to Palm Valley, an oasis-like pocket of about 3000 red cabbage palm trees. The last 16 kilometres of the drive to Finke Gorge follows the sandy bed of the usually dry Finke River, which means it may be inaccessible after heavy rains. It is for experienced four-wheel-drivers only, with high- clearance vehicles. One of the region's best lookouts is here, as is the Mpaara Walk. Park at the Kalarranga car park and walk the Mpaara for its view of an ancient rock amphitheatre -- and for the storyboards built along the way, which introduce travellers to Arrernte legends. The walk takes about two hours return. The Kalarranga Lookout walk takes about 45 minutes return. In nearby Palm Valley, you can walk among stands of palm trees and cycads on the two-hour Mpulungkinya Walk or the one-hour Arankaia Walk. Entry to the national park is free.
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