On Friday, we had a wine tasting tour scheduled. However, first we had a stop a Grant’s Reserve Bird Feeding and a ride on the Puffing Billy Train. The reserve was located in the middle of a wooded area. As you can see, the trees grow big here.
Notice how white the trees are. At night, they reflect the moonlight and act as light. Also, because they are so tall and straight, they are ideal for ship building. Because we were at a bird reserve, there were birds perched in the trees.
While we were there we had a chance to feed the birds. We were warned that they were heavier than they looked. They also had sharp claws so we were told to be careful.
Yes, we had to have a good grip on the food dish because these guys were heavy and hungry.
After we left the reserve we headed for a ride on Puffing Billy. Billy is a stream train.
The neat thing about the ride was that if we wanted to we could sit on the window ledge with our legs dangling over the side of the train. Of course, this is where I sat. The only problem was that there is more of me than there is ledge. and yes, soot kept flying back to land on my khaki slacks. Minor inconvenience.
After we had lunch at the Fergusson Winery. The food was delicious and they had a really good moscato. We then went to De Bortoli’s for more wine tasting. I admit that this was a bit too much wine in too short a time for me.
After this it was back to the hotel. Because we weren’t too hungry after the lunch and wine we had we thought we would just hit the market across the street and get some soup to take back to our room.
The next morning we left the hotel at 7:00 to head to the airport for our flight to Alice Springs, a 3 hour flight.
As you can see from the map, Alice Springs is in the center of the country, the Outback region. It is also a desert region, so although we needed heavy coats in Melbourne short sleeve shirts were fine for this region.
We arrived around noon, so before heading to our hotel we made two stops. Our first stop was the School of the Air. I admit that I didn’t exactly what this would be. I thought it was a flight instruction academy. I was wrong. Because the Outback is so vast and people living there are so spread out there is no way children can attend a brick and mortar school so each student is given a laptop and log on to school. The School of the Air has several studio classrooms where teachers broadcast lessons.
Students usually come together twice a year for a fun day where they get to met their classmates and the teachers.
Here are some projects students put together.
This next picture has nothing to do with the school but I couldn’t resist taking it. As we left the building we looked up into a tree and saw a golden spider. All I can say is that I am glad I don’t have these in my house.
To finish this post quickly, tow other places we visited were Telegraph Station which is one of the first means of communication in the Outback. In PA we have signs warning about deer along the highways. There they had different kinds of signs.
And yes, we did see a wallaby roaming around.
Our bus driver was also a didgeridoo player so he entertained us while we had a bit of lunch.
The last place we visited was the Royal Flying Doctors. Again, because people are so spread our if medical assistance is needed the doctors flew to the patients on a fully equipped plane.
Next week the highlight of our trip to Alice Springs – Kata Tjuṯa and Uluru.