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Home > Travelogues > 2008 Travelogues Index > Alice Springs Desert Park
Alice Springs 2008.  We start with a visit to the Desert Park and see birds, reptiles and habitats.  Next day we visit a reptile centre in the town. 
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Alice Springs is a town well provided with shops and services and people in the businesses we shopped at were exceptionally helpful and customer focused andwith much of interest to tourists both within the town and the surrounding area.  See more from our return visit to Alice Springs the following year.

The Desert Park

Much of the time the weather was cold.  We had expected some cold August nights, but did not expect the icy cold wind which persisted most days of our stay. 

We were based at a quaint but homely old caravan park in a scenic and quiet location a little out of town while we took time out to relax, do maintenance and tour around the Alice.  Wallabies and kangaroos came out of the hills to graze the lawns, and birdlife was abundant in this friendly park.  We enjoyed our stay at Temple Bar Caravan Park on Ilparpa Road.  There has been upgrading of amentities since our visit. 

Talks are given at set locations and a time table can be obtained on entry.  Audio guides are available free to all visitors. The recorded guides with headphones are available in English, German, Japanese and French, and numbered features around the park enable you to select the right information.

Not far from town to the west along Larapinta Drive is the Desert Park, run by the Parks and Wildlife Service on the Northern Territory. It is easy to spend a whole day in the well set out park, with displays of flora and fauna. 

The Birds of Prey talk is amazing.  While the ranger gives a talk, raptor birds are released at strategic moments to fly freely around her.  Here a black falcon can be seen flying above the ranger.  A buzzard demonstrated its skill at cracking an egg, by dropping a stone onto it until it broke. 

Many different reptiles are displayed in the nocturnal house under minimal lighting.  Although a number of these are diurnal, they are also included in the nocturnal house displays. 

The shadow of the Whistling Kite can be seen between the audience and the ranger

Other birds featured included brown falcon, whistling kite, magpie, pied butcher bird and an owl.

The mulga snake inhabits much of Australia, from monsoon forests to the sandy deserts, with only the southernmost areas of the mainland and Tasmania being outside of its range.  Reaching to over three metres in length, the venomous and dangerous mulga snake is commonly called the “king brown”, although it is a member of the black snake family, a fact that is important should antivenom be required to treat a bite from this snake.  The mulga snake can be found in a number of colour variations.  

Here we can see a skink, a spotted dragon lizard, a thorny devil and a mulga snake.  Reptiles are one of the few fauna groups which have adapted to a changing environment. 

A number of species of animals that have become extinct in the area or are endangered, such as the western quoll, mala and the bilby are on display. 

Alice Springs Reptile Centre

Pictured here are a pair of masked wood swallows and a pair of budgerigars.

 

There are three open air habitats in the park, being woodland, sand country and desert rivers.  Each of these has walk through aviaries, animals and plants typical of the area on display, with information sheets to identify the flora and fauna being viewed. 

More than 100 reptiles from over 30 species are on display, including a pair of Perenties and a saltwater crocodile which can be viewed through a glass wall. 

The Alice Springs Reptile Centre is a privately run collection of reptiles located conveniently near the town centre and adjacent to other tourism features such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame. 

Talks are given three times per day, with the chance to have hands on experience with goannas, lizards and an olive python. Children are encouraged to participate. 

Other reptiles on display included the following:

Mesosaurs are the earliest reptiles known to have permanently returned to the water.  These fossils have only been found in South America and South Africa.  This specimen was found in Brazil.  It is dated as having lived in the Permian Period, which was approximately 286 to 248 million years ago. 

There is also a fossil display with casts principally representing reptilian history from around the world. 

Netted Dragon

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Frilled Lizard

Central Carpet Python

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Desert goannas
A large Perentie.  These are the largest monitor lizards found in Australia and the fourth largest lizards in the world. 
This lone crocodile can be viewed through the wall of his large glass tank.
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We visit the Alice Springs Desert Park, the Reptile Centre, National Road Transport Hall of Fame, the Old Ghan Heritage Railways and Musuem, the Old Telegraph Station and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
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