April 18: Alice Springs
At last, with the greatest expectation, we will head to Alice Springs in Northern Territory. Mr. Hambidge helped us by arranging the tour as well, thank you very much.

From Adelaide to Alice Springs, it takes about two hour by air, spanning 1,316 Km. Within 30 minutes or so after take-off, an Ansett plane flies over the desert-like red colored land.
"Dry, sun-baked red land" had been our first image of the area. What was surprised, it rained! Passengers needed umbrellas to walk to the terminal building.

Passing through the rain, we entered the terminal and welcomed by a sign like this. We bought two pieces of round trip ticket of the shuttle bus and got on it. Our cases were loaded on a cargo box towed by the shuttle.
The shuttle bus runs through the road with eucalyptus tree-lined highway. Unexpectedly, the land is covered with thick green, not dry-up red soil.

On the way to the City, we passed a large four-tank truck just like a train. The highway partially runs parallel to a railroad from Adelaide to Alice Springs.

The city is located nearly in the center of Australian Continent with the population of about 25,000. It is an oasis surrounded with desolate plain. Our hotel is Fortland Diplomat Hotel in the center of the downtown.
There are restaurants, bar, dinning room, heated pool, and other facilities surrounded with thick green forest. Bougainvillea is in full bloom just in front of the room. Nobody sits on the terrace or swimming in the pool, the rain stopped everything.

I wish the rain would stop tomorrow, because we are scheduled to enjoy "Camel to Dinner" tour in which we can ride on camels and enjoy dinner in the sunset.
Far from being a clear sky, the rain is getting heavier in the next morning. We are so disappointed. We have to pull ourselves together and plan the second thought. We decided to enjoy breakfast anyway.
The first visit is Panorama Guth, next door to the hotel. The museum features its full 360 degree panoramic painting by Dutch artist Henk Guth measuring 60 meters in circumference by 6 meters high, depicting many of the scenic attractions of the Central Australia. Guth has been living and painting here in Alice Springs since 1996.

Ayer's rock, gum trees, and red plain are realistically painted on the circulating wall. Aboriginal living tools are also displayed in the museum.