Day 10 - Alice Springs to Itirkawara (Chambers Pillar)
Sun 23 Aug 2015
Our family and friends got an early start as they were flying home today and we weren’t far behind them. We’re heading toward Itirkawara (Chambers Pillar) on the second half of our trip. After leaving Alice Springs at 8.00 am we arrived at Itirkawara 4 ½ hrs later even though it was only 140 kms away. Along the way we called in at the Ewaninga Rock Carvings. These engravings are petro glyphs which have great meaning to the Arrernte people. They are worth looking at.
As soon as we hopped out the car and all along the walk to the carvings we noticed the red sand was littered with the tracks of overnight visitors. While desert regions seem void of wildlife during the heat of the day it’s a different story at night . Nocturnal wildlife like geckos, lizards, small and large marsupials, insects and bird life all come out to play, meet, hunt and eat 🙂 . Often you will see the tracks of different wildlife criss-crossing each other. We assume they travel at different times.
Once again the road down to Itirkawara was far worse than in 1998, riddled with bad corrugations. An interesting site just north of Maryvale was – a telephone! It could only be used to call a certain number. As we neared Itirkawara we were greeted by Window Rock, Castle Rock and finally Itirkawara which is said to be around 350 million years old. Although known to the local Aboriginals for tens of thousands of years, it wasn’t until 1860 when it was first recorded by white Australian John Stuart. Stuart named it after one of his sponsors; James Chambers.
How Itirkawara came to be, courtesy of “Central Art Aboriginal Art Store” in Alice Springs
“Itirkawara refers to the powerful gecko; In the Dreamtime it’s said that the powerful gecko Itirkawara killed some of his ancestors and took a girl of the wrong skin group. They were banished to the desert were both turned into stone. Itirkawara became the pillar and the girl became Castle Rock, about 500 metres away.”
Despite Northern Territory’s bad roads we have to say their parks and wildlife dept have very reasonable camping fees; it’s only $3.30 per person per night to camp at Chambers Pillar. Other travellers arrived around 4.30pm and by 5.00pm we all made our way to the viewing area to see the sunset. The changing colors of the evening were a sight to see and all too soon it was over and another day came to an end.