The East MacDonnell Ranges are really beautiful and not so well travelled by people, so there's a real serenity and wildness to the area. These ranges are also home to Arltunga. Arltunga was to have been the central Australian city before Alice Springs. It was a gold mining town and had a large population. The houses were all made from local stone, predominantly so are well preserved. However the gold was too hard to extract in extremely harsh conditions and it fell into ruin very sonn after its inception. A very recent mining lease has its operations extracting gold from the tailings of old mining slag heaps in the area.
|Climbing up to the old mine site - Joker Gorge, Arltunga Reserve|
Ruby Gap Nature Park is 46 klms off the main road through Arltunga. This is where we headed to for a camp site for the night. The track was incredibly rough and we picked up a stone in the brake shoe of the front disk brakes. We were really quite concerned as it sound dreadful and could have damaged the disk. So we pulled the car off the track onto the side of the road into scrub and proceeded to take the wheel off to remove it. This proved fruitless as the stone was in the actual housing so meant taking the disk brake to pieces, which we felt incompetent of doing. So we put the wheel back on and hoped it would dislodge. The high bank from which we has to get down did just that and "bumped " the stone out much to our relief. So we continued into the Gap. It took 2 1/2 hours of driving to get in. We found a superb campsite on a green grassy bank beside the Hale River, whixh has water in it. It was so lovely that we stayed for two nights.
|View from our campsite - Ruby Gap Nature Park|
Ruby was named by someone who believed he had discovered rubies there. He took them back for analysis to find that they were worthless garnets! The amazing thing about Ruby Gap is that the sand in the river bed is red! And this is garnet sand!