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Published December 20th 2014
An Outback adventure with the picturesque MacDonnell Ranges
While planning my second trip to Alice Springs, there were a lot of tourist attractions that I hadn't got the chance to experience the first time round and, thus, decided to fit into my fairly busy schedule during my stay there.
One of these experiences included the Pyndan Camel Tracks tour that provided its customers with the option to enjoy the beautiful sunset while going on a camel ride. Set against the backdrop of the West MacDonnell Ranges, this was truly "the highlight of my trip to Central Australia".
Our camel ride silhouette in the Outback
Pyndan Camel Tracks is a family-run business that operates using a team of ~9 camels for their hourly/half-day tours. There are a range of options that are available to adults and children at very competitive prices. If you are a tourist here in Alice Springs, Pyndan also provides with free transfers from the comfort of your hotel to the Track and back. I think that's highly convenient and saves you the worry (and money) of figuring out how to get there independently.
We drove ourselves out to the Track and found the journey there quite awe-inspiring, with the view of natural gorges and rock formations, coupled with clear and blue skies and the fluffiest of clouds. I would, although, highly advise you to have a GPS or a print-out of a map handy, as it is easy to miss a turn and lose your way.
Upon arriving there, we made our way through the huge acres of land to find ourselves in the midst of many, many camels - some of whom were out and free in their barn, while others (who were designated for the track) were available and tied down, awaiting their walk.
There is a resting area where the group for the track tour are invited to help themselves to coffee, tea and nibbles. The team at the Track are incredibly hospitable and can cater to your needs as required.
Enjoy a cup of tea/coffee while you wait for the rest of the group
In addition to this cozy atmosphere provided by the team at Pydnen Camel Track, there are memorabilia and various forms of artifacts that decorate the starting point - from purchasable collector's items to wall canvases outlining the history of camels beginning their lives in the Australian Outback to the origin of camel rides and races from across the oceans.
As mentioned earlier, there are nine camels that drive (get it?) the tour at different times of the day. There were 7 of us, so we had a team of 6 camels take us to our beautiful sunset tour by the Western MacDonnell Ranges. Each camel had a distinct personality that we eventually became aware of and grew to love as the journey progressed. There were the cheeky ones (I'm talking about Anna, mainly) and the shy, quiet ones (Pixie, who I was glad to be taken on the journey by). Nonetheless, they made the experience increasingly enjoyable and their little, quirky qualities made us fall in love with them, making our goodbyes much more profound than what was expected.
We were taken on our hour-long journey by a very kind, young man by the name of James. He was very friendly and made the effort to converse with and get to know each of us on the tour. He also provided us with useful information about the track itself, getting to know the camels we were riding with, previous tours and his history of working with Pyndan Camel Tracks.
The view throughout our tour was filled with beauty from all angles of the Outback. We were also able to enjoy the heat without it being an effort to survive under, as well as bask in the glory of the Australian nature surrounding us. The red sand around us really made us feel like we were in the heart of Central Australia.
Overall, this was a fantastic experience and I strongly believe that everyone who visits Alice Springs should make it a point to book a tour with Pyndan Camel Tracks. For the price of $60, you can be transported into a world where nature, beauty and wildlife collide in the most gorgeous manner possible.
Anna and her cheeky pout
And while you're at it, take some time prior to / after the tour to get to know the camels and their infectious personalities - they are kind, gentle animals who will surely let you have a tremendous time in the Outback!