Saturday, July 13, 2024

The freedom of the press still furnishes that check upon government which no constitution has ever been able to provide – Chicago Tribune.

HomeIssue 10Mobile mansions bad match for Finke River

Mobile mansions bad match for Finke River


One of the icons of Central Australian living is being trashed, destroyed, completely buggered.

Camping at Two-Mile on Lhere Pirnte (the Finke River) near Glen Helen is a thing of the past for most Alice people.

For 35 years I have been rolling out the swag under the gum trees, and having a skinny dip in the beautiful big waterhole.

It  has now been colonised by the mobile mansion brigade, pulling their immense rigs right up to the shoreline, and expropriating what should be wildlife habitat, and public access.

The clown in the picture was there for four or five days, with his van virtually hanging over the water, but when asked if he had had a swim he said no, it was too cold.

Last week there was scarcely room to get to the water, and the disturbance to the wildlife was extreme.

A disclosure: I used to own and operate Trek Larapinta, and our small groups used two mile as a base for walking tours. But we camped close to, or on the bank, under the trees, with the swags on the sand. As did everyone.

It was a terrible day when it was decided to signpost the “bush camping area” to all and sundry. I suspect that the decision was made by the Tourism mob, not the good people in Parks.

The waterhole is a very significant environment for Central Australia, one of the very few permanent waterholes. It has about ten species of fish. Dozens of species of waterbirds, including pelicans, black swans, egrets, herons, cormorants, coots, ducks, grebes and so on.

Shorebirds include the reed warbler, little grass bird and dotterels.

Then there are the finches, budgies and honeyeaters that come to the shore to drink.

And the dingoes that patrol the shore looking for a tasty bird to eat.

These temporary Harbourside Mansion holders are wrecking all that.

Not to mention the view.

Rwetyepme (Mt Sonder) in the distance with the the two-mile waterhole in the foreground is one of the special views of Tjoritja. No more!

I understand that the situation has been exacerbated by the (temporary?) closure of Glen Helen, but it is no excuse for this vandalism.

What should be done?

• Remove the road sign advertising it. (I know it is too late, it is on the free campers websites, but perhaps some won’t find it).

• Restrict it to tent and swag camping only (dig a bloody great hole that the caravans and campervans can’t get through if necessary).

• If that fails, ban camping and parking within 30 metres of the water’s edge (and enforce it).

This should be done on environmental grounds alone, legitimately and necessarily, but also for amenity.

Charlie Carter, Alice Springs


  1. One of the main problems is that our beautiful wildlife areas including this one are on wikicamps along with Running Waters which is also being trashed.
    Caravans and large rigs plus the freeloading Alice Springs tourist trekking groups should not be allowed to take over very large camping areas.
    The trekking companies then ask the adjoining campers to be quiet by 8pm as they have to get up early and walk.
    These places need to be removed from Wiki Camps pins under certain conservation or cultural authority.

  2. Whilst I do partly agree the towing of these blocks of flats and the room they take up may cause some concern, on the other hand, they are self contained unlike swag and tent campers who may be relieving themselves too close to the water.
    Having Glen Helen closed is another kick in the guts for Central Australia

  3. It would seem sour grapes are growing well at Two Mile and the independent human is the only animal not allowed access to the natural environment.
    As I’ve come to realise over the many years of living in this so called “Land of the Free” that Australia’s national parks, nature reserves etc are regarded by selected public servants et alia with vested interests as their sole domain to do what and when they please, while the rest of the world should regard these areas as “National Exclusion Zones”.

  4. Greg: The main culprit is the behaviour of the modern tourists (I do what I like with no respect), that oblige the Parks to regulate and control.
    Not so long ago we were free to go were we want, but we were the fair dinkum Aussies. Lovers of nature, a person who enjoys spending time in the countryside and observing wild animals and plants.
    Now we live in a time when we are generally less connected to nature and to our surrounding natural world.
    Why going bush with Ipad, Ipod, phone etc?

  5. Unfortunately tourism is self destructive. Like the rest of the world economy we depend on consumption which by definition means MORE PEOPLE which destroys the very thing that tourists come to enjoy. But we all enjoy the dollars. What a trade off!
    I thought about that today in respect of the CBD where the caravan respite area opposite the library was overflowing with East Sydney Mc Mansions.
    So much for the natural beauty of the river that features in the advertising blurbs. There were obvious solutions to that but ignored officially in favour of the almighty dollar.
    It’s not only happening here and even worse along the Murray with jet skis water skiers and houseboats.
    I am thankful that I had the privilege of catching a native fish in the Murray and had the joy of cooking it in the coals. Now I get fined if caught doing the same thing without a permit for collecting the wood and having paid the camping fees.
    Every generation thinks that they had it at its best and they were probably correct. Enjoy it before the road in to Two Mile is bitumised – possibly before the Tanami and Plenty. Good work Charlie.

  6. Why don’t they make an access road to the western bank (there is a track already) and clear an area for campers. Then block access to existing camping area.

  7. Have a big cry, why don’t you?
    So people park on the water’s edge. Oh no, a pelican is there and some grass. There’s grass everywhere. Do people have nothing better to do then whinge about people parking too close to the water and driving on the sand? LOL, there’s not enough sand around Alice Springs. Come on, people.


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