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Location: Santa Teresa Road Sewage Ponds Mount Gillen Telegraph Station


Following the Santa Teresa Road.

You can scroll down through the page or use the links to navigate to specific areas.
Why do we recommend this location?
What concerns for travelling?
What time of year is best?
How do I get there?
What might I see?

Additional Resources: ASFNC Self-Guided Tour: Santa Teresa Road (pdf)
Flowering Plant Species List (Aug/Sept 2013)
Flowering Plant Gallery - Coming Soon!


Why do we recommend the Santa Teresa Road?
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Habitat Variety The Santa Teresa Road travels through a variety of different habitats in a short space of time. The variety of habitats mean that you will likely see a variety of different flowers, birds, and other creatures if you take your time and stop frequently.
Location It begins just outside Alice Springs, and can be used for a short morning or evening excursion - or can be lengthened into a full day's trip! The road also joins up with the Binns track if you're planning a 4WD excursion.
Ease of Travel It's not the best maintained road in the area, but as it is the only way to get to Santa Teresa, the road is kept in decent condition.


What are the concerns for travelling?
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Road Condition The Santa Teresa Road is a dirt track that often has corrugation. There are often ruts and sand piles in the centre and along the edges of the track. Care should be exercised if travelling at speed. There are generally two harder tracks within the road (one on each side) where cars may travel more quickly, but be careful! Check the current road conditions for restrictions on the Santa Teresa Road before travelling, especially if there has been any recent rain.
Other Vehicles Locals like to travel quickly down the Santa Teresa Road (speed limit is 100 kph). Be careful if you are travelling slowly. Keep to the side when possible, and pull over if someone is coming up from behind. Pull completely off of the road when stopping (the shoulders are decently hard when dry).
Cattle and Wildlife Part of the Santa Teresa Road goes through a Cattle Station. In the area between the grids, cattle may be found on the road. In addition kangaroos and other wildlife use the road. As you get closer to Santa Teresa, there are also many herds of horses. Exercise extreme caution if travelling at dawn, dusk, or nighttime.


What time of year is best?
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Temperature The best temperatures for hiking and travelling are through the winter months, as with anywhere in Central Australia. Anytime between May and September should be okay, but check the local weather forecast. It sometimes gets hot early!
Rain Flowers abound along the track through the "spring" following winter rains. Summer rains tend to bring more grasses, but some of the trees and perennials will bloom following summer rains. Birds and other animals breed after rain, regardless of the season, unless it is too hot for their young to survive. Give the country time to soak up the rain and turn it into growth - wait a couple of weeks after the first rain. CAUTION: if it's been raining a lot (or regularly), be sure to check the road conditions!
Seasonality We're currently working on a seasonal species list for the Santa Teresa Road. For now, check out the list of flowers that were blooming in August and September of 2013 (following July rains).


How do I get there?
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From Alice Springs The Santa Teresa Road is a continuation of the road that goes out to the Alice Springs Airport. From town, head South on the Stuart Highway. Stay on the main road when the Stuart Highway to Adelaide turns off to the right (heading south). Follow the signs to the airport. At the roundabout, continue straight ahead onto the Santa Teresa Road rather than turning into the airport area. Zoom in (+) on the map below for more detail.



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What might I see?
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Habitats The Santa Teresa Road passes mainly through flat sand country, but crosses through some rockier hills as well. There are patches of denser woodland (mostly mixed Acacia woodland - dominated by either Ironwood (Acacia ) or Mulga (Acacia aneura) mixed with Colony Wattle (Acacia murrayana) and Prickly Wattle (Acacia victoriae). There is also a patch of Gidgee (Acacia ). These woodland areas are interspersed with open meadows and clearings, where flowers can be found following winter rains. Some areas have relatively dense Buffel Grass, but others have a mix of native grasses and chenopods.

The road passes through the middle of a large Coolibah (Eucalyptus coolabah subsp. arida) swamp -- the water is underground, as is true through most of Central Australia. Corkwoods (Hakea sp) intersperse the woodlands and meadows. There is a large area of Spinifex and Mallee covered hills within the Cattle Station, where large patches of Grevillea can also be found.

For more details, check out the ASFNC Self Guided Tour: Santa Teresa Road.
Birds There are plenty of raptors along the road, so keep an eye to the sky. Crimson chats are common through the open meadows (especially foraging along the side of the road or flitting through the Colony Wattle). You may also see White-winged Fairy-wrens. Diamond Doves are often found feeding along the roadside. Honeyeaters of many species throng in the Grevillea patches when they are in bloom. Many species of Wood-swallow can be found along the telephone wires.

Chiming Wedgebills have been heard in the Mulga/Gidgee habitat and Rufous-crowned Emu-wrens are known to live in the Spinifex. If you are keen to hear/see these guys, just remember to stay near the road and do not go wandering around the station without permission.

The wide variety of habitats means that you will see a wide variety of birds. We are currently working on developing a fuller species list for the area, but keep your eyes and ears open and you are bound to spot something!
Flowers Following winter rains, a large number of daisies and other flowers can be found in full bloom along the Santa Teresa Road. In some areas, you will see carpets of daisies. What is blooming changes quickly throughout the season, with some species peaking earlier and some later. We are currently working on a seasonal species list for the Road, but in the meantime, check out the gallery of flowering species found in August and September of 2013 following the winter rains.