Monday, August 24, 2009

Campervan to Alice Springs -- It's Comfier Than a Camel

Alice Springs CampervanThere are more than a million feral camels in Australia, and they have the potential to double their population every ten years. They're descendants of camels imported into Australia from the mid-1800s onwards -- they came largely from the Indian subcontinent, but also from Yemen, Iraq and the Canary Islands.

It's often argued that Alice Springs owes its existence to the camel and their handlers. The town was founded in the early 1870s as a repeater station for the Darwin-to-Adelaide Overland Telegraph Line - also built by men who depended on camels for supplies and equipment. Camels also brought the first piano in on the back of one during the 1880s.

But in some Outback communities they're often seen as a pest -- they trample plants and destroy water pipes as they search for food and water. The Australian government has set aside $16m to "contain the problem" and one controversial proposal is to shoot the camels from helicopters or on foot. Naturally, animal welfare groups are opposed to a mass slaughter.

Today camel races are still a popular attraction, and include the annual Imparja Camel Cup, raced with up to 15 camels at Blatherskite Park in Alice Springs. Tourists are catered for with camel rides at places like

But if you ask me, I'd rather ride with the comfort of a fine automobile; it's easier on the butt for a start. If you're looking for Alice Springs Campervan hire go to

Video: BBC clip of Jeremy Clarkson catching camels (or trying to).

Remember, for Alice Springs Campervan hire go to

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