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Ilparpa Claypans

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Ilparpa Claypans in the Alice Springs Region
One of Central Australia's unique habitats are the 'claypans'. Some great examples are the ones found at the base of Rainbow Valley and those of the Lake Armadeus system, that can be viewed on-route to Uluru from the Mount Connor Lookout along the Lasseter Highway. Even closer are the Ilparpa Claypans, just south of the West MacDonnell Ranges, approximately 15 km south east of the town of Alice Springs. Located at the western end of the Ilparpa Valley, the twelve interconnected ephemeral claypans form part of the Roe Creek catchment.

Usually just dry arid sandy group of claypans, during those times when Central Australia gets some decent rain, this very scenic locale becomes 'Alice Springs Lake District'... although it is known to the locals as just 'the claypans'. Similarly, there is another popular spot known as Alice Springs Beach, a permanent waterhole which even has it's a lifebuoy for use in emergencies.

'The claypans' is home to a fragile ecosystem and is listed as a 'Site of National Botanical Significance' due to the presence of significant ephemeral plants and a wide diversity of plant species and communities. When conditions are right, the place comes alive with wildflowers such as the delicate Tiny Purslane, the striking Red Pussytail, Longtail and Golden Everlasting. It is a sanctuary for local wildlife ranging from kangaroos, snakes and a variety of species of lizards. It is also registered as an Aboriginal Sacred Site, that is an important cultural place, especially for the Arrernte Custodians.

During times of rain and flood, the area becomes a wonderland as the claypans fill with water. The water takes on a soft chocolate brown colour, as a result of the red clay and silt. It also heralds the appearance of a number of other living creatures, ranging from tiny aquatic creatures, to the larger shield shrimps and frogs species, such as the Spencer's Burrowing Frog and the Desert Trilling Frog.

Set against the magnificent backdrop of the ranges, and because of the close proximity to town, this area is popular with the locals, providing a great spot from where to enjoy the natural landscape, a great place to take photos, walking your dogs, and even horse riding. When the claypan fills with water, many families bring their young children to enjoy the opportunity of a little aquatic play.

Due to its fragile nature visitors are asked to treat the area with care and respect, ensuring that they also take all rubbish with them when they leave, and to not scare the wildlife.

Ilparpa Claypans in the Alice Springs Region - Snapshots from Australia

Ilparpa Claypans © Ausemade Pty Ltd
Ilparpa Claypans © Ausemade Pty Ltd
Ilparpa Claypans © Ausemade Pty Ltd
Ilparpa Claypans © Ausemade Pty Ltd
Ilparpa Claypans © Ausemade Pty Ltd
Frog at the Ilparpa Claypans © Ausemade Pty Ltd
Desert Trilling Frog at the Ilparpa Claypans © Ausemade Pty Ltd
Ilparpa Claypans © Ausemade Pty Ltd
Ilparpa Claypans © Ausemade Pty Ltd
Photos © Ausemade Pty Ltd

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