Getting to Know Alice
Given that the surge of tourism in the Outback is largely responsible for Alice Spring's burgeoning population, it's rare to meet someone who's lived in the town for over a quarter of a century. Lynne and Ross Peterkin, hosts of the Orangewood B&B are two such exceptions. They came to Alice Springs in 1965 so Ross could work with the Royal Flying Doctor Service at Uluruwhich is exactly what it sounds like: medical professionals air-lifted to remote regions of the Outback whenever the need arises. Lynne, meanwhile, has worn several hats during her 39 years in the Alice: a schoolteacher, an advocate of Aboriginal rights, executive officer of the Central Australian Tourism Association. Today, she operates as a freelance tourist consultant, assists in developing Aboriginal tourism in the region, and takes classes on gourmet cooking.
But her real heart lies within the family home, completely renovated in 1994-95 and renamed the Orangewood B&B after the grove of citrus trees growing in the property's backyard. We stayed only one nightand got there too late to enjoy Lynne and Ross's company for dinnerbut she was kind enough to do our laundry, a Herculean task given that we were coming off a three-day Outback safari.
After a lazy, lovely night in the freestanding cottage in the back of the property, we joined Lynne and her husband the following morning for a breakfast where everythingfrom the orange juice to the French-press coffee to the pastries and fruitwas fresh. We spent a lazy hour eating and talking with Lynne and Ross about the oddball habits of their longhaired white cat Angus, about changes she's witnessed in the Alice, about the struggles of the Aborigine population, about the joys of running a B&B. She gave us a quick overview of her home town, suggesting places to visit. She arranged for rental bikes to be delivered to Orangewood's front door and told us exactly what we could fit within the small amount of time we had until our evening flight to Darwin .
For a town that seems to specialize in shuttling its visitors from hostel to pub to the Outback, the human touch at Orangewood made our abrupt departure seem ill advised. If only Qantas would've been as understanding had we tried to change our flights and stay one more night.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication