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Australia: Alice Springs

A view over Alice Springs
Alice Springs is like an urban oasis in the middle of the red outback

Oh take me back up north, where you can wear shorts and thongs and the T-shirt is optional. The Red Centre is freezing – or, at least, it's freezing when it's not bloody hot. It's funny how you dream of cold mornings when you're stuck in the muggy sweat shop they call Darwin, but it's a different matter when you wake up and, no, you can't feel your feet, your fingers just can't get the hang of fumbling the radio on, and your breath is frosting in the early morning air (it gets to 2°C at night at this time of year). This morning I kept dreaming of thick walls, cosy fireplaces and warm mugs of ale, but instead I got something even more delightful: the first cold milk on my Coco Pops since Perth. What a way to start the day!

The dry bed of the Todd River
The Todd River flows through the centre of Alice Springs and plays host to the annual Henley-on-Todd regatta