September 22, 2008

wow

We have had the most amazing 72 hours. We flew to Alice Springs on Thursday morning and collected a rental car, complete with “swags” and other camping gear and headed south towards Kings Canyon.

Everything is red. Very red. And beautiful.

There wasn’t time for many stops as we needed to get to our camping spot before dusk brought the wildlife out onto the roads. Saw some camels just cameling around and arrived at Kings Creek Station in time for a swim before we set up camp and had a delicious salad tea.

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A night under the stars, and then a dawn start saw us on the road well before 8 and ready to start the 3-4 hour Kings Canyon Walk nice and early. We had observed that South Australian walk times and descriptions seemed err on the side of lower fitness, so we weren’t too worried by the “difficult” description on this one. The Lonely Planet guide mentioned “short, steep rock steps” for about 20 minutes. One of us noticed people scrambling up a steep slope… yup, that was our steep rock steps. They were steep, steps may be too generous a description though! But they didn’t take the 20 minutes advertised and we were glad we had started before it began to get hot!

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We were then at the rim of the canyon and spent the next couple of hours walking around the rim, up and down into an amazing “Garden of Eden” complete with gorgeous cheeky birds and waterhole. And then walked back around the otherside and eventually could see the car park and headed back towards the car, hot, tired and happy.

I observed that there wouldn’t be many days when we would drive for 20 minutes, walk for 3.5hours, drive for another 20 minutes and all that before lunch at 12 noon! (see, I CAN get up early!)

We had lunch at a rest area by Kathleen Springs, before driving back to Kings Creek Station for an ice cream or pot of tea and petrol.

On the road again towards Uluru. Stopped briefly at Curtin Springs, and saw Mt Conner (or not-Uluru as we christened it). Carried on to Yulara (Ayers Rock Resort) where we found a camping spot and abandoned our swags there. Then onto Uluru… via the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre where we read up on some of the Dreaming Stories of the Anangu people, experiencing a little of their history and culture.

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Uluru certainly is amazing. It is different from every angle and somehow seems non-passive because of that. It seems a bit of a cliché to say that words can’t describe it, but really they can’t. Mine can’t anyway. It is pitted and peaceful and changing and present.

We drove the circumference and watched the sunset in the designated viewing area, behind the vegetation-protecting fences.

Then back for a swim, showers and tea preparations before another night under the stars.

Up before dawn, hoping to get to the Kata Tjuta viewing area for sunrise. Didn’t quite make it and stopped on the side of the road to watch the sun come up over Uluru behind us. Had breakfast in front of Kata Tjuta and then set off to walk the Valley of the Winds Walk in amongst the Kata Tjutas. It was a spectacular walk with amazing views of the 36 rocks that make up this stunning piece of the world.

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We went back to the cultural centre for a nice cup of tea and lemonade for the girls, before heading for lunch. Another short walk into the rock (we got to touch it) and then a picnic lunch. Back around Uluru one last time before heading back into Yulara for petrol and souvenirs (plus eggs for Sunday’s breakfast as we’d gobbled our cereal rations all up (what do they mean 15 serves? only enough for 8 for trekking Taylors!))

We had decided before coming not to climb Uluru as the Anangu request that you don’t. The path has great spiritual significance for the local people and so we had decided to respect that. We had thought we could walk the circumference but decided to drive it and enjoy the Kata Tjuta walk instead. I would certainly recommend that! There was one other little walk it would have been nice to do, but the clock was ticking, the girls had been pushed pretty hard already and Stuart’s Well was calling.

Made it to Stuart’s Well in good time for the girls to have a swim and us to set up our most established feeling campsite. It was nice to know that we would be able to have a leisurely breakfast (and a cup of tea!) before needing to be on the road.

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We enjoyed a delicious dinner, showers and more lying under the stars (including shooting stars). A warm wind came up in the night and we woke at dawn again and enjoyed the sensation of not needing to be anywhere just yet.

Shannon played piano for Dinky Dingo, who played and sang (very competently) along. Kayli had a camel ride on Eddy the camel, and then we began the short drive back to Alice.

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Took the car back, headed to the airport and flew back home to Adelaide very happy, satisfied and hugely richer in experiences.

It felt like an enormous privilege. A trip I never imagined I would get to do. Bliss.

Posted by Lynne Taylor at 07:09 PM | Comments (2)
Comments

WOW! You are all having such an amazing time! Thanks so much for the postcard, was wondering how you were all getting on. Keep posting info on all the adventures! Love to you all

Anita

Posted by: Anita at September 26, 2008 1:55 pm

Thanks for the pics – brings back memories for me. My husband and I lived in Alice Springs when I took a job teaching at ASHS in 1997. Our daughter was born there and we laugh as she has a natural red streak in her otherwise blonde hair – we reckon she brought a bit of the Simpson desert back with her! We found camping out in swags a surprise too – were a bit wary of snakes. What is the township of Alice like now? There were a lot of issues surrounding racism when we were there.
I showed my daughter your kids’ blogs as she is playing around with having a blog at the mo (as am I 🙂 )and she was quite excited to find they were in the town she was born. Anyway, hope the rest of your Aussie adventure goes well.

Posted by: Jack at October 2, 2008 7:55 pm
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