Helen and Randall on the road

A bit about our adventures 2011-2012

Tuesday 13th, Wednesday 14th & Thursday 15th September – Red Centre

with one comment

6am pick up at Alice’s Secret by Katie the guide, and Snooty the ruffty-tuffty high-clearance 4WD truck and trailer:

Then a loooooong drive (660km) to our first camp near Uluru/Ayers Rock, with a morning tea break at a roadhouse where we met two guys doing the journey (they’d come from NSW) on Harleys:

Randall was jealous.

Then we had another stop for gathering firewood. Katie knew where to find some dead dry trees for firewood, and she definitely wanted trees not sticks!

From the firewood stop we could see Mount Conner, or ‘Fooluru’:

Camp was in the Uluru national park, in one of a series of semi-permanent camps with a one-room wooden and canvas enclosure with running water, a  sink and a table inside and outside. One electric light was powered by the truck battery (Randall had to get busy with the insulation tape and crocodile clips). We got lunch – DIY sandwiches – together, and we grabbed our ‘swags’ (canvas bedrolls containing a mattress and pillow) to lay them out by the fireplace, making them up with sheets and pillowcases and stuffing our pillowcases and a blanket in with them:

then hopped back in the truck for the short drive to the Uluru Cultural Centre (the most impressive thing about which was the fantastic wooden benches:

which I covet) and then the rock itself:

Our Leader. I mean, Fearless Leader. No, that’s BELOVED Fearless Leader. Katie.

We decided not to do ‘the climb’,

which is considered – like pretty much everything else in the area for one reason or another – culturally insensitive and frankly looked a bit on the wrong side of the scariness/interesting-ness ratio for my liking, being essentially a straight line up a blank sheet of rock. The photo doesn’t really give the perspective but the squiggly line is the wire you can hang on to on the extra-steep bit.

The other option was the 10km walk right around the base of the rock, with the first part lead by Katie who explained various things about the flora and fauna:

Next it was back to camp and a quick sprint up to the lookout for the sunset, with sparkling wine and cheese & biscuits. How very civilised!:

Dinner was cooked over the fire by the marvellous and-multi talented Katie, and interrupted from time to time by sightings of the resident hopping mice, after which we both managed to have a surprisingly good hot shower in the shared campsite facilities for the area, despite the local wildlife:

We even slept well by the campfire and under the stars (lots of shooting stars), snug in our swags, with apparently no incursions by insects or rodents…

Next morning we were up at 4.30 in time to breakfast and pack before driving to the spot to see sunrise over Uluru:

After which Katie noticed that we had a flat tyre, the changing of which was a bit of a team effort:

Then we headed to Kata Tjuta / The Olgas for a fantastic 3 hour circular hike:

After finishing the walk at 11am (after which it is already too hot to walk if not in the shade) we had a long drive to the next camp near Kings Canyon. Lunch break was at Kings Creek, a working cattle station making extra money from tourism with a campsite, chalets and a shop/pub. The resident emu was quite an attraction during lunch:

We also stopped off at a salt lake:

Then Camp was in the bush with a ‘loo with a view’…flushable but with only 3 walls of the wooden cubicle so you could sit on the loo and contemplate the fabulous vistas (if you could take your mind off the massive spider webs and various rustling noises in the undergrowth), however it was attached to a camp site, fuel station and shop so we had decent shower facilities and even a pool (unheated, although some of our group went for a brief and chilly dip).

Next morning was practically a lie-in as we only had to get up at 5.30 in order to have breakfast, strike camp and get on the road in time to start the hike while it was still cool enough.Today was all about King’s Canyon, and the circular hike started with ‘heart attack hill’, 350 steps up to the top of the ridge.
Felicia (Guy Pearce): “I’ve always wanted to travel to the center of Australia, climb Kings Canyon, as a queen, in a full-length Gaultier sequin, heels and a tiara.”
Bernadette (Terence Stamp): “That’s just what this country needs. A cock, in a frock, on a rock.”
    – Pricilla, Queen of the Desert
For anyone who doesn’t recall, they do in fact do the hike in drag, and to my great delight the narrow v-shaped entrance to the ridge is named ‘Priscilla’s Crevice’ in their honour:
The rest of the hike was incredibly spectacular, and the fabulous Katie gathered us together from time to time to give us info about the various fauna and flora  in the area:

At lunchtime it was time for those of us on the three day trip to head back to Alice Springs, so David the guide came to collect us (Marc, Julia, Eduoard, Celine and us) while the rest stayed on at the camel farm that was the rendezvous point, and where we bizarrely saw the Australian Camel Corps taking their animals out for a spin.
We all arranged to meet for dinner in the infamous Bojangles where Eduoard and Randall ordered some ridiculous amount of steak (so much so that Randall ACTUALLY had to leave food on his plate…take note, Mick!) and a good time was had by all:
Bo’s Challenge


Written by helenbcn

September 15, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Wish I was there too Mxx

    Ann Lewis

    September 19, 2011 at 11:54 pm

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