Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 4 – Purposeful Meandering around Oz

Alice Springs – Uluru – Kings Canyon –Lasseters Hwy
Kilometres          4673 – 6127 km

Having a few nights in the one spot is like a holiday in itself. We spent 4 nights in Alice Springs and I must say we all really enjoyed the place, I’m not sure if it was the constant attraction of the MacDonnell Ranges with its striking cliffs, red rocks or the endless variety of hikes that I could have seen myself doing or the variety of other attractions around town.
At the Road Transport Museum 
 On Monday the girls were hanging for some more retail therapy and coffee so as willing males, Ethan and I dropped the girls downtown before heading straight to the “Road Transport Museum”. Here we saw trucks of all era’s and various professions. Ethan got to drive the school bus, climb over fire engines and hang-off brand new Kenworth prime-movers…. In nutshell “we had a trucking good time”.  Later in the day with a few hours spare I buzzed around town grabbing a few local caches.
Standley Chasm
 After a cool night Tuesday dawned with clear skies and we were out the door early, we headed over to the old Telegraph Station where we seen the beautifully restored buildings and surrounding parkland. We did a couple of nice walks in the area before heading across town and out into the west Macs (a bit of local jargon there) where we went to Standley Chasm. This deep sided gully, ravine, canyon (chasm) was another example of the beautiful colours that can be found in the rocks out here, but while the colours were nice this place has been over commercialised with much of the chasm closed off limiting our exploration of the area. Back in town we made good use of the woollies as we restocked the van before we headed out of town tomorrow. Since it was (cheap) Tuesday we let Ethan have his favourite meal before retiring for an early night.
Sunset at Ayers Rock
Any day that we’re moving from town to town we’ve nic-named “moving day” and the kids have become very proficient in helping us with what jobs needs to be done so we can make this transition quicker and easier as we like to be on the road by 9am. Heading south towards Uluru the terrain quickly became the same repetitious flat arid land that we’ve seen for much of our journey so far. None of the creeks or rivers have seen water in months and the further south we went the redder the soil became. We detoured off the highway to visit the Henbury Meteorite Craters, which was impressive example of what happens when something from space collides with earth.
Sunset at Ayers Rock
By late afternoon we’d arrived at the Ayers Rock resort and after setting up camp we were just in time to watch the sun setting over Ayers Rock (Uluru). Pictures of the changing colours don’t do this justice and are truly amazing. The following day we woke early as this was to be the day we were going to climb the “rock” and to start with the weather conditions were fine and we enthusiastically set off up the chained climb. We got about halfway up the chained section when we noticed a few people returning to the base. They’d not made it to the top as the wind had increased making the higher sections of the climb dangerous. With this in mind and 2 young kids in tow we opted to return to the bottom. The disappointment on the kids’ faces was inconsolable but we knew we’d chosen safety over success. Back at the van the kids were itching for a swim so while we relaxed, they swam, all be it for a fleeting minute.
An 11th Birthday - traveling style
 Friday was Sam’s 11th birthday and she’d a requested a sleep-in, which doesn’t really happen when you’re in van-park but we did try our best and we gave her favourite breakfast of loads of bacon and hash browns. By mid-morning we were heading out to see the Olgas (Kuta Tjuta). Some people say this is a more impressive sight than the “rock” but after spending a few hours walking around them and wherever possible we both agreed that seeing the Olgas is probably best done from the air, but that would have to wait for another trip….. For our last night at the red centre we once again watched the sun set over Ayers Rock.
Part of the Olgas
Moving day again, this time we were off to Kings Canyon. On our last trip out here we didn’t get to see this place so were eager to see what everyone raves about. After a few hours driving which gave Leonie time to read up on potential camping spots we opted for a basic bush camping spot just off the highway. We found a nice spot and by early afternoon we’d decided the rest of the day was best spent enjoying “happy hour” (or hours). The kids built a fire and we spent the night eating dinner by the fire, toasting marshmellows and watching the thousands of stars that filled the night sky.
Kings Canyon (from the bottom)
Kings Canyon (from the top)
 Our last day of week 4 was spent exploring Kings Canyon, but first we quickly checked out the resort accommodation and all agreed we’d made the right choice in where we’d stayed the night before. The canyon was very impressive with its towering orange and yellow walls and its dry creek bed running through the middle. We all did the valley walk while Dave also did the rim walk which highlights the ripple rocks and gives another perspective and dimension to Kings Canyon.
The Garden of Eden (part of Kings Canyon)
Tonight as I finish off the week’s blog we are once again camped under the stars in a small free camping spot just off the Lasseters Hwy. There is no power, no internet, no tv, no radio and no running water, just a couple of other people experiencing the same thing as us. We have once again been blessed with another week of clear skies, warm days and cool/chilly nights.

1 comment:

Grant Willetts said...

What a great way to be writing your blog!!!! Sounds tough!!! A beautiful country but very hard to capture in photography. You done a great job. Really is big sky country!!!