We set off for Kings Canyon, leaving some the majesty of Uluru behind us. On the way, we got stuck behind some very slow nomads, even by our standards. My impatience got the better of me and when they stopped for a fuel stop, I kept going with the idea of getting fuel at the next stop. I’d forgotten though that we took an earlier turnoff to get to Kings Canyon and had to make use of our handy jerry cans! When I finally stopped for fuel we also stopped for lunch and I ended up paying more for lunch than I did to fill the car and jerry can with fuel!
The caravan park had a pool and playground so after setting up I took the kids there with some crazy notion that I might get to read some of my book. With a few other families with young children at the pool it was all playing and no reading for me. It’s great the way Miss6 can make friends with other young children so easily and how Master14 can talk to other adults with such confidence.
We headed to the sunset viewing platform with the hoards of others and had the privilege of not only watching the sunset but also watch the full moon rise over the canyon, which, in my opinion was more impressive than the sunset. Miss6 saw a few of the Japanese tourists taking novelty ‘holding up the moon’ photos and thought that was the best thing ever so we had to do a few of those for good measure.
The next day Miss6 and I were lucky enough to have our bed facing the canyon so it was a matter of unzipping our window to watch the sunrise over the canyon. After watching the canyon at sunrise it was time to climb it and do the rim walk.
The walk was rocky and steep in parts and at the top of the steepest section at the start we were faced with a defrib machine – I thought this was quite funny until I saw the average age of the other climbers but luckily they were fit enough and saw the funny side of the machine. Miss6 stopped frequently to draw her travel adventures in the sand using the traditional Aboriginal symbols she’d learnt at Yulara. Despite the frequent stopping we kept catching up to the other larger group of older walkers and enjoyed their company for the walk. There were some interesting shaped rocks on the walk and some spectacular views when you braved the edges. For all the jokes of pushing partners over the edge I surprisingly had no urges to or daydream fantasies of pushing the kids over…yet!
Our older walking company encouraged us to do the additional off shoot walks with them however, halfway through the 1.2km trek we looked back to find that they’d given up! We caught up with them at the Garden of Eden and this was truly a beautiful site to behold. We spent some time here enjoying the greenery before making the final hike back to the car. In the final 2kms Master14 rolled his ankle coming down a hill so I asked Miss6 to take the backpack so I could support him. As he began walking properly again, Miss6 fell flat on her face and grazed her knees so I ended up with the backpack on the front of me, Miss6 on my back and Master14 limping slowly behind me as we descended down the steep hill back to the carpark. By the time we got to the car I had the beginnings of a migraine so when I got back to camp to find our Coober Pedy friends offering to help with the kids while I dealt with my migraine and Zoe the dog camped right next to us to keep Miss6 busy, I was grateful for the lovely travelling friends that we’d made.
After a few hours of sleeping and pain killers I was well enough to take the kids to the outback BBQ for dinner and some live music. Dinner was delicious and the live music to accompany it was also great with Miss6 taking her coins to the stage to put in the tips pot. Rod Dowsett had a very raw vocal and moving lyrics that we all enjoyed listening to, so much so that Miss6 wanted to use her pocket money to buy one of his CDs. After listening to the CD though I don’t think it does his vocal abilities the justice that a live performance does. While we were sitting at our table a gentlemen came over to say hi – at first I thought it was one of our fellow walkers from the Canyon Rim walk that I’d forgotten but it turned out to be a tour bus driver from Alice Springs just saying hello. We were heading to Alice next so it was great to hear about Alice from a friendly local – he even offered to show us around town when we got there and take us out for pizza one night – knowing how much Master14 could eat, how could I say no? Our bus tour friend also convinced us to take the Ernest Giles dirt road to Alice Springs tomorrow, it would save us around 150km and wasn’t too bad at the moment apparently, despite the recent rains. Armed with all of this information, ideas and a new friend for our next stop, we went to bed excited for the next leg of our great adventure.