An early start so make your coffee strong
After a hot shower catch up on washing & a good night sleep, the sun doesn’t show it’s face till 7:30 am most mornings so it’s been hard to adjust to late starts. Time to change the cruiser from a tourer/tow vehicle into a 4wd/camper so Josh & I striped the back & draw system bare then removed everything from the roof racks WOW how does all that fit in the cruiser. Then we packed 5 days worth of food, fuel, cloths, water& some tools, this took us around 4 hours. We booked the van into another park around the corner as they had a storage area.
Well here comes that early start get 3 kids up when it’s still dark & only 5 deg, first challenge for the day then I hooked up the van while they crawled into the car, drove to the storage area booked the van in & then parked it jumped back into the car to drive off & from the back seat we hear are we there yet *#*#!.... No soon J we better get a drive through coffee.
|!st night set up|
Driving west through the West McDonnell ranges we came to a water hole that was a swim area that no one was in still too cold let’s move on. Our first gorge was serpentine gorge the walk to the gorge was easy then Josh lead us up a path to a lookout which was 500 metres straight up ( look out means LOOK OUT )well this will get us ready for Ayres Rock. We had lunch there then drove to a NP for the night. The Northern Territory Nation Parks are great each site has a bbq fire pit & a gas bbq with 2 gas burners & a central drop toilet. We set up the tent boiled the billy & got ready for our 1st night in the tent. Then the dingos started coming around just on dark they were very inquisitive we saw them looking in car windows & tents for food. The next morning the temp was 3 deg at 8am a very quick pack up & move on so the heater got working. Today we would drive the Marini loop to Kings Canyon, the road was around 180km of dirt road this should be fun I dropped the tyre pressures to 30psi. The corrugations & wash outs were quite big but we managed to drive at a comfortable speed & got to Kings Canyon by lunch time.
|Heart break hill|
|Canyon rim walk|
After lunch we found the Canyon & walked the creek walk up the centre of the canyon, looking up at the top of the canyon where we would walk the next day was going to be challenging so we enjoyed our walk up the canyon. The next morning was a bit warmer but windy so we geared up for the start of the climb, heart break hill L with a 6 km rim walk this will be interesting all I can say is it was fantastic the rock formations, the views were nothing what we expected. The walk took around 4 hours with the odd break & lunch but really worth the effort. A break at the bottom & were off to our next destination Curtin Springs about 100 km from Uluru. It was a big day out 4 hour walk then a 300km drive then reset up the tent fortunally the people we set up next to weren’t going anywhere the following day so they looked after our tent for us. Josh got a fire going that night so we cooked diner then off to bed.
|Foot of the rock|
Up before the sun again & on the road it was -2 that morning the butane burner would only run for a few minutes as the gas froze so I rotated them from the burner to the water on the stove, a well deserved coffee that morning. 50 km out of Uluru was our first glimpse of Ayres Rock (the Aussie name) the kids were in awe of the size of the rock. 15 km from the rock the kids were really blown away by its size. Parking at the base of the rock I think they were a bit intimidated as we were about to climb up the face. If you have ever seen the rock you know what I mean it’s bigger than Ben Herr. It took us 2 hours to climb to the top of Ayres Rock where customary photos were taken, Back in 1988 when Kylie & I climbed there was a book to sign at the top not anymore no one really wants us up there, tuff I say it was also a lot steeper than we could remember. The wind was very strong so in places you really had to hang on; the chain at the start has been extended. If you are going to have this climb on your bucket list then make sure you spend the right money & buy quality walking boots we saw so many people in joggers slipping on the rock surface you can’t take chances up there. From there we went to the cultural centre to be cultural J
|across the top|
Then we drove out to the Olgas had lunch & went on one walk, back to Uluru for fuel as I forgot to fill up that morning so we got back on the smell of an oily rag( it was close only 5 litres left in the tank)back out to the rock to watch the sunset & eat tea before heading back to camp for the night. Back at camp & straight to bed an exhausting day I put a butane cartridge in the bottom of my sleeping bag so it might be warmer the next morning. Later that night the girls woke me up something is try to get Josh, what’s up boy? There is something outside my swag, dilemma do I fight my way out of the sleeping bag & tent to find that whatever is there has gone or do I go back to sleep & clean up the mess in the morning? With the girls still screaming I better get up yep nothing there back to bed. Packing up the next morning the camp we were at had hot showers for $3 ea, I guess when the air temp is in the minuses & water hasn’t frozen that is classed as hot water J There was 1 more night in the tent & we would be back in the van can’t wait. Our last stop for this trip was beside the road there we caught up with a couple we met at Babinda several months earlier. A big fire that night by 9pm the temp was 0 deg, the next morning the water was frozen in the kettle @ 7:30 it was -5 deg not a good start to the day let’s get moving back to Alice. Back in the van park a real hot showers a heater & proper bed now this is livin. We cover 1400km that week & walked 20 hard km & had a great time with lots of memories.
|At the top|
|The Olgers from the top Ayres Rock|