Yulara to Alice

18th July, 2003
19th July, 2003

Friday 18th July, 2003

Desert Oaks photograph

Desert Oaks

Drop Cap arewell today to Uluru and Kata Tjuta and off to Kings Canyon. We drove off and passed through some of the same scenes as Tuesday, Mt. Conner and all. When we turned off towards Kings Canyon we had a quick photo stop at a picturesque spot with a lovely stand of desert oaks.

Drop Cap hen on to Kings Creek Station, a beef lease which has turned to tourism and camel farming, exporting live camels for racing and meat to the middle east. For tourists they have a road house and campground with various activities. We got lunch and bottled water there before heading to Kings Canyon for our walk.

Ghost gums Kings Canyon photograph

Ghost Gums at Kings Canyon

Drop Cap ifteen of the group went with Rosemary on the Rim Walk (where the drag queens in "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" posed in full drag) but just looking at the 300 m stairway up the scarp gave me the shivers.

Kings Creek Waterhole photograph

Kings Creek Waterhole

Drop Cap he rest of us went with Lou to the creekbed walk which was about one and a half km along a roughish track, lots of rocks but generally easier than the Kata Tjuta. I made it to the end and on to a pretty waterhole and then managed to get back, although we were the last.

Drop Cap hen we went on for half an hour to the Kings Canyon Resort. This is a glorified motel really, but our room has a little veranda with outdoor chairs and all we need except an armchair. Yesterday at Sails in the Desert we had an enormous room with two double beds, couch, two armchairs and table. This one has two double beds but no room for anything else. However, the bathroom is adequate and our buffet dinner tonight was much better than Winkiku at Sails. The service was infinitely better, as well.

Drop Cap omorrow we leave early in order to see Standley Chasm and Simpson's Gap on the way to Alice Springs, where we will be back at the Alice Springs Resort for the next two nights. After that, things get hotter, I think. Oh well, we'll do a load of washing tomorrow or Sunday night and prepare for the Top End.

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Saturday, 19th July, 2003

Drop Cap p again early for a 07:00 start towards Alice Springs via Standley Chasm and Simpson's Gap. We upped our wildlife tally today. Up until now the only thing we had seen fewer of than aboriginals was animals. But today we saw herds (or flocks) of wild camels, a couple of red kangaroos and lots of wedge-tailed eagles and various other birds including the ubiquitous pink and grey galah.

Rocks photograph

Rocks on the Track to Standley Chasm

Drop Cap e had morning tea at Mt. Ebenezer Station, where we stopped on Tuesday, then went on for hours until we passed the Alice and headed for Standley Chasm. There was a walk to the actual chasm which was classified easy, but was very rough underfoot, like Kata Tjuta. My feet feel a bit better today but the knees and ankles got a real workout.

Rock Wallaby photograph

Rock Wallaby Ignoring Tourists

Drop Cap n the way to the Chasm we passed a black footed rock wallaby who took absolutely no notice of all the clicking cameras with people attached. The Chasm was a spectacular sight, towering walls of desert red split down the middle as if by cataclysm but really by creek action, I think.

Standley Chasm photograph

Standley Chasm

Cycad photograph

Mac and a Prehistoric Cycad

Drop Cap e saw many examples of the pre-historic cycads - ferny/palmy plants which are among the oldest rainforest remnants. We just made it back to the bus in time for Mac to get us a sandwich. They are getting used to me being the last back and lots of people enquire about my feet and give me a hand.

Simpson's Gap photograph

Disobeying the sign, Simpson's Gap

Drop Cap hen we went on to Simpson's Gap. I was going to sit this one out but Lou said it was the easiest of the walks we had done and quite short.

So I went. I was so glad I did. The path was easy and the Gap, when reached, was another technicolour extravaganza. The way led beside a dry creek bed floored with thick sand. There was a "No Swimming" sign beside it which I thought comic.

Simpson's Gap photograph

At Simpson's Gap

Simpson's Gap photograph

Simpson's Gap backing Red River Gums

Drop Cap e walked back along the creek bed because Rosemary had said there was a lovely photo op with a stand of magnificent red river gums backed by a view of the Gap. Spectacular!

Drop Cap fter this we headed for Alice, where Lou let us out at Coles supermarket in case we needed anything so we got some more film and large bandaids and some nibblies and came back to the Alice Springs Resort which we left on Tuesday to stay another two nights. People are all fanning off for Freedom of Choice Dinners and sight seeing but we decided to eat in the Palms Restaurant here. All the other choices are BBQ, buffet style of thing and I really prefer and enjoy being waited on a la carte.

Drop Cap omorrow we spend the morning at the Alice Springs Desert Park and the afternoon on a town tour with Lou. A funny thing happened at Simpson's Gap. A lady from another tour group came up to me and said "Aren't you from Blaxland?" She was Jan Hemmons from Old Bathurst Road, who I used to know in the old mothers' club days. Small world!

Drop Cap t turned out that the restaurant here has a seafood buffet on Saturday nights. This is not what we wanted as Mac doesn't care for seafood but they looked after us really well, let us order from the set menu, which is cheaper than the buffet so they gave us a complimentary bottle of Queen Adelaide Riesling to make it up. So that worked out all right. Funny how some places can get it right and others don't even try!

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