So where did I leave you....oh yes we were leaving Alice Springs to head to Kings Canyon...I have to say that this was not one of the parts of the trip I was looking forward to purely because of the fact the accommodation was going to be super basic as you will see shortly...but I survived and as Justine (tour guide) said – and which kind of became the Mantra for the trip – It was all part of the experience!
So we got up nice and early and were on the bus for about 7.30am I think (could be wrong but can’t remember) and off we headed down the Stuart Highway to Kings Canyon – it was very exciting that after about an hour and a half we were able to turn right....it is pretty much one road top to bottom in the NT’s so when you get to turn off to go somewhere it can be a kind of hysterical excitement – well it was for Nat (driver - with new hair and everything!) who did a cracking job throughout the whole trip!
We stopped for a quick break at the Mt Ebeneezer Roadhouse which was quite literally the only place to stop in the nearby area.....definitely deserved a jumping shot!
We all then jumped back on the bus and headed off to Kings Creek Cattle Station where we all leaped off the bus (that sounds a bit energetic! We didn’t really leap!) in need of food and water (and a bathroom), grabbed some lunch which some enjoyed and some didn’t and then headed over to the joy that was going to be our campsite that evening...thats right people I said camping!! But this is not camping UK style with a lovely tent and all, this was camping Aussie style with a swag. A swag is a delightful piece of canvas that goes over your sleeping bag and is meant to keep the bugs/mice/snakes/critters off you....this does not work!!! I will get back to that story later! First we have the rest of the day to get through.
So once we had set up our swags we jumped back on the bus and headed over to Kings Canyon where we went for a little hike.....yep thats right I said hike....for those of you that know me back in the UK this is not my normal idea of a good time but I did it and once I had caught my breath really enjoyed myself! Big surprise to me! So for the next 3hrs or less we hiked up and down Kings Canyon, through the garden of Eden and saw some amazing sights. The start was a bit scary....lots of very steep rocky steps to climb which definitely gave me a reason to try and improve my fitness....started at the front and ended up near the back. I soon learnt though that the nearer you are to the guide the more time you get to rest between hikey bits! Was a great experience and I surprised myself how much I enjoyed it. Here are some shots from the canyon...
We got back from the hike, jumped back on the bus and made our way back to the campsite where a much needed shower and feed was readily available (oh and a nice bottle of vino!).Caroline and I took our wine with us to dinner and enjoyed a nice glass of vino with our pasta dinner and then we all headed back to the campsite for a night of campfire music and chitter chatter....there are lots of photos of this but I was too busy staring into my wine bottle to take any....I was somewhat aware of the fact I had to sleep in the swag and decided that drinking enough wine to knock me out (sorry Mum!) was the way forward. We had a good old catch up and it was our first real night all together as a group.
At about midnight I left the fire to utilise the facilities and as I was returning the desire to sleep hit me so I went straight and jumped into the swag – pretty much passed out. The one thing I hadn’t accounted for is my incredibly rubbish alcohol bladder waking me up 3hrs later!! When I woke up I heard all this scurrying over my swag, down the side of it and was trying my best not to freak out – there had been a lizard incident earlier in the night with one of the other girls locating one in her sleeping bag! It turned out to be bush mice who were very keen on the packet of crisps that somehow appeared next to my swag! :o(
Anyway, I decided it was too cold so I chucked the ipod on and dozed on/off for about another 1.5 hours before the desire to pee was just too great to stand any more. I decided it was time to go so pretty much jumped out of my swag as quickly as I could and ran to the ladies. I noticed, in my run, that there were people still sat round the fire so on my way back I grabbed my sleeping bag and wrapped it round me and sat by the fire chatting with them until everyone slowly woke up from what most people would have to say was a disturbed nights sleep!
But once everyone was up there was some excitement as people were doing camel rides and quad bikes in the morning and then after they had done that it was off to Yulara to see one of the best known landmarks of the great country called Oz.....but that is the next blog!