The drive from Uluru to Watarrka National Park, where you’ll find Kings Canyon, is about 300km – all on sealed roads. We took our time packing up and then driving there, with the kids doing some schoolwork on the way. We had decided to stay at Kings Canyon Resort for two nights at the family rate of $48 a night. There is also camping available at Kings Canyon Station, for a similar price, although it is slightly further away from the canyon and the walks we hoped to do. The sky was very hazy and we spotted a number of bush fires on the way, with some flames right at the roadside.
Our first day was spent around the campground which has a fairly decent set up. There is a pool, mini – supermarket, a couple of bars/restaurants and fuel is also available. I must say we were pretty relieved that we had filled our tanks at Yulara where we paid $1.843L rather than the $2.20L that was being charged at Kings Canyon. The dearest we have seen on the road so far.
The next morning we got up early to a thick blanket of smoke hanging around, before heading towards the two walks we wanted to do. The first was the well-known Rim Walk, which is a 6km loop walk. The walk starts with what some people call Heartbreak Hill and involves climbing about 500 steps. We took our time getting up there and “feel the burn” was the Cusworth mantra by the time we reached the top! Some of you may have noticed that heights are not my friend, we broke up shortly after I became a Mum and we are unlikely to get back together again. Generally, if there is some kind of hand rail or guard then I behave fairly well, limiting the number of times I yell “slow down” or “stay away from the edge!” as much as possible. Large heights with sheer drops are however nonnegotiable, it just aint gonna happen! So you can imagine how deliriously happy I was, after the hill climb induced white spots in my eyes had cleared, to see the sheeriest droppiest drop EVER!
Poor Paul, I think he has grown accustomed to waving goodbye to us and going solo!
We took some photos together and then the kids and I headed back down the hill to go on the much nicer, terra firma based Kings Creek Walk.
The Creek Walk is about 2.6km long, very easy with a lookout at the end. The scenery is quite beautiful with a surprising number of trees and plenty of information about the history of the land and its cultural significance. What I wasn’t too keen on was looking up the sides of the canyon and seeing people standing right there on the edge. The kids enjoyed yelling coo-eee to the people on the walk of death and were very happy to get some replies. At the lookout we met some high school kids with one of their teachers. They attend a school in Melbourne and were lucky enough to get to go on a 9 day camp visiting Uluru, Kings Canyon and Alice Springs. What a lucky bunch of kids, and very nice to talk to too.
As I mentioned before, the Rim Walk is a loop walk and can only be walked in a clockwise direction for safety, to avoid congestion and to minimise erosion. We spotted some people finishing the walk that had started in front of Paul so we decided to be a bit naughty and walk the wrong way up the track a little way to meet him. We didn’t get far before we saw him coming and congratulated him on another achievement. He said the walk was amazing and for him the views surpassed what we had seen at The Bungle Bungle Range. He also said that I would have hated the first part of the walk but that it got less droppy the further you walked and encouraged us to have a walk (up the wrong way mind you) to get a glimpse. The boys and I took off a bit further, along the track and I am so glad we did it really was breathtaking. Paul & I were left a little confused about why the track runs clockwise instead of anti-clockwise, so that more people may be able to get round and enjoy the views. Or maybe the idea is to scare people off with the hill climb at the start, to reduce numbers and environmental impact.
Here are some photos that Paul took along the walk
While the boys and I went the wrong way up the track Paul took Emma to check out the Creek Walk again. There are a couple of other walks to do in the national park but we decided to head back to the van park for a swim. At this stage I should point out that in just a couple of days Paul had walked the base of Uluru, done two walks through The Olgas, climbed Uluru and done the two Kings Canyon Walk. The poor old fella was starting to seize up!
On our last night after having some dinner we decided to head up to the shed to check out the show that is on most nights, seeing that it had been touted as family friendly. The show consisted of a couple of retirees singing songs and having a friendly bit of banter with each other and the audience. It was a little cringe worthy and you could tell the same one liners were used night after night. The kids were pulled up onto the stage along with some others and got to put on a bit of a show, playing musical instruments and singing songs.
All harmless fun right? Until the children were then told to round their fathers up and bring them to the stage, clearly with one thing in mind – public humiliation! After some fairly innocent miming and general horseplay the dads on stage then had to compete against each other in seeing who could ring a cow bell the loudest. Sounds easy right? Did I mention that the cow bell was on a rope around their necks and they couldn’t use their hands? I didn’t? Look, I’m not doing a very good job of explaining it, have a look for yourself!
Paul blamed his style (or lack of) on his very sore legs – I know otherwise.
Not to be left out, the wives of the bell ringers then had their turn to shine! There is also a video of me wearing a reggae style wig, complete with dreadlocks singing do ah diddy diddy dum diddy do into a plastic microphone. Alas, I seem unable to upload it.