Hello from red dirt central,
The last 10 days we have been doing the gaps, gorges, chasms, canyons, holes and rocks out from Alice.
We restocked all supplies including a necessary brake repair to our Prado, which saw it in the shop for a few days which made for some creative transport options as Julie and Craig have removed their back seats and we didn't have a spare bike helmet, but we managed and we left Alice with new supplies all round.
We then headed west stopping by Simpsons Gap, Ellery Big Hole (water hole) Stanley Chasm, Serpentine Gorge before pitching camp at Glen Helen Gorge, which has a lodge, pool, bar and petrol as well as camping facilities. We make ourselves at home then do the usual firewood run. Our camp is quite impressive set against the backdrop of the gorge with a raging fire and a few beers with the camp oven bubbling away, what more could you want. The next morning we do some exploring around Ormiston gorge, including a nice walk to the lookout and then back through the gorge. Everything out here is so expansive, too hard to capture with a lens but everywhere you look it's impressive. Our arvo is spent around the "resort" pool with its freezing water a stark contrast to the very warm dry heat of the day. Then a walk/swim through the gorge before another night around the campfire.
Next day saw a change of plans as both Andrew and Craig have fallen prey to some bad lamb shanks which have seen them busy at both ends. We decide to head to Kings Canyon rather than boggy hole to make sure the boys have access to toilets and showers. We set up camp on the red dirt as there is no grass at all and very few trees as a result of a fire that tore through the area in January and came close to wiping everything out. The arvo is spent around the pool while the boys recoup and get their bowels back in order.
The next day with the lads back on deck we do the rim walk around Kings Canyon, a spectacular walk which starts with a climb up about 250 steps then a 2hr walk around the top of the canyon. The cameras are going ballistic and there is too much to take in, it's just amazing. Back to camp for another lazy arvo around the pool which resulted in a black eye for me. A head clash with Andrew saw me come off 2nd best. That put and end to pool sports for the arvo so we caught up with some photo stuff and diary writing etc. That night turned out to be quite funny as we went to the tavern for the bush bbq. The resident "band" husband and wife team "the Roadies" have a cheesy stage show that saw all of us, bar Julie up on stage at some point playing instruments wearing silly hats and singing. Yes we have video. We leave with several small fluffy animals and a barbie doll for Andrew.
Obviously time to move on, so up early and on to Boggy Hole. This is very much an off the beaten track destination. We get back on the dirt and let the tyres down and find Andrew waiting at a small track with a questioning look on his face. A quick check of the gps confirms that this is actually the track even though there is no signage so we turn in. Fun and games begin, the track is narrow and both car and bikes are being whacked by small trees and the sand has caused a few problems for Tim coming to grief on three occasions. The track follows the Finke river and there plenty of obstacles to negotiate. It's slow going and it takes about 1 1/2 to go 40kms to get to the Boggy hole which is a pretty place but the water hole is unswimable due to the green algae and lack of recent rain. So no facilities and no water to wash in, imaging how happy this made Julie.
We make the most of it, gather wood, make a fire, cook some jaffles, go for a walk, play some survivor games and get the wet ones out for a pre dinner bath. Dinner is a camp oven Sunday roast and a few more beers just for a change. Tim is nursing a saw rib after one of his spills and is hoping it will be okay for the ride out in the morning.
We leave Boggy and the way out turns out to be a bit of an adventure due to a few wrong turns but we eventually find the track again and pick our way back to the main road. Tim nearly makes it all the way but just came unstuck in the deep sand at the last river bed which also saw me do some creative driving. These cars are fantastic they handle anything.
On to Ayres Rock via Curtain Springs for lunch after a roadside refuel for Andrews bike which is sounding like a chaff cutter due to a blocked air filter. Into Yulara and we set up camp, Tim I and Andrew set up camp, Julie heads straight for the cabins. Once settled we have a dip in the pool and a much needed shower before taking beers at the lookout to watch the sunset over rock.
Up early next day to watch the sunrise on Uluru with the a horde of tourists. Still the sight is majestic and the shutter get a work out. Back to camp for bacon and egg rolls before heading back to climb the rock. Julie has opted for the quiet base walk while the boys and I take on the climb. The first part is very challenging pulling ourselves up the chain with multiple stops to catch our breath and to keep Craig from backing out. Once at the top of the chain we continue to the marker on the top of the rock and take the compulsory photos. The way down is a bit easier until the final decent on the chain once again which proves to be tricky because of the wind. We make it back with us oldies clutching our knees and throbbing calves and thighs with Andrew looking like he could race up it again.
Today out to the Olgas before moving on towards Perth tomorrow. We are about 5 days ahead of schedule which we plan to use exploring the south west coast of WA.
All travellers are now well and apart from a slight beer buying crisis here at Yulara we are all happy campers. The next few days we will again be out of reception going across the great central road to Kalgoorlie.
So until then it's cheers from all of us in the very red centre.
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