Well, we made it to the outback, and our time here is just about done. We arrived in Alice Springs on Tuesday May 15th just after lunch and took the shuttle to the Wicked campers depot where we picked up our mini camper, which is a Toyota Corolla hatchback with a 3 person fold out roof tent on top. We picked up some groceries and headed for our first nights stop at the Heavitree Gap Outback Resort a couple km from Alice Springs before we hit the road for Uluru and King’s Canyon 450 km away the next morning. The highlight of the Heavitree campground was definitely the semi wild black footed rock wallabies that come down from the hills every night between 5:30 and 7|:30 to be fed!
So what is a week camping in the outback like? If I said green and cold you might be surprised, like we were. Apparently the last 18 months have seen above average rainfalls for the whole area which means the outback as we’ve seen it is a lot greener than we’ve expected, but considering the amount of trees and brush in general I think we would have been surprised regardless. Its definitely not just a big empty desert! Also when we got here the high for the day on Tuesday was only 21 with the temperature going down to 3 or 4 degrees at night!
On Wednesday we hit the road going south, stopped at Stuart’s Well roadhouse and saw Dinky the singing dingo perform (I’m sure he’s on YouTube…) and made it to Uluru just in time for the sunset viewing, which was awesome, but that meant we had to set up camp in the dark at the Yulara campground, which was not so awesome. Thursday morning we got up early and almost made it in time for the sunrise viewing of Uluru but still got some great shots in the morning light before starting off on the base walk around the rock. With all the side trails it was probably about 11km, luckily all stroller friendly and the temperature was up to about 25 degrees. The walk was great, Uluru is physically amazing, (I believe its the largest granite monolith in the world?) and the aboriginal culture and history of the whole area is great to learn about. After an early supper we drove to Kata Tjuta (also known as the Olga’s) to catch sunset there.
On Friday we were successful in catching the sunrise at Kata Tjuta before hiking the two trails around the Olga’s, which are awesome! Saw a feral camel on the trail which was something we certainly don’t get in the Rockies. After a picnic lunch we drove to King’s Canyon resort (saw 3 kangaroos on the way) and with no sunset viewing to catch were able to set up camp at this very nice campground with enough light to see several dingos prowling around! They actually just about got away with our cheese and butter when I stepped away from our supper cleanup for about 30 sec. Saturday morning we hiked the rim walk around King’s Canyon, lots of great cliff side photo opportunities and a great swimming hole at the mid point which I thought was great but Jena wasn’t so keen on! We saw a few small lizards but no snakes which Jena was happy about. The temp got up to about 28 and all of us got enough sun for the day. After the hike we relaxed around camp for the afternoon and took in a bit of live music at the outback BBQ after supper.
Sunday morning we took it pretty easy, packed up and hit the road back to Alice Springs getting there mid afternoon. We stayed at the Heavitree gap campground again (Isaac likes the rock Wallabies) and had a relaxing evening. Today we drop off the camper and then fly to Cairns where the next stage of our trip begins. We should have more frequent internet access so hopefully the next post won’t be so long, Enjoy the pictures!
Jesse, Jena and Isaac.