Kings Canyon

We drove away from Uluru to Curtin Springs where Mum drove for the first time this trip. We turned off Lasseter Highway and headed north towards the Kings Creek Station. It was a busy caravan park with school holidays in full swing, and they found us a nice private tent site away from other people.
Dad and Christopher drove up the road to find some firewood so we could keep warm. We needed to – it got down to -1° overnight.
Dad made friends with our neighbours, and the man came over and talked to us around the campfire at night. He was from Switzerland and he was in Australia on his honeymoon. He was excited they had travelled 7000kms in their tour around Australia – it was 400kms from one side of his country to the other.

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Uluru

Today was a day at the Olga’s. It was cold in the wind and we walked the Valley of the Winds walk, so sometimes it was very very cold. We wore or carried our lovely jackets and had beanies on our heads.
At the second lookout we had walked 2km and it was hard climbing up and down over the rocks. We turned around and came back, but Dad kept going and walked all the way around. It must have been easier walking as he arrived back only five minutes after us and he had walked an extra 2kms. The Olga’s were not one rock like Uluru, but made up of large river stones and sediments indicating a lot of water action many thousands or millions of years ago.
In the afternoon we headed back to the Cultural Centre and learnt about the Anunga people that lived in the area before white man came.

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Today we packed up our campsite with all the people around us, and headed back into the national park, parking at the base of the climb onto the rock. We had learnt the Anunga traditional owners preferred us not the climb the rock, so instead we walked a short way around it and saw the deep cavines and waterfalls that makes the rock so interesting.
Some of us climbed a little way onto the rock, up to the chain. It was really steep and there were some adults and teenagers that were scared because of the height.

Lasseter’s Cave and Uluru

Dad and Don got up before dawn and walked to a lookout on top of a nearby sanddune to see the sun rise onto the ranges. They said it was really nice and peaceful, but very cold – less than 5° in the early mornings.
Christopher, Cassidy and Caitlin stayed in their sleeping bags were they wore most of their clothes to bed, and had beanies and scarves and socks and extra blankets on too.

It was important we kept moving as we had to get Don and Caitlin to the airport for them to catch a plane home, so this made us be pushed for time the whole way. Next time Tim says he will leave a day earlier and expect to travel around 400kms each day.
The road from Docker River was the most corrugated we had come across and made travelling very uncomfortable.
We stopped after half an hour to check out Lassesters Cave. He was an explorer who lived in the cave for a month after his camels ran off with all his provisions around seventy years ago. He lived with an Aboriginal family who cared for him but he still died. The cave was small but had a great outlook onto the Hill River with lovely big white river gums.
All the kids climbed up onto the hill above the cave, Christopher and Caitlin made it all the way.

 

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After what seemed like hours of banging on the roads, we suddenly saw the Olgas appear when we were at the top of a sandridge. We were all excited to see our destination finally appear in the distance.
We arrived at the Yulara airport with an hour to spare before Don and Caitlin had to leave – not bad timing for 1126km of dirt road and five days of travelling. One flat tyre would have blown our timetable!
It had been great to have Don and Caitlin with us. All the kids got along fine and Dad enjoyed having Don to talk to and help out with driving and fixing the car.
We picked up Mum and Jacob from the airport too.
Mum thought it was wonderful that as she stood in the door of the plane to get off, there was Uluru – just over there.

After setting up we drove slowly around Uluru, marvelling at it’s size and majesty and redness as the sun went down.
Back at the resort shopping centre, Dad forgot he was in civilisation with road rules and drove across a footpath and down a curb that really wasn’t meant for driving across.

Mum and Jacob got a shock at how cold it was overnight, and even Dad and Christopher and Cassidy knew it had got colder. The car gauge said it was 2°. We could keep warm on the top, but the cold came through from underneath our airbeds even though they were on campbeds and off the ground. We searched the campsite shop and resort supermarket and bought their entire stock of thin foam mattresses that made heaps of difference.

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Desert Oaks and Docker River

Wild camels resting by the road and what they thought of us….and what they thought of us…. A hill to climb

Overnight had been cold, around 5°C so we were a bit slow getting going. The fire warmed us up, but also took time away from packing up. We walked back to the road whilst Dad and Don finished packing up and found a baby stroller broken down. We hoped the baby was okay!
Before we arrived in Warburton the road had got a lot rougher. We came across people with a camper trailer with a broken axle. They had set up a camp under some tarpaulins in a flat and uninteresting part of the country waiting for a new axle. The man at the roadhouse told Dad they would be waiting about a week for a new one to come from Perth and Laverton. We fuelled up there and paid the highest price on the trip – $1.60 a litre.
We arrived in Warburton, which was really only a roadhouse and the Council offices and display gallery. The community was away from the road and out of bounds for us. We saw many of the local people and their noisy cars, but didn’t talk to them.

We looked over the gallery at Warburton where they had some great dot paintings and artefacts. Cassidy and Caitlin bought beads and Christopher bought some music sticks.
After Warburton the road got a little better, but it was still rough. Dad and Don drove on the side of the road a bit so only half the wheels were on the corrugations which made it a bit smoother. It was like riding a roller coaster when we came to a floodway though as we had to dart back onto the main road then off again.
We stopped for lunch at the base of a hill which we all climbed apart from Dad who made lunch. Don helped Cassidy climb the hill.
Later in the afternoon we saw the Peterman Ranges rise ahead of us and the country changed to much more vegetation. Groves of magnificent desert oaks lined the road around the intersections with the original Gunbarrel Highway as we headed towards Giles Weather Station.
There were more creek crossings which were dry but they made travelling more up and down rather than the flat country of the rest of the day.
We drove through a pass in the Petermann Ranges and soon found ourselves pulling into the campsite near Docker River. It was a lovely spot under desert oaks and we had the luxury of flushing toilets and running water from a tap at the campsite. We don’t need to tell you what we had been doing for the toilet before then.

Dad and Don drove away to get wood for the fire to keep us warm at night and to cook on. We set up our tent and after the wind dropped and it was another lovely night.
Christopher cooked dinner for us and we had Chicken Tonight.
Cassidy saw a dingo in the shadows near the fire, but it disappeared before others could see it.

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Laverton and the Great Central Road

We packed up in the morning and drove on the bitumen road the rest of the way into Laverton where we fuelled up and topped up on water for our first big stage. Dad let the tyres down a bit so the rough road wouldn’t seem so rough ­ it still was though. We drove along the Great Central Road and Christopher and Caitlin tried to keep counting the abandoned burnt cars by the road but stopped counting at 281 that they saw. We also saw wild camels and several pairs of wedge tailed eagles hunting beside the road. It was great to see these wonderful wild creatures.

Dad had some coordinates for the GPS to find some rockholes off the road and the first one we tried we found. It was a lovely high spot on flat rock overlooking the country to the north. It was dry and someone had put an animal skeleton into it. We had lunch there and ran around looking for stuff.
The road was rough and corrugated and we couldn’t play the DVD’s.
We tried to find several other waterholes but couldn’t. However searching for the last one for the day we found a great campsite off the road instead, so set up camp and collected the wood for our fire.
Our camp was sheltered from the wind by a hill and there were enough trees and rocks around for Christopher Cassidy and Caitlin to play 44 and spotlight.
We were getting used to the jobs of setting up a camp by now and each of us had our important jobs to do.

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