It seems I just can’t get enough of Central Australia. I visited last week (for the fourth time) and happily, this trip included some time in Alice Springs.
We began at Yulara, visiting Uluru (above) and Kata Tjuta (below). Ulura was closed for Sorry Business, so thankfully we didn’t have to endure seeing tourists insisting on climbing.
On to Kings Canyon, with a stop at Curtin Springs on the way. There’s a cattle station at Curtin Springs but they also make beautiful paper from native grasses. Finished the day with dinner under the stars (and a full moon).
We got up at the crack of dawn so that we could catch the morning light at the start the 500-step climb to the rim of Kings Canyon. It was, as always, magnificent. No photo does it justice – the scale of the place can’t be captured (there are people in the pic below but they’re like ants…).
A descent into part of the Canyon takes you to the ‘Garden of Eden’ – it’s the first time I’ve been there without hordes of others. The 1000+-year-old cycads were the showstoppers.
An hour on a 4WD track took us via the Henbury Meteorite Conservation Reserve before arriving in Alice. The MacDonnell Ranges frame Alice so beautifully and each time I see them I’m reminded of how perfectly Albert Namatjira captured the colours of Central Australia – both intense and bleached by the sun at the same time.
Day 4 and we headed to the West MacDonnell Ranges and the Ellery Creek Big Hole. You can swim at Ellery but I remembered from a previous visit that the water is freezing. Given that my ankles and knees were still recovering from the Kings Canyon hike, I took the opportunity for an ‘ice bath’. It was numbingly cold.
We arrived at Angkerle (Standley Chasm) at noon, just as the sun lit the rock walls. It was spectacular (and clearly I had visited at the ‘wrong’ time previously because I don’t recall being as wowed as I was this time).
A dusk walk to Simpson’s Gap followed by another bush dinner under the stars (with some Creation-Time astronomy stories) was a trip highlight. Bob made a lemon and native mint drink that I’m still thinking about.
Before heading back to Melbourne, we managed to squeeze in a visit to School of the Air and the Flying Doctors Service, take in the view from ANZAC Hill, and drop by the Overland Telegraph Station (I hadn’t been there before – the history was fascinating and the location, serene).
All in all, a fantastic trip.