Adelaide to Alice
01.06.2010 - 08.06.2010 0 °C
Okay, so it’s been about three months now since Adam & I left Adelaide in a 4WD called Bruce to gallivant about the countryside. So I thought it was about time to send out our first travel update. Actually, it’s probably time for a third travel update by now, but since I failed to write the first two, this will have to be the first just to reassure everyone that we’ve so far managed to avoid getting lost in the desert, eaten by crocodiles, or blown up by fireworks and are still generally having a good time and glad we’re not suffering in the cold like the rest of you (so yeah – it’s pretty much all about the bragging)
The winter cold had well and truly settled over Adelaide when we left on the first of June and it seemed a good deal of our first few weeks away were spent huddled around desert campfires and going to bed early (very early) in an attempt to keep warm. We spent the first two days driving, and the first two nights camped in the stunning expanse of nothing that lies between Port Augusta and Alice Springs. The lack of moon made the stars seem infinite and the lack of sun made the cold unbearable, but the excitement of being on the road squashed all complaints and after stopping in the crazy underground opal mining town of Coober Pedy long enough to realise that no-one should ever stop therewe pushed on to see THE ROCK, Uluru,
It really is a breathtaking sight, looming up out of the desert in the hazy sunset glow to make you feel about as big as a really small thing. We did the obligatory sunrise and sunset viewings, the visitor centre AND the 10km walk around the base and Adam, much to my dismay, climbed part of the way up. After confirming to everyone’s satisfaction that it was indeed still a big rock and finding the exorbitant camping fees unattractive, we took a wander around kata tjuta so as not to miss anything and then headed northeast towards King’s Canyon and found a nice spot to camp for a few days, off the road, behind some hills, under some trees, on the red red dirt. It was here that we narrowly avoided our first catastrophe, when Lisa went for a wander to see what she could see. . . but forgot to look where she was going or remember how to get back. Luckily, after having received instructions from her loving boyfriend not to let her navigate, we had semi-seriously given her the GPS with our coordinates in it and she learned to use it quick smart to find her way back to us!
King’s Canyon, when we got there was just as spectacular as I remembered it: Twisting, tracks sneaking through hidden valleys, and around cliff edges with views over endless sandstone domes into deep chasms (and plenty of dead tree photo opportunities for Lisa) means it was voted unanimously by us as the most fun, interactive & affordable tourist attraction in Central Australia.So, leaving on a high we were feeling adventurous and decided that backtracking down the highway to Alice Springs seemed foolish when there was a perfectly good unsealed ‘shortcut’ road marked on the map. HA! Earnest Giles Road, look up ‘corrugations’ in the dictionary and that’s what you’ll find. Bruce took it in his stride like a champion - I even managed to catch a few zzz’s despite feeling something like a bond martini (shaken, not stirred) and we had a national park campground and a real live meteorite crater at the end of it to look forward to so it wasn’t all bad. Of course by ‘national park campground’ we mean ‘barren, cold, windy, gravel covered carpark unsuitable for tents’ and by ‘meteorite crater’ we mean ‘slight dent in the ground about the size of a small dam’. In short, it was shit.
We scrambled out of there as soon as it was warm enough to leave the safety of our layers of blankets and quilts and gunned it into Alice Springs with only a brief photo stop at Rainbow Valleyas the consensus seemed to be that we were cold and tired and just a little sick of looking at rocks. Reaching a town like Alice was a little shock to the system after having spent most of the previous week bush camping with only the dingoes for company. Finding an affordable (ie. Free) place to stay was going to be a daunting challenge and one we thought would be best put off until after a beer or two and a game of pool with SA ex-pat and Cranka buddy, Dave. Clearly our bedraggled appearances and confused/startled/vacant expressions invoked his sympathy, because before we knew what had happened we were cocooned in the warmth of his house, with curry on the stove, beer in the fridge and the happy company of his beautiful family to enjoy. One hearty meal, one amazing shower, one carton of beer, one rigged poker game, and many laughs later we wriggled into bed refreshed, content and ready to begin the next chapter.