WEDNESDAY 9 JUNE YULARA TO KINGS CANYON 330kms
Our departure was efficient, getting away about 9.30.
The drive to Watarrka National Park and Kings Canyon was pleasant, interesting and varied.
We had to back track, of course, back east past Curtin Springs, before turning north on to the Luritja Road. There were low ranges evident to both sides of this road, and it also crossed some red sand dune country. There was considerable variation in vegetation growth levels, as well as in the scenery. We pulled over after about 50kms, and ate lunch parked just off the road. After 67kms, the Luritja Road intersects with the unsealed Ernest Giles Road that goes east to the Stuart Highway. We turned west, staying on the sealed road.
Ernest Giles was an explorer who, in the second half of the 19th century, explored much of Central Australia and the western deserts. He gets commemorated a lot in these parts.
As we proceeded west along the Giles Road, the George Gill Ranges came into view, and the area became quite rugged, with lots of ravines and gorges evident in the ranges to our right. Passed the Kings Creek Station, which has a camping ground. We had debated about staying there, rather than what we expected would be the less atmospheric Kings Canyon Resort, but decided the 34kms from the Canyon was too much of a drawback.
Booked into the Kings Canyon Resort campground. They charged us $26 for the first powered site night, $21.50 for the second night, and $13.50 a night after that. This was rather better than we expected, at a total of $115 for a week. I presume the sliding scale is to encourage lengthier stays – or reward same, which ever way you want to look at it. We booked for a week.
It is quite a pleasant campground, not as big as that at Yulara – but then it does not get the visitor numbers either. I suspect that many bitumen only travellers are put off by the need to back track the 170kms from here, back to the Lasseter Highway. They miss out on something special, because this is a great area.
We were able to choose a site at the edge of the park, with a great view across to the range, which glows red at sunset. The amenities are modern, spacious and clean.
There are lots of birds about the place, especially miners, pigeons, mudlarks and some varieties of honey eaters – there’s quite a number of trees in blossom for them.
After setting up, we drove to Kings Canyon, a few kms back. The access road to the car park area is sealed, and there is a fairly large car park. We had decided to tackle the Creek Bed Walk, to get some exercise after the driving. It was only a 2.6kms return walk, fairly level.
It was fairly late in the afternoon, by this time. The walking was pleasant, and easy. There were lots of holly leafed grevilleas in flower, and heaps of birds about – it would have been their afternoon feeding time by now.
We had good views of the late afternoon sun on the Canyon walls as we walked. Passed the point where the Rim Track branches off to the left. The canyon seemed quite broad as we followed beside the dry creek bed. There was spinifex interspersed with bare ground, shrubs and low scrubby trees.
Unfortunately by the time we reached the viewing platform at the end of the track, some clouds had come over the sun, so the photos I took there were found later to be rather poor. There was a small pool at the track end. We could see people up on the Canyon Rim track.
After looking about at the end of the track, retraced our steps to the carpark.
Then we drove to the sunset viewing area and looked at the George Gill Range from there, for a while.
Back at the Resort, bought a 24 stubby slab of beer, for $40! They do not sell wine, damn it.
I made fried rice for tea, followed by yoghurt.
John listened to/attempted to watch the World Cup cricket. TV reception is not great, here.
Bed about 11pm.