MONDAY 14 JUNE KINGS CANYON
Today was another beautiful, sunny day.
John’s hip was rather sore after the uneven ground walking of the past couple of days.
We did not want to just spend the day around the camp ground, so took a packed lunch and drove to the Kings Canyon car park. It was our intention to walk the King Creek valley track again, much more slowly than on our first afternoon here, looking at plants and birds and just generally enjoying the place.
We sat in the creek bed, not far from the end of the track, away from the track and the crowds, and ate lunch. John had a nap after lunch, while I sat and spotted birds. Didn’t manage to identify any new ones but saw a number of ones first seen in other places.
Then we spent some more time by the track, unfortunately often being annoyed by the hordes from the touring coaches – some of them make such silly, dumb comments. I am afraid that I could not bear to travel in such groups.
John made a rather ambiguous statement to me, about some birds being more attractive than others. He was taken to task by a lady who overheard him! Possibly it served him right! But we were wearing binoculars and carrying a bird identification book at the time.
Then he got into a bit more bother, trying to be friendly and chat to another lady walking on the track, about the fact that she was limping. I think he thought that here might be a fellow hip replacement case. But she had an artificial leg. Whoops. After that, he stopped trying to be sociable.
Drove back to the Resort and, at Reception, obtained our permit to drive the Mereenie Loop Road. This unsealed road loops around the western end of the ranges here, then turns east, eventually leading, via Hermannsberg, to Alice Springs. We’d debated whether to go that way, or take the Ernest Giles Road east to the Stuart Highway. They are a similar distance – about 330kms. There is only 99kms of unsealed road on the Ernest Giles Road, as opposed to about 230 on the Loop Road – but the latter seemed potentially much more scenic. It is designated as a 4WD road.
Because the Mereenie Loop Road transits aboriginal lands, the permit is needed to travel it. The rules forbid camping, or stopping anywhere along the aboriginal land section, apart from at a couple of specified lookout/rest points. It cost $2 and we received an accompanying information booklet.
The staff people at Reception said they’d had to deal with several vehicle emergencies, recently, especially on the Ernest Giles Road – rollovers and the like. They commented that so many travellers do not seem to know how to drive safely on unsealed roads, and travel too fast.
The power had been off during the day. It is generated here. There were signs up around the place saying no EFTPOS, no TV, no radio. We think the satellite dish that brings these services must be not working. There were no telephones, either.
Tea was veggie soup that I made in the late afternoon, lamb backstrap – marinated in oil, lemon juice, garlic and dried oregano, then pan fried; potato and peas.
Just after we finished washing up from dinner, the power went out again. We were alright, because we have 12v lights that work from the battery, but plenty of other campers were scrambling about in the dark. It came back on after about 90 minutes.