2015 Simpson Desert Trip

A Sunburnt Country

It’s Wednesday the 19th of August and we have a busy day ahead of us. Alan wants to take the Bushman into a local truck servicing place in Alice to have them take a look underneath, to give her a once over just in case they find something loose or about to happen, ($50 later and it’s all clear) then we have a long grocery shopping list to fill and the local Coles is massive, well stocked and well priced.

We stop at the grog shop for a couple of cartons and Alan quizzes the cop at the door as to why he’s there. He has a target list of ‘problem drinkers’ that he has to prevent from buying (at all) or prevent from buying (too much) alcohol. How’s that for personal policing?

Our house in order, we head out and do a quick hour at the Alice Springs Transport Hall of Fame, checking out the Bushman’s Big, Big cousins. Then heading out of town along Larapinta Drive we spend the last few hours of the day at the incredibly fascinating Desert Park learning about all the native birds, flora, fauna and sandy creatures. Even got some ‘Rootin Tootin’ lessons from a big old randy roo!

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Today we aim to cover about 280k and fit in a couple gorge visits along the way. First up is Serpentine Gorge where we take a short walk to the quiet little permanent waterhole and do a spot of bird watching. There is plenty of birdlife to see and now that we have been educated at the Nature park, we kinda know what we are looking at. Lots of Zebra Finches and Alan sits quietly watching a Spinifex pigeon take a drink.

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After that we visit Ormiston Gorge about 35k down the road and do the quite spectacular hour and a half rim walk. I can’t stop taking photos of these incredible rock formations with their vivid red colouring.

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We drop into Glen Helen to buy our Watarrka National Park permit for a big 5 bucks which allows us to drive through the Aboriginal reserve on the way. Despite being told not to, we find a well hidden bush camp just 30k short of Kings, looking forward to a nice dinner, a bottle of red and a hot shower, since we are totally filthy having walked a lot today in the dusty red sand.

But alas this was not to be. Our computer control system decided to spit the dummy leaving us without lights, a cooktop, hot shower or access to our water tanks. Fortunately the fridges stayed on and the DC outlets worked so we could charge the essentials. So my Bush Mechanic became a Bush Computer Technician trying to restore the critical online modules but without success this time. There is no coverage out here so we cannot ‘phone a friend’ in NZ as we did back in Longreach.

But after a call to Stew again, the penny drops for us.

Until now, we have been guilty of believing our fancy pants computer control system was ‘a nice modern thing to have’ rather than something essential to the Bushman’s successful function. But we are actually very wrong! If we want to have 5 water tanks, 3 fuel tanks, hot water, cooktops, wifi, lights, hydraulic beds and the hundred other bells and whistles, (which we do) it is simply not physically possible to have a lengthy wire and switch for every single function. So unless we want to devote a large portion of our precious space to an absolute spaghetti of electrical cables and a wall of switches, our hi-tech computer network system is the only solution! And we just have to work through the teething problems.  We retire a little less grumpy but still dirty, after a romantic dinner by head torch light. Tomorrow will be a better day…

And it is of course!

We arrive at Kings Canyon and begin our 3.5 hour walk at about 11am. Up around the rim of the canyon with a small detour to the Garden of Eden waterhole at the base of the waterfall, currently dry.

OH WOW. This landscape is absolutely amazing. Two types of 400 million year old sandstone layered with soft mudstone deposits originally from shallow marine beds. This ancient rock has been eroded, cracked and weathered to reveal sheer 30-40m overhanging cliffs and crevices topped with many huge round rock structures resembling gigantic beehives amazingly arranged in a rough grid pattern running north-south and east-west. The rich ochre colours are truly beautiful set against the vivid blue sky. Again I have a camera full of photos and still can’t stop clicking!

 

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After our 8.4klm of robust mountain climbing effort, we are shagged and pull up for the night at Kings Creek Caravan Park where we can plug in, take a great hot shower and feast on camel burgers served by a cute little Japanese girl doing her outback working visa stint and who said “I will make with all my heart and love”. Hmm, I think they needed a bit more than love!

A nice day on the road, chatting, listening to music. We meet a family of dingoes on the dirt road into Uluru (Ayers Rock) and take a powered site at the Ayers Rock caravan  park, squeezed in amongst hundreds of other ‘Rock’ tourists.

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My next post will be all about our famous Australian Icon, that big orange monolith in the centre of our country.

Stay tuned…

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