So the accommodation was booked, tours planned and car fuelled up and ready to go as Helen, Jane, Shirley, Sally and myself took to road for the ultimate Red Centre Road trip driving from Alice Springs to King Canyon and ultimately to view the always spectacular Uluru.
The day arrived where we set off from Alice Springs to Kings Canyon, in our sturdy little Rav 4, and we decided that the Mereenie Loop was the most adventurous path. The air was tingling with excitement as we could think of nothing more exhilarating that 5 young lasses venturing into the unknown of the outback.
After a quick stop off to get our pass for the Mereenie Loop (as it goes through Indigenous lands), it was decided by the group that I would drive the 250kms of dirt road. It was the belief of the group, that my experience in utes, dirt roads and paddocks would be best suited to this type of road trip. I must say that I was secretly quite eager about tackling this challenge and wished that I had a bigger vehicle than the Rav 4!
We stopped off along the way at Standley Chasm and marvelled at the sharp edges, laughed at the life saver ring at Ormiston Gorge (as there was very little water at the time and it looked entirely useless) enjoyed lunch at Glen Helen Resort and finally admired the view over Gosse Bluff from the lookout. While at the lookout we noticed the sky was darkening and could see that there were some rain storms on the horizon. Undeterred we set off to hit the dirt road.
Cruising along the road and enjoying the landscape, wildlife (we saw brumbies!) and laughing at some of the outback road signs, we noticed the sky was beginning to look sinister and sure enough, soon after, the heavens opened. You may say that a bit of rain and dirt road should be nothing for a country girl who should have been fishtailing the car around the corners with glee…..but….this wasn’t pretty little droplets falling from sky, no, this was waves, sheets of water, buckets and oceans of water! With the windscreen wipers on full throttle and still being virtually blind, I navigated around corners and still managed to fishtail them even at 30kms per hour, as all that dirt had now become a sea of mud.
With a furrowed brow, I skippered the Girls on Tour through the desert squall and almost 5 hours after setting off from Alice Springs, saw a rainbow on the horizon. We chased the rainbow to find our pot of gold being sealed road and a sign saying there was only 10km until Kings Canyon Resort.
We eventually arrived at the resort with our red Rav 4 (which was once white) and headed straight to Sounds of Firelight where we were welcomed with a very well earned drink.
By the way – we made it eventually to Uluru and of course, it was more amazing than imagined…..