Big Canyons And Dirt Tracks

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Thursday, April 6, 2006

Gave ourselves a slight lie in today and leave Curtin Springs at 7am. Jump in the drivers seat and head off towards Kings Canyon. It's a 200km drive from Curtin Springs to Kings Canyon, 100k's back towards the Stuart Highway before turning north and joining the Lasseter Highway (no speed limit) to Kings Canyon. It didn't take long.

Kings Canyon was pretty impressive, although not as much as I had hoped. Still I wanted to do the walk around the canyon rim and that is why we had driven all the way here.

It was hard going at the start of the rim walk. Uphill all the way for 100 metres and I made the mistake of running it. After the first 50 metres I was exhausted. Had to rest for about 5 minutes before continuing. It looked really easy but it wasn't!

After the initial climb it was easy, well once I had recovered my breathe anyway. Pretty steady and easy to follow along well marked paths. The views from the edge of the canyon were great but I was a little weary of getting too close to the edge as it was very windy!

The walk wound around the rim until we came to an area called the "Garden of Eden". A large pool within the cliffs. Quite impressive and I used the opportunity to have a bit of a rest.

Carried on admiring the views until I got to the 5km mark and my right knee started to go again. Limped back the last kilometre and waited for the guys back in the car park.

We had a choice now of how to get to Alice Springs. We could either double back along the Lasseter Highway and along the Stuart Highway, about 500k's, or take the Mereenie Loop road which was about 300k's. Chose the later.

Paid the permit fee ($2.20) to travel along the road at the Kings Canyon Resort before hitting the road. The loop road is through Aboriginal land so you need to pay the permit fee and not get out of your car at all along the way. The road was pure hell! 200km's of unsealed dirt track. Constant bumping around and a max speed of around 60km/hr! We were the only normal car (non 4X4) on the whole stretch! The LP said it was suitable for robust conventional vehicles, and we made it so it was, but it wasn't the most comfortable ride. Sliding around everywhere in the sand and trying to avoid the pot holes. I was on edge the whole way, wincing with every loud banging sound, and waiting for a flat tyre.

Finally got back to the sealed road with all tyres still intact and finished the remaining 100km's to Alice Springs. Drove to the hostel we had chosen, Toddy's, and it was evident that something was wrong with the car. When we slowed down the car was shaking all over the place! Something we will need to fix tomorrow.

In the evening we went out to Melanka's bar. It was crazy! Packed to the rafters and I stayed for as long as I could stay awake, which was around 2am. Before the music started they had a reptile/snake show which was really good, although you would never get me near the huge snake they had on show! The others partied on until 4am! Going to be an expensive couple of days in Alice!
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