Monday, October 10, 2011

Time In The Outback

Our campsite at Kings Canyon
After our visit to Kings Canyon staying at the Kings Canyon Resort, we packed up and headed towards Yulara and Uluru.  There was still one walk that we hadn’t completed – the Kings Canyon Creek Walk so we decided not to miss it.  This walk is on the flat and follows the creek bed and eventually leads to a lookout where the height of part of the canyon can be seen – we had walked the Canyon the day before.  It was an easy walk but again it was interesting to look at the various rock formations.  On the way back Peter saw a big goanna walking off into the scrub.  I took the camera and went off the track a little to get a photo – it was the biggest goanna that we have seen.

After the walk we continued towards Uluru.  We planned to meet up with our friends, Julia and David, in Yulara for four nights and were really looking forward to some social time with them.  As they were still making their way up from Victoria we had a few days to fill in.  We spent the first night at the Salt Creek Rest Area.  We had pulled in around 2 pm and set up camp and within a few minutes another van pulled in.  It was a large rest area with many trees and areas to pull in but you guessed it.  They backed their caravan in right beside us.  We can never fathom why people do that – you would think they too would have wanted some space around them.  By evening we had given up counting the number of campers staying overnight.  There was quite a variety of sorts of accommodation from caravans to camper trailers, campervans, tents of various sizes and quite a large number of younger people who just camped out in the backs of their old vans or cars.  We are not sure that is particularly comfortable but a cheap way to see Australia!
The next morning we were the last to pull out of the rest area and continued towards Yulara.  It is a good bitumen road and there were many tour buses of various sizes travelling in both directions.  We stopped off at Mt Connor lookout.  It would be easy to confuse this initially for Uluru – it is very similar to look at from a distance.  Unfortunately we were to find out that without paying $160 each to go on a sunset dinner adventure there is no access to Mt Connor. 
We continued on to Curtin Springs Station which is just 100 kms east of Uluru.  This is a working cattle station which also offers both powered and free camping, various accommodation options, restaurant, shop and fuel.  We set up camp amongst the trees and before long we were joined by what seemed the “Sterling Brigade”.  We had about five or six Sterling caravans all parked together.  We stayed at Curtin Springs Station for three nights – there is not a lot to do but it was very relaxing.  We camped beside Bill and Gail from Western Australia for the three nights and enjoyed getting to know them over drinks each day.  It has been surprising how many travellers we run into time and time again – we had met a couple with two boys camping at Morton Station during our Cape York trip.  They then camped a couple up from us at Weipa (both us and them camping in tents at that stage).  We were surprised to see them pull into Curtin Springs two months later towing a very large Sterling caravan.  Obviously they are like us had come prepared to leave the caravan behind and go off to adventure without the van.  The Curtin Springs Station camp is very popular and each night had a large group of campers staying. 

There is a large bough shed where the restaurant meals are served.  This area is surprisingly cool.  Apparently the bough shed was the original homestead and the owners lived under it for three years before building the tin house which now houses the shop.  A stone house was then built and this is now the kitchen and staff dining area.  The cattle station is a working station (some 1,028,960 acres so a bit bigger than most farms) and while we were there they had a helicopter and a crew of their staff exploring some minerals on the property.  Although we couldn’t see any of the cattle on the station we could certainly hear them at night.  There is a friendly emu wandering around the public areas.  It was a great place to just sit back and relax in the outback.  The surrounding area is all red sand – we can certainly see why the area is called the Red Centre.
Safari permanet tents at Kings Canyon Resort

 Facilities showing laundries
 Facilities at Kings Canyon Resort
Outdoor kitchen at Kings Canyon Resort
 Kings Canyon Resort pool
  Play area Kings Canyon Resort
The temperature guide at Kings Canyon
We were planning on a one hour walk
 Info at beginning of Kings Canyon Creek walk
Info on trees in the Creek bed
No water in the creek bed
There were plenty of birds
Amazing rocks everywhere - Creek walk
More amazing rocks
A view of part of the canyon - we were at the top the day before!
Aboriginal stories
 Aboriginal history
 We have been at the top of this cliff
Goanna on the move
View from the creek bed
 Proof we were both there
A bike left at Salt Creek rest area - he can still ride
And go around in circles
 Sein Salt Creek - set up, washing drying and neighbours close behind!
 The glow of the sunset in the outback
  First view of Mt Connor

  Mt Connor from the lookout often confused for Uluru from
a distance
Camping at Curtin Springs Station
Friendly emu at Curtin Springs Station
Always a welcome sign
Amenities at Curtin Springs Station - showers on left
- always spotless & clean
Shop at Curtin Springs
Signage so we knew where to go
One of the many avaries at Curtin Springs Station
No phone coverage but we could use the phone box with our phone card -
must be years since we have used a phone box!
The Station staff preparing fruit for jam
The Bough Shed (Origional homestead)
- there were lots of cobwebs in the rafters
There was no need to go hungry
 The outdoor BBQ area
Peter thought Roger should make one of these ovens
from a 40 gallon drum
 Roger the lid makes the door - get the hint!!

 The talking parrot
 Chatting together

Mt Connor from the front of the shop at Curtin Springs
- it is on their land

 A view of the camping area at Curtin Springs

 Our van on the left
Happy hour @ our place with Helen, Ray, Bill, Peter and Gail
at Curtin Springs Station

Our first view of Uluru

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