Sunday, October 9, 2011

Time to leave Alice behind

 Stayed here 28th Sept Mount Polhill Reserve we have really
come to appreciate just how well these areas are set up
After five nights at Alice Springs we had decided it was time to move on southwards.  Unfortunately the day we chose was very windy.  We had spent the day in and around Alice Springs and visited the Transport Hall of Fame then around 4 pm headed south.  The forecast had been threatening a storm for a few days but nothing had eventuated.  Now we had strong winds and they certainly buffeted the caravan around.  We have plenty of time on our hands as we need to fill in until the 9th October when we will meet up with our friends, Julia and David, at Yulara (Ayres Rock).  We decided rather than continue on using excessive amounts of fuel we would pull over and stay the night. 

Evidence of the big burn that is going on in the NT
at the moment this was beside the camp area
Our first stop was at Mt Polhill Rest Area.  It is only a small area which is well equipped with toilets and shelter.  Surprisingly there were four groups of us staying overnight – perhaps others had the same thoughts as us.  Next morning the wind had died out considerably so we continued south.  We had heard about Rainbow Valley which is yet another rock area.  The access road is direct from the Stuart Highway but is sign posted as 4wd only – we would not take the caravan the 45 km round trip.  We continued on a little to Stuart Wells Roadhouse and the proprietor allowed us to leave the caravan in their free camping area for a few hours.  Without the caravan on we headed north again and went to Rainbow Valley.  The road was nowhere near as bad as it could have been – just gravel and corrugations.  The area is a national park and there was camping and facilities and there were a couple of groups camping there.  We took the signposted walk to the Mushroom rock – it was pretty amazing and well worth the diversion.  The main cliff face is apparently amazing at sunset as the various colours shine in the sun but we didn’t get to see this.  We were there around mid-day.
Rainbow Valley we have however learned not to always
believe the signs they are either very accurate or
totally wrong as this one was - pretty good
  road this one - wished we had taken the caravan
We collected the caravan again and continued on to Finke River rest area where we stayed the next couple of days – we had a number of days to fill in.  Again as typical of the rest areas they are well equipped with facilities and both nights we had other groups staying.  One man arrived on his bike and set up in the shelter area, including having a sleep in his hammock.  He stayed overnight and headed south again early next morning.  How did we fill our time in – there wasn’t much to do other than going for a walk along the basically dry river bank.  Just as well the DVD uses the twelve volt battery so we watched about four DVD during our stay!  I can’t remember when we have watched that many in a month let alone a couple of days.
The fires were raging all around us and in particular Peter struggled with the affect on his breathing.  The road into Kings Canyon (where we were heading) was closed and had been for three days.  We continued on and stayed one further night at a rest area and by then the road was open and we were able to drive into Kings Canyon.  Fortunately the wind had died down so the trip was uneventful.  We had still had no rain.  We had a choice of two camping grounds – Kings Creek Station or Kings Canyon Resort.  We chose the Resort as it was nearer the Canyon.  On the way to the resort we stopped off at Kathleen Springs and took the walk.  There are excellent picnic facilities at Kathleen Springs as it is part of the National Park but for some reason there is no camping allowed at this National Park.  We can only guess that this protects the interests of Kings Canyon Resort.

The resort has a general store, fuel, a buffet type restaurant, bar and indoor BBQ area.  We went across to the bar to listen to the live music.  The music was bush type and certainly not the best we have heard.  Of course it was just my luck to be chosen from the crowd to join a group for the actions while they sang “Home among the gum trees”.  It was certainly time to go back to the caravan after that!
Peter has written up about our walk to the rim of Kings Canyon – it was certainly an experience neither of us would have wanted to miss and we are certainly glad that we spoke to others in the camping ground and did not take the advice that it was fit for experienced walkers only.
We completed our stay at Kings Canyon by walking the “Kings Creek walk”.  This is only 2.6 kms long and meanders up the dry Kings Creek to a lookout point.  We could see where we had stood yesterday on the rim walk.  As we walked back Peter saw this huge goanna – the biggest either of us have ever seen.  We had a great trip to Kings Canyon and would recommend all three walks to anyone.

Rainbow Valley
 Rainbow Valley well worth the look
 Rainbow Valley


Mushroom Rock
 Mushroom rock

Photo taken from under Mushroom Rock

The rock face is very crumbly because of the
high concentrate of minerals
Minerals give the rock some real nice colourings

Daughter with her visiting German Mother taking in the scenery
Peter climbs the rock with his sensible climbing shoes on
Gill climbed it without her sensible shoes
not that you can see her feet!
 Rock structure again with a nest in it

The camping area at Rainbow Valley again an example of just
how well catered for at low cost are the campers

Site at Finke River

There was very little water in the Finke River
 Shelter at Finke River - note cyclist resting in his hammock
Another way to travel Australia - 3k to a litre

 Erldunda Roadhouse
Overnight stop at Kernot Rest Area - this area was burnt out
24 hours after we were there by wild fires
 Facilities at Kernot Rest Area
Desert like conditions at Kernot Rest Area
  I completely missed the brumbies who are now hiding in the bush
I being Gill! I that is Peter at least missed hitting them!
One side of the road burnt out enroute to Kings Canyon
 The roadway worked as a fire break - enroute to Kings Canyon

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