I recently travelled to Australia’s Red Centre with my son who wanted to learn more about Australia’s indigenous people. We flew to Alice Springs on Qantas savouring the view of the thirsty land below.
Excited to see what Alice Springs had to offer we discovered that on a Sunday afternoon – not much. The Kangaroo Sanctuary was closed so alas, not our time to meet the famous Kangaroo Dundee . Took the time to walk around the Town Centre and photograph the puddles in the normally bone dry Todd River before retiring back to our Hotel which did have views of the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges from some rooms. Alas, not ours.
Next morning hopped into our SUV for what I had calculated would be an easy 4 hour drive to Kings Canyon Wilderness Lodge using the sealed roads. I erred in my calculation by 2 hours but it didn’t really matter we enjoyed the drive. Was surprised at the lushness of the countryside for I had expected a barren landscape of red sand .It seems the rains have been unusually plentiful this year. Stopped a couple of times to take a breather and along the Luritja Road were rewarded with a lovely herd of wild camels , a dingo and a majestic wedge tailed eagle. I found myself very much in “African bush mode” looking through the bush and scanning left to right as we trundled along what seemed to be “the road to nowhere”.
Six hours after leaving Alice Springs I was very pleased to see the sign for Kings Canyon Wilderness Lodge – our home for the next 2 nights.
Warmly welcomed we were shown our luxury tents and told to relax until drinks and nibbles by the fire at 6.30pm. Meals throughout our stay were delicious, prepared by talented in-house chef Gunther and as an added bonus we met interesting people each night as we dined on multiple courses by the roaring fire. Tough nights in the wilderness for sure!
The reason for our stay was to attempt the 7 km Kings Canyon Rim Walk which I had read was an absolute must when visiting the region. The difficult part it seemed would be the ascent of around 1000 steps hewn into the rock which takes you to the rim.
Sensational scenery all around – just take your time and my strong recommendation would be to stay at least a night if not two in the immediate vicinity to really enjoy being in the wilderness. Dingoes howling in the early hours of dawn breaking the solitude was music to my ears.
Next stop was Yulara Ayers Rock Resort – a mini town with a number of accommodation options all in close proximity to Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Drive from Kings Canyon took 4 hours with a stop at Curtin Springs for lunch. I booked a deluxe room with a view of Uluru at Desert Gardens Hotel and was not disappointed. In fact we could see the magnificent monolith from our beds .
Our experience at Desert Gardens was only positive – beautiful room, friendly staff and lots of activities to pursue. Three nights was probably the perfect amount of time to spend in this area. Spent a day walking around the base of Uluru and dined that night under the stars at a Night At A Field Of Light – perfect.
Next day braved the Valley Of The Winds walk at Kata Tjuta which was the most challenging walk of our trip and that was without any wind or high temperature. The surface for this walk is quite uneven with lots of pebbles so you really have to watch where you are going.
It is amazing how much the beautiful landscapes affect your soul. Immersing oneself in the natural world is always very special. Looking back we certainly saw more of Australia and achieved our goal to learn more about the Anangu people who call this arid region their home.