After three months in Western Australia it was time to head east – leaving Lake Argyle and making our way into the Northern Territory, crossing the mighty Victoria River and passing Timber Creek and the Victoria River Roadhouse along the way. We had previously explored Darwin, Litchfield & Kakadu NPs, so this time we were heading south and into the famous Red Centre.
Our first stop was Katherine & the nearby Edith Falls. Both of these locations are extraordinarily beautiful with tumbling waterfalls and crystal clear pools. The walk into Edith Falls was tough in 35’C, but the swimming and scenery at the end made it all worthwhile. We also enjoyed a cruise along Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge). Visiting two of its’ thirteen gorges, we took in vistas of ancient sandstone, clear green waters and the odd freshie lazing about.
From Katherine we headed south towards Daly Waters. It just so happened that I had begun reading ‘Mr Stuart’s Track’; a biography of the incredible expeditions of John McDouall Stuart. Forget the bumbling and ill-prepared Burke & Wills, this is the man all Australians should be educated about. Stuart completed no less than 6 expeditions; including a trans-continental crossing that paved the path for the overland telegraph line. Riding for up to 20 hours in the saddle, going days without water and eating miniscule rations for months on end…this man endured it all. I highly recommend the account written by John Bailey.
As we headed toward Alice, we stopped a night at the Daly Waters Pub. Famous for Slim dusty renditions, beef and barra’ meals and an assortment of personal memorabilia - from car number plates to bras hanging off the bar. The kids did some schoolwork before enjoying the live music over dinner. It wasn’t Maroon 5, but Thomas still thought it was a good night!
Next stop was the campground at Devil’s Marbles. An impressive sight of boulders – all shapes and sizes, grouped together in impossible stacks. We arrived just before sunset and watched the rocks light up and appear to glow.
The next stretch from the Devil’s Marbles to Alice Springs is about 500km. I can perform my community service here and save everyone this journey. There ain’t anything worth seeing on this road. Nothing. Zippo. It was sooo boring we even cracked out John Williamson to entertain the kids. Yep, you get the picture.
Arriving into Alice, we found a great caravan park and settled in for a few days. Unfortunately Thomas had a trip to the doctor with tonsillitis, but he picked up quickly and we were even able to catch up with my Uncle Terry, who happened to be in Alice getting some car repairs done.
From Alice we headed out into the West MacDonnell Ranges. Visiting the beautiful Standley Chasm and doing the famous Ghost Gum walk along Ormiston Gorge along the way. We camped that night at Glen Helen, before hitting the dirt Mereenie Loop through to Kings Canyon.
Kings Canyon is enormous and well worth the visit. By this time, TJ had recovered and we were able to complete the amazing Rim Walk. I will let the photos do the talking - just stunning.
From Kings Canyon it was finally time to hit the big one – Uluru & Kata Tjuta. I expected to be impressed and these formations didn’t disappoint. Every time it came into view I found myself picking up the camera. It is quite magical and really can’t be described. We joined a guided walk with a ranger around part of the base which was an excellent way to appreciate its’ significance. We also were lucky enough to view Uluru & Kata Tjuta (previously known as the Olgas) from the air one sunset. Amazing.
From Uluru we started the long haul south to Adelaide via Kulgera, Coober Pedy and Woomera. In Adelaide we planned to store the van whilst we start a new adventure – touring the major National Parks in the US and Canada – for a few weeks.
Time for a rest Zizi. At 23,000km, I think you’ve earned it!
Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge & Cicada Lodge
Mataranka & Devil's Marbles
Alice Springs to Kings Canyon: Standley Chasm, Ormiston Gorge & Mereenie Loop Road
Uluru and Kata Tjuta
Sunset Helicopter Flight over Uluru and Kata Tjuta