15 December 2016
For my birthday this year, we took a couple of days off of work, and we went down to Kings Canyon. Many people had told us that this was a must-see place, located deep in the Outback. It’s about 500 km southwest of Alice Springs, and takes about six and a half hours to get there. We grabbed the tent, the sleeping bags and plenty of water for our journey.
Our first stop was the Erldunda Roadhouse. Roadhouses are a sort of one stop shop along the highway, offering fuel, food and basic accommodation or camping. This roadhouse, in addition to the amenities, also has emus.
From Erldunda, it’s about three hours to Kings Creek, the campground we selected for our first night stay. There are only two campsites in the area, and since we were there for three nights, we decided to try them both.
The camping spots weren’t bad. Although this was a busy time of year, we lucked out and didn’t have anyone next to us. Unpowered camp sites are $22.00 a person. You get access to the gas grills and the outdoor pool. Their site is here. There are also fancier accommodations available, if camping isn’t your thing.
Kings Creek has an interesting history. It was first established in 1982 as a cattle/camel farm by Ian and Lyn Conway. Both of Ian’s parents were half Aboriginal, and when Ian’s mother passed way, the State thought that he would receive better care in an orphanage than with his Aboriginal family. His father, who was a drover and would be gone for long periods of time, eventually returned to the area and reclaimed his son. Ian went on to do well in school and then made his career running a cattle station. In June 2009, Ian and his wife launched Conway Kids, a foundation created to educate Aboriginal kids living in remote areas. To read more about Ian, check out this story here. To read about the foundation, go here http://www.conwayskids.org.au.
We were happy with our choice, and we settled in. After putting up the tent, we watched the sunset over the George Gill Range. The cafe closed at 7, so we rushed back to grab some dinner. They have a grill and do basic cooking. We had egg and cheese sandwiches.
The next morning we awoke when the sun did. We packed up our sleeping bags and tent, and then headed to Kings Canyon in the Watarrka National Park.
It’s stunning. It’s hard to capture on film how vast and beautiful the landscape is, but that didn’t stop me from trying! I was basically taking pictures from the time we woke up, until we went to sleep. The hike starts off with a pretty steep climb up to the top of the canyon, at least 10 minutes of steep steps. But after that, it’s pretty flat. The biggest thing you’ll have to contend with is the sun – there is not much shade up there, so for the remaining 3-4 hours that you’re up there, you need to make sure you have water and a hat!
For more photos, check out my google album: https://goo.gl/photos/3se6sRzP558yv4qf6