After our brief stay in Sydney, it was finally for us to fly to Alice Springs and start the Northern Territory portion of our trip. It was the Northern Territory that brought us to Australia in the first place, and I was eager to explore the Red Centre of this great country.
We arrived in the dusty center of Australia and picked up our conveyance for the next few days, a Britz campervan. We were originally supposed to drive directly to Glen Helen, the first stop on the Red Centre Way. Due to a mix-up though, we found ourselves spending the night in Alice. Even though it started off as a mistake, spending extra time in the small town and unofficial capital of central Australia was the best thing that could have happened to us.
The Director of the famous Desert Park read on Twitter that we had been stranded and graciously offered to take us on a Nocturnal Tour of the facility. It was an amazing experience to see the nocturnal marsupials for which Australia is so famous out and about without a concern for the human interlopers. I’ll write about it in greater detail, but it really was one of the great moments of the trip.
The next day we woke early, shopped for provisions to last us through the hundreds of kilometers of desert driving, but before leaving town we made a quick stop at the Ghan Museum. The Ghan, one of the great trains in the world, has a rich history in Australia and the museum in Alice Springs is a great way to learn more about that history.
After brushing up on our train lore, it was finally time to start the five hour journey to Kings Canyon. The first part was pleasant enough, driving out into the wilderness we saw for the first time the vast, arid plains that define the region. Then the paved roads ended and a two hour odyssey on very bumpy dirt roads commenced. I can’t say that the unpaved portion was all that enjoyable, but my own discomfort was more than made up for by the stunning, and I mean stunning, views we enjoyed along the way. As is so often the case, I know that no picture will be able to capture the beauty of the region, but it was a treat to behold firsthand.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity we pulled into the Kings Canyon Resort, an absolute oasis in the middle of a vast and unforgiving land. The resort was the perfect end to the day, giving us a chance to rest and relax before embarking on another busy day.
Next on the agenda is an early start with the Kings Canyon Rim walk before driving to Uluru, Ayers Rock, for two days of once in a lifetime adventures.