Week Six. (Sunday 11 August to Sunday 18 August)

From Uluru, we head back to Curtain Springs for very expensive petrol. Then onwards to Kings Canyon up the Luritja HWY. We find a good supply of RedSkins at Kings Creek camping site and decide to stop early and stay the night. The afternoon is spent learning all sorts of things about Camels in Australia and later we swim in a swimming pool. What luxury! We do the washing and record some new mini discs for our driving music. I introduce fo fo to Midnight Oil and explain their involvement with Aboriginal Land rights, their stance on anti-uranium mining, and their efforts in the conservation campaigns for the Daintree and other world heritage areas. Next morning we head off for Kings Canyon and walk for four hours up to the Domes of the Lost City, then to the Garden of Eden and then along the spectacular cliffs of the Canyon itself. Kings Canyon could easily be the highlight of our trip so far. After an extensive photographic essay on the place, we head back down the Luritja HWY and do a spot of road side camping.

Next day we do the sprint to Alice Springs, along the road we pass a black Kombi that we had seen the week previous. We thought it was occupied, with the owners gone walk-about. Instead, the brasilian built Kombi was abandoned and stripped. It was a little distressing for XQU to see a fellow kombi in such a state. Tastefully, i closed the doors that were left open, providing a bit more dignity. I managed to procure some needed fuses and floor mats and other VW parts during all this. UYA 998, RIP.

At Alice Springs, we get food, fuel, more chinese takeaway and i read in the newsagent there that there had been two road accidents on the same road we travelled that day. We had passed one such involved car, that had lost control and done a roll and come to the rest by the side of the road. Two NT policemen where relaxing by the wreckage sitting in outdoor chairs, waiting for the tow truck. After that sober reading, we head off late afternoon into the sunset for the West MacDonnell Ranges up the Namatjira Drive. We camp next to an old Sydney double decker bus and cook over camp fire flame, delicious lamb cutlets with fresh thyme, wrap up some spuds in foil and cook them in the embers, and reheat some previously prepared dahl. The temperature at night here falls to about 5 degrees celcius. We have a thermometer attached to the window in XQU.

In the morning, we make pancakes, then drive to Glen Helen Gorge, i swim (up to my knees) and scream with the intense cold. We then stop at the Ochre Pits on the Larapinta trail and learn all about the Aboriginal use of Ochre for ceremonies, trading, food preservation etc.

See part two of Week Six

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