For Craig’s birthday I surprised him with a trip to the Red Centre, part of that trip was a day trip to Kings Canyon with AAT Kings. AAT Kings is a well oiled machine and the tours are run exceptionally well. The bus does a loop of the Ayers Rock Resort and picks up all the people attending the tour, our pick up time was 4.50am! Most people got on the bus and promptly went back to sleep, Craig was one of them. Me on the other hand did not, I am not a great traveller when it comes to sleeping. I got to watch the sunrise over the Red Centre from my window seat. I took a million photo’s so I suppose Craig got to do both! I am so envious of those that can just nod off as it is something I have never been able to do – oh well things could be worse!!
The bus stopped at 8.30am for breakfast at the Kings Creek Station, Kings Creek Station exports camels to the Middle East. Quite a successful venture. The owners Ian & Lyn Conway established this station in 1981. The Conway’s have created a trust fund to provide an education to the local Aboriginal children. This enables the children to attend a boarding school in Adelaide and Ian and Lyn should be commended for what they have achieved.
Kings Canyon is 36kms from the station, there are 2 walks to do at Kings Canyon, the Rim Walk and the Creek Bed Walk. We chose the Rim Walk at 6.5kms from start to finish. It starts off with 500 steps to get to the top of the canyon. This was by far the hardest part of the walk. If you can get past this part you will be extremely glad you did!
The view from the top takes your breath away and I must have taken at least 50 photo’s. Craig had one camera, I had the other ‘spare’ camera (in case something happens to the real camera) and my iPhone!! Think I got enough photos! The walk is challenging, once you hit the rim its not smooth sailing from there, the ground is rugged as you would expect in the bush. The thing I found difficult was that due to the terrain I had to concentrate on where I was stepping therefore not being able to take in as much of the scenery as I would like to have.
The rim walk leads into the Garden of Eden a beautiful garden oasis, there’s a beautiful refreshing waterhole once you reach the bottom. Its a spiritually significant area to the local Aborigines and they have therefore requested that you do not swim in this area. They do allow people to splash some cool water on their faces to cool down before the long walk out of the Canyon. The day we visited the weather was a sunny 20 degrees, I don’t think I would have been able to do this walk if it was above 30 degrees. Parts of the walk are closed to walkers during the summer when temperatures exceed 40 degrees.
The tour leaders also set a cracking pace, we completed the 6.5kms in 2.5hrs! I think I would have liked to do it a little slower and have the chance to take in more of the awesome views. I would also liked to have enough time to complete the Creek Bed walk but on this occasion the tour did not allow for us to do both. If I returned I would like to stay at the Canyon for a little bit longer and complete both walks.
The tour then proceeded to the Kings Canyon Resort. I use the word Resort loosely! A roadhouse with bar, petrol station and a campground was just about it. The food was expensive but the beer was cold so that’s the main thing! We only had one hour at the Resort and then we were back on the road. We had to met the Alice Springs bus to drop off the people heading on to Alice Springs and collect those that where heading to Yulara.
We had one more stop on the return trip at Curtain Springs Station, its considered a smaller station as something just over 1 million acres! The owner Peter, provides free camping on his station and has a bar and shop there for the campers. He has a couple of pet emu’s that are characters along with a foul mouthed cocky! His parrot aviary was quite impressive for the tragic bird lover like myself.
Would I do it again, hell yeah! I think I would prefer to do it at my pace and spend a bit more time at the Canyon. There is also accommodation at the Kings Creek Station that would be worth exploring for a outback Australia adventure. I love that we got to do the things we did, but every time I go somewhere without the kids I spend half my time figuring out if we would be able to do it all again with the kids! Part of being a mum I suppose! No visit to Uluru would be complete without a visit to Kings Canyon so be sure not to miss it.