Travel day heading southwards

Goodbye Kings Canyon Resort. We’d had a great visit but it was time to head towards home. We were all up bright and early and on the road before 8am. Katie needed milk from the General Store so we pulled up next to the pub to wait. The kids were very excited and called us on the UHF when they spied four wild dingos across the road. Riley and Ben got out to take photos with Maddie giving us a running commentary over the radio.

50km from Kings Canyon Resort we noticed piles of horse droppings on the road. We spotted 4 bay brumbies off to the side off the road. Not long after the kids spotted another mob of brumbies on the other side of the road.

As we drove past Kings Creek Station we saw camels in the paddock and a lovely bright blue helicopter parked out the front waiting to take passengers for joy flights.

The Giles Range runs along the northern side of the road and provides a stunning vista of craggy sandstone hills. The road from Kings Canyon Resort to the Lassiter Highway is a very good quality tar road. It is two lanes wide.

We both love this wild desert country in the Red Centre. It has a beauty all its own. Not sure I’d like it so much in the middle of summer when it gets so very hot.

Just after a short stop for a wee break we passed the turn off for the Ernest Giles Road. This 100km dirt road is the short cut to Alice Springs 234km away.

Not long after the turnoff we came to a Desert Oak forest. Acres and acres of these amazing trees. The young trees have hairy branches all the way to the ground. When Ben first saw them he thought they looked like the Lorax from Dr Suexx so we’ve been calling them Lorax Trees ever since. The more mature trees spread their top branches out and lose the ones on their trunk. The very mature trees have huge spreading top branches. I wonder how old they have to be before they start spreading their top branches.

We pulled up at the intersection of the Luritja Road and the Lassiter Highway. At the corner is one of the iconic Red Centre Way signs and we just had to get one of those. Some friendly bikers pulled up just after us and kindly offered to take our photos. They’d just come from Yulara and we’re heading to King Canyon. They wanted to know what the road was like and we were able to let them know its a good tar road all the way.

Stopped for fuel at Kulgera Roadhouse. Had a brief lunch break here also. We’d done 330km so far for the day but decided to push on. It’s flat desert country with lots of bushy scrub around there.

We eventually stopped at Mount John Rest Area. This great spot is on WikiCamps and is not an official Rest Area. There is a small track leading off the highway towards the west and you can drive for quite a way into the desert to get away from the highway. If you go too far though you come to the railway line. This is the line The Ghan uses but we’d missed it. The Ghan would have gone through that morning on its way to Alice Springs.

We found a good flat spot and ‘circled the wagons’ so they blocked the prevailing wind. Our camp was quickly set up. Everyone knows what to do to get camp set up now we’ve been on the road for over 30 days. We had a lovely campfire and ate our chicken & mushroom risotto sitting around the fire. I’d cooked the risotto in my little crockpot.

We’d traveled 511km for the day. That was a big day’s travel for us.
It was a beautiful sunset in the desert and the stars in the sky were so bright. The kids get excited when they spot a satellite going overhead. I think they spotted 5 or 6 that night. They can all easily identify the Southern Cross constellation now.

Maddie, aged 6, taught me how to play a card game called Spit. It is a fast game and you need your wits about you. It’s a lot of fun.

Those free camps in the bush are always my favourites. There’s no other distractions, just the family, awesome sunsets and a great little campfire.


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