We left Uluru and continued to Kings Canyon. The distance was “only” 300 km, a walk. At Kings Canyon there is only a small resort with a gas station, a small shop, bar, restaurant and accommodation from camping to luxury. When booking the hostel something went wrong and when we arrived we were five people in a four-bed room. After complaining, we got an upgrade to the expensive cabins. Large rooms, great beds. Luxury compared to what we had until now sometimes.
Due to the heat the Kings Canyon Walk was closed. We spent the afternoon in the resort and decided to get up early the next morning to do the Kings Canyon Walk.
Getting up at 5:30. We are half an hour before sunrise at the Kings Canyon, which is about 10km from the resort. It’s still dark, but on the horizon, there is already some light. The Kings Canyon walk starts with a 100 to 150 meter climb up the mountain, before you reach the plateau, which you walk along, before you descend again into the “Garden of Eden”, a green oasis in the middle of the Canyon. We thought that we are the first at the starting point at this time in the morning and that we have to climb over the barrier. Far from it. The first people were already halfway up the mountain. Most of them belonged to groups walking with a guide. They stopped constantly to get something told. We overtook them all and had the oasis for a few minutes only for us before the first group rushed in.
There is not much to tell about these days. Most of the time we spent in the car.
The next two days we went from the center of Australia down again the same way we went up a few days before .. Coober Pedy, Port Augusta. In Coober Pedy, we spend another night in Radekas Backbackers. Martin, the owner, made a good price for coming back, perhaps too because our cooling box was stolen at our first stay. On the way back we see a lot vultures to feast themselves on the kangaroo carcasses.
Looks like Port Augusta got an upgrade. I have it different, not so beautiful, in my memory. The promenade along the estuary looks really idyllic. We slept in an old inn. I love those old buildings in colonial style, from the 18xx century with the creaking stairs and the high ceilings. We have kangaroo steak for dinner .. excellent taste. At Kings Canyon I had eaten pizza with camel meat. I did not like camel meat. The meat had a strange new flavor. The consistency of the flesh, I will describe as “grainy”.
The next day we traveled to Broken Hill, a mining town. Another 400km with little in between. The landscape is still bleak, we are still in the outback.
In Broken Hill we stay at the Palace Hotel. The hotel was part of the film “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” a travesty film. A great old building with huge veranda on the first floor. The ceilings are painted with images of nature. The best days of the hotel are already gone, but it has its charm. In the evening the film “Harold and Maude” was shown in the great hall of the hotel
On the balcony we met Lesley, a really nice and funny little elder lady. She has already had a glass of wine or two or maybe three. She is on tour with two friends from New York. Lesley gives us hints where we should go and what we should do on our further wy, and makes vigorous promotion of the area. Sometime in between she admits that she works at a tourist office for the region or similar. It was really nice to meet her.
She also tells us that we should drive to Lake Mungo National Park near Mildura.
Broken Hill to Mildura, 300km back to “civilization.”
Goodbye you vastness, goodbye you endless roads, bye you rust-red earth and you barren land. After about 4,200 km in 9 days, we decide to stay for two nights in Mildura. Good service deserves advertising. We stay at the 7th Street Motel http://www.7thstreetmotelmildura.com.au/. Very good rooms, very good location, a few minutes walk to the Murray River, a few minutes walk to shops, restaurants, bars. Very nice and friendly owners and all for a reasonable price. Stefanos Restaurant http://www.stefano.com.au/ is also just a few minutes. Stefano is an Italian and is likely to have come to some fame as a cook and cookbook writer. Connected to the restaurant, or maybe vice versa, there is the local brewery with a variety of tasty beers.
We follow the advice of Lesley and drive to Lake Mungo National Park. In Lake Mungo a lot of archaeological findings were made. Including about 40,000 year-old human remains and some 60,000-year-old other fossils. Based on these findings, it is assumed that there has been a dense permanent settlement by Aborigines.
The distance from Mildura is about 110km one direction. About 20 km after Mildura the paved road ends. It’s a hell of a ride over 90km on a gravel road, which was not intended for our car. For a long time we did not meet any other cars. We had only two bottles of water with us and did not control whether we have a spare tire in the car, or not.
The lake has dried up for a long time. Since the trail in the national park is a lot worse than the dirt road there, we drive only a few miles to the first lookout.
We are welcomed by sand dunes, rocky remnants and a hot wind that blows the fine granulated sand through the air. A truly inhospitable environment.
Thanks for reading, Jürgen.