Travel Journal: Exploring the Red Centre; Kings Canyon, Uluru and Kata Tjuta


So from Alice Springs I head out in a three day camping trip to see the sights of The Red Centre. Since its a five hour drive to our first stop we leave Alice at 5am at which time it is freezing.... ok not quite but two degrees Celsius is close enough.
After two hours on the road, in which most of our group of 14 slept, we make a stop at an isolated cattle station which also serves as a petrol station and after a brief stop it's back on the road for another three hours before getting to Kings Canyon. Driving through the landscape you can definitely see why this is "The Red Centre", even with rainfall this year adding a bit of "greenery" the ground is distinctly red. The area is actually entirely sand, originally moving dunes before spinafex grass was introduced to hold it together and colour itself comes from the high iron content of the sands being oxidised. In essence it's just a big rust pit and Uluru a big rusty rock.
Kings Canyon is our first trek of the trip and is a three and a half hour hike up to the of the top of the Canyon before going round the rim. By now the temperature has reached around 28 degrees so I've peeled a few layers off since the early morning. Luckily we stop fairly regularly as our guide, Linc (Lincoln), tells us about rock formations, how the canyon was formed and history of the area and a few Aboriginal practices. He explained which things Aboriginals would eat and what certain plants and trees were used for and even explained how a boomerang and spear would be made. In addition we got a few examples of Aboriginal tribe punishments including using a plant called Yippi Yippi which, having done something bad, an Elder would put in your eyes to make you go blind for approximately two weeks. This is of course after they've taken you on a few days trek into the middle of nowhere. If you make it back then they like you again, if you don't they got rid of a trouble maker.
Kings Canyon is our first trek of the trip and is a three and a half hour hike up to the of the top of the Canyon before going round the rim. By now the temperature has reached around 28 degrees so I’ve peeled a few layers off since the early morning. Luckily we stop fairly regularly as our guide, Linc (Lincoln), tells us about rock formations, how the canyon was formed and history of the area and a few Aboriginal practices. He explained which things Aboriginals would eat and what certain plants and trees were used for and even explained how a boomerang and spear would be made. In addition we got a few examples of Aboriginal tribe punishments including using a plant called Yippi Yippi which, having done something bad, an Elder would put in your eyes to make you go blind for approximately two weeks. This is of course after they’ve taken you on a few days trek into the middle of nowhere. If you make it back then they like you again, if you don’t they got rid of a trouble maker.
After Uluru we head to Kata Tjuta also known as the Olgas for another hike through amazing rock formations. On the way we get some more geology lessons on how the place was formed and how Australia itself formed over millions of years and came to look the way it does today.
After our afternoon at Kata Tjuta we head back to Uluru to witness the spectacular event that is an Uluru sunset. We set up our little temp camp and prepare our campervan cooked meal in preperation of the event while near by the very fancy tour groups set up tables of champagne and gourmet appetizers. Sunset at Uluru is a bucklist item for many people and you can make it as cheap or as expensive as you like. If you’re looking for luxury you can book one of these over the top tours but at the end of the day we’re all watching the same view and to be honest I’m quite happy with my camp stove meal.