It was a collision course, the four legged Lilly chasing the ball through the park at full speed and heading for Jeanette’s legs. Lil went left, Jeanette right and crash!! – ten pins and two plates in the ankle and in emergency we had to can the following weekends expedition to Alice and the Red Centre. Lilly was lucky she only had a bruised ego.
Fast forward ten months and we are heading on QF to Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock) on an airline credit for a five day intro to the Red Centre. The properties that make up Uluru are owned and managed by Voyagers. It is an Indigenous co-operative founded in the mid 80’s. The profits from all the operations go back into indigenous training. The accommodation is tiered from top of the range, Sails in the Desert to Desert Garden and then there is the Outback Pioneer and for the campers the Uluru Campsite is vast with ample amenities. Sails is a sprawling property so ask for a room close to reception.
We hired a small Thrifty car (ask for one that has to go back from Uluru to the Alice and you are a chance to get an upgrade). It was disappointing to witness a fairly heavy rainfall on arrival but this turned out to be a massive plus as we were some of the one per- cent of tourists that have witnessed this marvel as the falls dotted around the rock turned out to be colour changing and spectacular. The southern side at Kuniya was even more impressive. You can drive around the Rock in 20 minutes and the incessant rain dictated this was the way to go.
On day two when the rain stopped, the road to Kings Canyon opened after flooding of the King’s creek subsided enough to let traffic through, so we drove in sunshine 306km on sealed road to King’s Canyon Resort, set in the sprawling Watarrka National Park. The resort rooms here are like little villas set in outback bushland. We had a lovely deluxe spa room which looked out on a rocky escarpment. The new breakfast room is a fabulous building as was the breakfast buffet. www.kingscanyonresort.com.au
Kings Canyon is stunningly beautiful and even more so with recent rain highlighting the colour of the walls of this sandstone chasm and with water glistening in the creek bed. One could almost hear the plants and tree singing their thanks for the rain. There are a variety of walking tracks, we chose the less strenuous Kings Creek Walk which meandered along Kings Creek and ends with a view of the sheer Canyon walls.
From Kings Canyon to Alice Springs is a 5 hour drive on sealed roads, I think we did it in four and a half. Here we stayed at the Chifley Alice Springs Resort located just over the Todd River Bridge. This is a big self-contained property within walking distance to town centre and an ideal headquarters when visiting the Alice. The Todd River, which has zero to low flow 95% of the year, given the recent rain was expected to have at least a trickle but alas, it was dry. www.silverneedlehotels.com/chifley/alice–springs
Alice Springs is more than just interesting and there is a lot to see. Our visits included the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame situated in what was Her Majesty’s Gaol and Labour Prison from 1938 – 1996, The Alice Springs School of the Air (ASSOA) and The iconic Flying Doctor Service.
A must in the Alice if you like Asian food, is the Hanuman restaurant located in the Hilton Double tree Hotel. Hanuman offers a distinctive combination of Thai, Indian and Nonya cuisine crafted with a Top End twist. The restaurant has a great atmosphere, friendly service plus a quality wine list. Hanuman is very popular so make sure you book. www.hanuman.com.au/alice–springs
For more information: travelnt.com
Written by John Savage