We stopped off at Curtin Springs on the way to Kings Canyon and were treated to free camping and an unrurly emu that terrorised the campers! Seriously it did try to get into our, and everyone else's, vans but it was quite harmless. Curtin Springs is an old cattle station that is trying to diversify into tourism and is coping well. E understandably had a quick visit to the bar (no free drinks there though) and spoke to the old (Steptoe lookalike!) owner. He had a few good tales/views to tell (some E didn't agree with) but also told him he put the climbing chain on Uluru. E asked - why is the chain so low? Wherupon the guy clambered down off his stool and all was revealed - he was titchy His station also extends beyond Mt Connor that is often mistaken for Uluru because it is the first red outcrop seen from the highway.
KingsCanyon is a fair distance from Uluru (just over 300 kms) on a road to nowhere and many people don't bother making the trip.But they're really missing out because KingsCanyon was stunning. On our way we were surprised to come round a bend and come across a family of feral camels - large ones, middle ones and a couple of wee ones - all loitering in the road. We got a right glare from one of the big ones as if to say - what are you doing on our patch.
When we pulled onto our pitch who should be next door but Col & Kath - again. Were they in for a surprise when they returned from their walk!It was early afternoon when we arrived but instead of haring off to trek the canyon we decided to take some time to have some R&R as we'd had a busy week full of enjoyable things with Tam at Alice and Uluru/Kata Tjuta.That left us refreshed and raring to go with Col & Kath for a BBQ at the resort's Bar/BBQ joint.This turned out to be another of those quirky, crazy places in the middle of nowhere in the Red Centre and a lively night was had by all.The owners, Reuben and Petrea, put on a show every night - a real bit of family entertainment with lots of kids involved, including Eric.All four of us got roped in at one time or another up on the stage.Petrea seemed to take a fancy to Eric (or Erica as she liked to call him) and every stint in the spotlight earned him another lollypop and, on one occasion, a free drink voucher.The food was really good and plentiful.E&M both had camel T-bone steaks.We only went for them because the Curtin Springs guy had recommended them to Eric.This area takes camel meat seriously, not surprisingly when there are several hundred thousand wild camels roaming the desert and camel meat has become big business - they even export it back to the Middle East! Anyway, the recommendation was good as the steak was absolutely tender and delicious. (Funny thought that most Australians are reluctant to eat non-traditional meat such as camel, kangaroo, crocodile.)Next morning we said a fond farewell to Col & Kath as this was definitely a parting of the ways because they're heading south while we're turning back to the north.Then it was off to do the 6 km Kings Canyon Rim walk which, right at the beginning, involves a 300 metre very steep climb from the floor of the canyon to the top.But it was worth it because the gorge is spectacular and the views are stunning.A couple of detours, which add another 1 km or so, are well worth taking.At the Jim Cotterill lookout you can find yourself standing on thin ledges of rock jutting out over a 300 metre drop, but giving wonderful views down the canyon and over the desert plains below.Then there was the walk along the floor of the canyon to what they call the Garden of Eden.Here there is a permanent waterhole and consequently an abundance of trees and birds.It was a wonderful peaceful place to stop to watch the birds and, for those minded to, to take a cooling dip in the waterhole.The following day we were heading back to Alice but on the way out we did the short walk at the entrance to the gorge to take in the amazing range of wild flowers - they are just fabulous and the scent in the warm morning air was just lovely. We're so pleased that WE didn't miss Kings Canyon - and we've seen it from the air, from the top of the canyon and from the bottom, but we didn't get the T shirt!