Team Lifestyle Heads to Uluru! – Part 2
Day 8: to William Creek
We had a mile to make today so were up, packed, and on the road early. Two of our number were heading for home, while another group of three joined us on the road.
We headed south to Port Augusta for a fuel top up before heading north and riding the Stuart Highway past stunning inland lakes up to Coober Pedy. After 8+ hours in the car, we were all excited for a leg stretch and pub meal at the Outback Bar & Grill, then a sleep under ground in our first night out of the campers for the trip.
Putting ‘Coober Pedy’ to ‘Dalhousie Springs’ into Google Maps spits out a 358km journey with a drive time of over 13hours! Let’s just say this is an accurate time estimation! The track into Dalhousie Springs is one of the most unforgiving.
But, before we got to the Simpson Desert Regional Reserve, we simply had to visit an iconic Aussie pub: the Pink Roadhouse in Oodnadatta! A sight to behold, we purchased our obligatory pink fluffy stubby coolers then popped down at the TransCon Hotel for an afternoon pick-me up, and several games of darts and pool. We didn’t stay for long though – the tranquil waters of Dalhousie were calling!
No two ways about it: the corrugations and grid crossings into Dalhousie Springs are some of the most brutal we’ve ever encountered. Bouncing along a very dry dirt road, there are several things to consider, including dust, wandering animals, and speed. With seven towing cars in the convoy, by the fifth kilometre on the track, we were 3kms apart and having to relay UHF messages down the line. The corrugations were that rough that the F250 truck travelling with us shook it’s passenger side mirror clean off the car!
The only thing more rough than that road was the knowledge we would all be driving straight back out the very next morning!
Finally arriving at the Springs right on dusk, we quickly set up and got to cooking – fending off a dingo family scavenging for scraps. All 16 of us then had to muster our courage, don bathing suits and brave the single digit temperatures. Dashing down the sandy path to the Spring, we were treated to heavenly hot water and a gorgeous moonless outback night with more stars than we could remember seeing.
I promise you that experience made the drive in and back out so very worth it!
Day 10: to Uluru
Up at the crack of dawn to get scooting to Uluru, we discovered a cheeky dingo had nabbed a pair of boots! Nonetheless, we were back on the dirt shimmying and shaking our way across the NT/SA border to the town of Finke.
After a full day of driving, and two travellers who had never seen the Rock before, we were appropriately fooled by Mount Connor emerging out of the haze before the real Uluru presented itself in the sunset. What an incredible sight!
About ready for an indoor shower and access to a washing machine, we settled in at the Ayres Rock Camp Ground for the night early, shared a drink or five, and anticipated what the next three days would bring.
Day 11: Uluru
We kicked off with a walk around Uluru, experiencing the area and accompanying special feelings of wonder and awe. A trip around the cultural centre was in order, as we learnt more about Uluru and its people.
We then headed off to explore Kata Tjuta from afar and up close. It really is a wondrous place – walking into the Walpa Gorge was simply breathtaking.
Taking advantage of a few quiet hours with nowhere to drive, we cracked open the board games and the esky for a relaxing afternoon. Then, out of nowhere a whirly wind touched down and sent chairs and awnings flying around the campsite for all of one minute! We were very lucky none of our trailers were affected, however a couple of vans down the row from us were sadly not so lucky, with the freak event cutting short several trips.
After recovering from the shock of the afternoon, we all got scrubbed up and headed to the Sounds of Silence Dinner with beautiful views of Uluru and Kata Tjuta and delicious food/drinks.
There, we witnessed a gorgeous marriage proposal! A couple of stunners in our group – Jess and Jase – made it official at sunset in front of an amazing backdrop and 15 of their nearest and dearest <3.
The Dinner is well worth it, and offers catering including bush and regional ingredients, endless drinks, great service, awesome views, and an informative talk about the stars.
Day 12: Uluru
The day many of us had been waiting for was here – we were heading up into the skies in a helicopter to view Uluru and Kata Tjuta from above!
Suffice to say the flight lived up to our expectations! Here are a few photos of our time in the sky:
Not wanting our time at the Rock to end, we packed the BBQ, heaps of snacks, plenty of drinks and headed into the national park to nab a spot at the Uluru Sunset Viewing Area. We had a fun afternoon eating, drinking, and watching the sun set onto a glorious red iceberg. 11/10 would recommend viewing a sunset from here.
Day 13: to Kings Canyon
Leaving Uluru was a sad drive out, but we were heading for the beautiful Kings Canyon so our faces weren’t long for long! Arriving just before lunch, we quickly set up camp at the Kings Canyon Resort and hoed into a cold meat lunch ready for our trek out into the canyon. Unfortunately, we had arrived too late in the day to compete the rim walk, and the valley track was impeded by fallen trees but that didn’t diminish the view or feel of the canyon.
After watching a magical sunset over the canyon, we headed into the Thirsty Dingo for a good old-fashioned hoedown-throwdown with good pub food, flowing drinks, live music, and plenty of dance floor space.
Day 14: to Davenport
Still shaken from the corrugations the week before, we decided to revise our itinerary and stick to the bitumen roads from here on out for the sake of our vehicles. Seeking bitumen altered our original plan of heading through the Finke Gorge to Alice Springs, then down the Plenty Highway to Longreach. Our new path would take us north through the NT to the Three Ways, then south east down through regional QLD.
Our trip north brought with it an increase in temperature that few of us were prepared for: we’d just come from -10 degree mind you! Passing through Alice, we made a B-line for the nearest shopping centre to stock up on shorts and bakery items.
Heading further north, we made camp at Wauchope near Davenport and enjoyed a great night cooking over and by the fire, and singing along to absolute classic songs.
Tune in next week for the final installment, as Team Lifestyle heads for the barren beauty of regional Queensland!
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