Alice Springs to Kings Creek
I slept well last night and woke up at 5am because I was cold. I noticed the alarm on my phone was going off and flashing, but it was only vibrating even though I set it to ring loudly – therefore I didnâ€™t hear it through my earplugs. So I got up and washed up and then I realized it was actually 5 and not 6am, the time we were actually supposed to wake up. Oops! Guess my phone was set to the wrong time.
At the real 6:00, I started getting ready and we left the room at 6:40 to meet the bus. We were the last ones on so we got cruddy seats. I was stuck in the back seat, which spanned the width of the bus, with Mike and a couple. Very incomfy and squished! So after we stopped at the office to pay, I moved to the front seat next to the driver. Much more room, much better view! And I got to play DJ and put on different cds.
Our first stop was Simpsonâ€™s Gap, near the McDonnell Ranges. It was basically 2 big orange hills/rocks with a gap in-between and a little watering hole. Very nice. There were also many rocks piled in front of the hills to form a sort of cliff, which wallabies like to hang out. We got to see a few hop around – theyâ€™re so cute!! Theyâ€™re like mini-kangaroos. Then we had to do an ice breaker [laaaame but typical] and of course the group was dominated by Europeans, but everyone is around my age so itâ€™s good.
I love driving on the bus! I could stare out the window all day. The roads are almost completely empty and all you have is wide-open land in front of you – dark orange sand with little green/yellow tufts of bush sticking up and some small trees/schrubs occasionally. Itâ€™s crazy how the land just seems to go on forever. Youâ€™d also see the occasional dead kangaroo on the side of the road. We also saw a [live] dingo by the road as well.
We ended up not going to Rainbow Valley due to recent flooding, which is why we did the gap. Our next stop was Stuartâ€™s Well, at Jimâ€™s Place [campground/store/animal farm], where we spent a few hours hanging out. I got to have coffee and had a look around the store/cafe, which had a lot of old historical stuff on the walls. The main attraction was Dinky the singing dingo, a breed of dog that sings along to piano music. Apparently heâ€™s world-famous for his talent and featured in Trivial Pursuit! Pretty neat, although howling isnâ€™t the most pleasant sound.
After awhile, Melvin Mike and I went outside and took pictures on the road. We did that thing from the Notebook where they layed in the middle of the road since there were no cars around. Then we all had lunch on the patio and there were flies everywhere, especially in your face. Ugh. People actually started buying nets to wear over their headsâ€¦ looks silly, but keeps the flies away. We left around 12:15.
After more driving [SW], we stopped at Erldunda around 2:15. I browsed the shop and looked at all the different currencies on the wall. Eventually we left en route to our camp at Kingâ€™s Creek, a station that runs heli tours, camel rides, harley rides, and quad rides through the Outback. Our site was covered in orange sand and had a trailer with swags inside for us to use. We set up our swags/tents on a small patch of grass on the sand, all crowded together like a sleepover in a school gym. Swags are like canvas sleeping bags with a mattress inside, and you put your actual sleeping bag inside and sleep outside under the stars. Our site also had an indoor kitchen [sink, table, counter, fridge] and a picnic table under an awning.
We had some free time before dinner, so M M and I went to the camp store and split some chips. Then we walked down the road to see the sunset but it was too cloudy so nothing really happened. Dinner was spaghetti bolognese – yum. It was ready around 7:15 and I was STARVING having been up since 5am. After dinner, a bunch of us sat around the table talking. It was a good group, all of us in our early 20â€™s, different backgrounds. I was really tired and out of it, but we talked about ghost stories and scary movies. I now need to see Wolf Creek, a true story/movie about backpackers in Australia who get kidnapped!
Since we had to be up by 5am, I started getting ready for bed at 9:30. I woke up at 1am and everyone was asleep, but it was bright out from the full moon. I couldnâ€™t stop looking at the sky, which was covered in puffy clouds illuminated by the moon. And it was actually warm out at night! Apparently when I was sleeping, Melvin took a picture of me in my eyemask and earplugs, mouth wide openâ€¦ what a pretty sight!