Back on the Mereenie Loop
Our trusty Prado took us back past Namatjira’s house and via the T-junction where we had earlier in the day come from Gosse Bluff.
From here, the road took on various terrains: smooth and freshly graded gravel, through to rocky and rough corrugations, as we ventured another 150km on to King’s Canyon.
The colours of the landscape constantly changed. From soft beige and greens to bright orange and pinks. It was breathtaking. We stopped a few times to take in the scenery as well as check out the termite mounds. We hunted for trap-door spider nests but to no avail.
I introduced Ma to the wonders of Hema maps on the iPad so that she could track via GPS exactly where we were. It was handy for identifying the various hills and outcrops that we came across.
By mid-afternoon, we had reached the entry to King’s Canyon. Throughout the day we had played leap frog with this fabulous off-road truck. I was impressed by the cutaway at the rear.
During the final kilometre of gravel on the Mereenie Loop, we came across a cyclist pushing his bike up a big hill. He had panniers that seemed to be carrying his worldly possessions. We pulled up alongside to make sure he was ok.
Through broken English, we understood that he was fine; he had cycled over 100km today on some very corrugated sections of road. We couldn’t believe it – he was on a normal touring road bike. Just how many tyres he would have punctured we couldn’t imagine.
While admiring the view from the lookout just ahead, the crazy German cyclist arrived a few minutes later. We gave him a few of our water bottles and he indicated he was stopping over night at Kings Canyon campground.
In another 25km we reached Kings Creek Station – our home for the next two nights.
Kings Creek Station
This is a working station, although the accommodation, campground, café and shop seem to be the main source of activity and revenue. Helicopter flights depart regularly throughout each day, and you can even do a quad bike your around the station.
Our safari hut was a great set up. I had been so worried that we would be freezing, but the canvas of the hut was snuggly secured to the ground and the hut was furnished with two very comfortable single beds, a small table and a heater – just perfect. The toilet and shower facilities were fine – we weren’t too far away – and the bore water showers had loads of pressure and heat.
Our trusty Prado was ready for some fuel, so we decided to fuel up at the station while there was no queue. And there was a pretty good reason for no queue – $2.48/litre for diesel and $2.57/litre for ULP. Crikey, we knew it would be expensive in such a remote area, but really? Well, if it supports the station to keep operating and provide a service then we’re happy to pay, I guess…
For dinner, we ate in the café, which served basic but hearty meals. A bacon and egg sandwich fit the bill perfectly for each of us. After dinner we joined other travellers around the fire pit and listened to where they had explored today and an interesting exchange of tips and ideas.
In the carpark was a big red Nissan Patrol ute with massive mud pluggers. We chatted with this guy and it turns out he was from WA, only 20km or so from where we live. Mr Patrol had driven the Great Central Road towing his brand new MDX cross-over caravan.
The suspension on his 5-week old caravan had failed and so was now stranded at Yulara while waiting for parts to be shipped on the once-a-week delivery truck. The guy was positive about how helpful MDX had been with the parts, but it had left him to fill in time in the area for a week, and miss a group crossing of the Simpson Desert with a Patrol Club.
After a big day of driving, we were ready for sleep. We tucked in warm and cosy in our safari hut and slept like babies.
Tomorrow: hike into Kings Canyon and Kathleen Springs.