Friday, 27 May 2016

Half-lap Day 21: Uluru -> Kings Canyon

When I woke up I heard dingoes howling from various spots around the campground. Later in the morning as we were getting ready to leave we heard a howl and then saw a dingo at the base of the sand dunes right near us. There was much excitement all round and he disappeared into the bushes before anyone could get a photo.

We packed up, which was a pretty big job after 4 days, and were ready to leave by 11. We waved goodbye to Uluru and set off back East. We stopped at Curtin Springs to get fuel and the kids and wandered around to see the emu (1 emu by himself, standing in his little food shelter and looking like he wanted to escape) and the native bird aviary (lots of budgies and other colourful birds). We continued the drive east and then turned to go up to Kings Canyon. We arrived at Kings Canyon resort around 2pm, after watching the ranges rise up from the flat ground for a while before we arrived.

The unpowered area was unassigned, so we looked around for a bit and found a spot near the fence with a partial view across to the ranges. There were ant holes everywhere, but they didn’t ever bother us. We camped next to a couple that Caitlin had met a few times (at Marla and at Uluru) so chatted to them on and off. While we were setting up a dingo wandered over to check us out – the first of many. The dingoes wander the campground constantly, and keeping food away from them is quite tricky. They aren’t aggressive, and they aren’t scared. The information around the park says not to chase them or lunge at them – it’s hard to know what to do when they are trying to steal things off our table.

Once we were set up I took the kids to the pool for a swim while Tony checked out the general store. Milk was $3 for 1L of UHT and the white bread was $5.50, meat was very expensive so we decided to use our current supplies of food while we were here. As we were getting ready to go Millie and I had a collision through the tent door (we both went to open it at once, from either side, and her hand collided with my ear, and as I stood up in pain my elbow collected her chin). I quickly opened the door and scooped her out of the tent, and as I crouched down to cuddle her and make sure she was ok, my pants split, from just above the knee to half way up my leg! I had a brief swim – the water was not quite as cold as at Yulara, still pretty cold though. A couple of other kids came to swim as well, a 14 year old boy and 6 year old girl. Caitlin and LiAM swam and played with the boy for ages, Millie and the girl played on the grass near the pool and in the playground. They were very similar and got on really well. The mum came over and we chatted for a while, and the girls went back to Millie’s friend’s caravan to do some drawing. After the swim everyone had a shower and Millie talked a bit more to her friend. We sat at the tent doing puzzles and reading and enjoying some quiet time.

I went up to the sunset viewing platform with LiAM – it was too cloudy for an impressive sunset, but we did chat to our friends from the sunrise platform at Yulara. There was a drinks bar at the viewing platform and LiAM was briefly excited – it was $5 for a can of soft drink, and between $9 and $11 for a beer, so we decided to leave those drinks where they were.

Caitlin was sitting and reading at the table before dinner and looked up to see a dingo standing on the table – gave her a bit of a shock! Millie and I met one in the dark as we walked between 2 caravans – it seemed a bit scared of us and we were a little nervous too, we edged past each other without incident, it was the first time I’d seen one that wasn’t fully confident. We had tuna and rice for dinner and then packed up our tubs so that nothing was exposed for the dingoes. We put stuff in the trailer or tent and stacked the rest. I sewed up my pants, and Caitlin’s leggings which had also split along the leg seam that day. LiAM left his window open so that he could see if any dingoes came – and just after I’d finished reading he saw a dingo climb up to the top of our stack of tubs and knocked the two lighter ones off the top. We scared him off before he took anything, and put more stuff in the tent and trailer and made sure that everything that was left was very securely fastened.

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