“Staying at Chifley Alice Springs Resort and Kings Canyon Resort, I must say that I was secretly quite eager about tackling the Red Centre Way – with a Rav 4 from Hertz! Read about my adventure here…”
So the accommodation was booked, tours planned and car fuelled up and ready to go as Helen, Jane, Shirley, Sally and myself took to road for the ultimate Red Centre road trip driving from Alice Springs
to Kings Canyon
and ultimately to view the always spectacular Uluru
We flew into Alice Springs
at around midday and made our way directly to the Hertz
counter to pick up our 4WD. We were in for some serious driving and I must say that I was quite eager in hitting the dirt roads. I had begun hinting on the plane about how maybe I would be the most suitable driver on this adventure, even though Sally had been travelling in these parts quite often, but I had the dirt road experience growing up on a farm where the only access in and out being rough gravel roads.
We were advised by Hertz
that we were allocated a Rav 4 and we trooped out to inspect the vehicle, “Yep” said Sal, “this should get us there” and we clambered in. We had been worried that five girls and luggage wouldn’t fit very comfortably, but we did fit in quite well and had extra space to spare.
Sal decided to drive into town and we made our way to the Chifley Alice Springs Resort
to check in. We had chosen the Chifley as it was close to town (walking distance) and a good price, plus I wanted to see my friend Kylie who worked there and thought this was a good opportunity. We checked in and were led to the Deluxe River Gum rooms. Now, I know this may provoke images of rooms overlooking a lovely flowing river with gum trees dotted along the banks, but don’t be fooled. You are in Central Australia and this is desert country. The Todd River only flows with water extremely sporadically so your views will be over the dry river bed that is filled with great big gum trees. It’s quite pretty and it’s worth taking the time to appreciate it from your balcony.
We drove around town that afternoon taking in the sights. Other than Sal, this was our fist trip to Alice Springs
and we were eager to visit Araluen Cultural Precinct, Anzac Hill, Telegraph Station and the Alice Springs Desert Park. After driving around town we headed back to the resort for a much needed swim, freshen up and dinner at the Barra on Todd Restaurant.
The next morning we set off from Alice Springs to Kings Canyon, in our sturdy little Rav 4, and we decided that the Red Centre Way was the most adventurous path. The air was tingling with excitement as we could think of nothing more exhilarating that five young lasses venturing into the unknown of the outback.
After a quick stop off to get our pass for the Red Centre Way (as it goes through Indigenous lands), it was decided by the group that I would drive the 250kms of dirt road. It was the belief of the group, that my experience in utes, dirt roads and paddocks would be best suited to this type of road trip. I was quite pleased with this decision.
We stopped off along the way at Standley Chasm and marvelled at the sharp edges, laughed at the life saver ring at Ormiston Gorge (as there was very little water at the time and it looked entirely useless) enjoyed lunch at Glen Helen Resort and finally admired the view over Gosse Bluff from the lookout. While at the lookout we noticed the sky was darkening and could see that there were some rain storms on the horizon. Undeterred we set off to hit the dirt road.
Cruising along the road and enjoying the landscape, wildlife (we saw brumbies!) and laughing at some of the outback road signs, we noticed the sky was beginning to look sinister and sure enough, soon after, the heavens opened. You may say that a bit of rain and dirt road should be nothing for a country girl who should have been fishtailing the car around the corners with glee…..but….this wasn’t pretty little droplets falling from sky, no, this was waves, sheets of water, buckets and oceans of water! With the windscreen wipers on full throttle and still being virtually blind, I navigated around corners and still managed to fishtail them even at 30kms per hour, as all that dirt had now become a sea of mud.
With a furrowed brow, I skippered the Girls on Tour through the desert squall and almost five hours after setting off from Alice Springs, saw a rainbow on the horizon. We chased the rainbow to find our pot of gold being sealed road and a sign saying there was only 10km until Kings Canyon Resort
We eventually arrived at the resort with our red Rav 4 (which was once white) and headed straight to the “Under a Desert Moon
” dining experience where we were welcomed with a very well earned glass of champagne. The rain had cleared up and we were do very glad as this was one of the most anticipated activities from the trip. Everyone is seated around a campfire that is surrounded by these towering Ghost Gum trees that are light up. The atmosphere is intimate as only a few tables are allowed. There was our group of girls (across two tables) and three other couples. Helen and I looked at the campfire, tested the wind direction and headed for the opposite table from the fire and the way the smoke was drifting. Though within five minutes, the smoke swung around and headed in our direction. I seem that I am just one of those people that the smoke seems to follow!
We then enjoyed a 6 course menu that was simply divine! Each course has matching wines and after our long day on the road had started to go straight to my head. Totally relaxed, Sally suggested that we head to the George Gill Bar for a night cap.
We ambled up the road to the bar and found a group of energetic people all watching the singing sensations of the locals. It seems it was Karaoke night. We headed to the bar and ordered a round of drinks and then found ourselves a small table and settled around it. Soon enough, Sally sidled up to me, “So Meredith, what are you going to sing for us tonight?” “Nothing” I reply “I don’t think anyone wants to hear me sing tonight” and before I knew it my name was being read over the loud speaker. Confused, I look at Sal who cheekily laughs “I’ve already put your name down” and I am being pushed towards the microphone. “What am I singing?” I called out to her and heard “It’s Raining Men”! Hmmm excellent.
Well, there’s nothing to do but sing with all my heart and soul and give it 100%. Trying not to laugh the entire time, I belted out the tune and soon enough the other girls join me and we are all singing our hearts out.
At the conclusion of the song, we decided that was enough for that night and headed to bed. We were staying in the Deluxe Spa rooms which was so nice to relax into a little bit of comfort and luxury when you really are so far outback. It was going to be an early start the next morning as we were going to tackle the Kings Canyon Rim Walk
. Setting my alarm for 6am, I fell into bed and was deeply asleep within minutes.