With a hearty pub meal in our stomach and a good nights sleep we headed north. This time on the smooth bitumen of the Stuart highway. A nice change from the rough roads we had driven the previous two days. Driving 74 kilometres we then turn west on to the Lasseter highway. But not before getting fuel and having lunch at the Erdunda road house.
There was no way to escape the fact we were back in civilisation and at a very busy tourist stop. The Erdunda roadhouse is the half way stop for all the tourist going to Uluru from Alice Spring. As well as a major fuel and rest stop for caravans and road trains traveling along the Stuart highway. It was a shock to the system after being in such remote area over the last few days
107 kilometres along the Lasseter highway we turned onto the Luritja road. Once again heading north. Alec and I weren’t going to Uluru just yet. Our goal Kings canyon.
Arriving in the afternoon we found a home at the Kings Canyon resort. Staying in single room accommodation for the 2 nights.
Unfortunately we didn’t see much of the canyon. Alec was a little young to do the rim walks. So we decided to do the 2km walk into the canyon. However we got half way in and found the track closed.
Leaving Kings Canyon we traveled on the Red centre way. This well maintained gravel road loops around to the MacDonnell ranges. A permit is required as the road passes though Aboriginal lands. I enquired at the resort reception and was told ” Yes you do, however we can’t sell you one as we don’t have any left. They are supplied by the local traditional owner’s and they havent supplied any new ones. However it will be fine to travel the road.” At least I tried.
We had been traveling for a while soaking in the amazing country as we went. We came across a turn off and a sigh pointing to the Tnorala conservation reserve 12 kilometres away. We could see a small mountain range in the distant and decided to go have a look. I am glad we did. The mountain range turns out to be the remains of crater formed by a comet crashing to earth 142.5 million years ago. A picnic area is located in the centre of the crater and a number of small walk’s start from there. Alec and I climbed a rocky out crop to a look out. Alec did an amazing job climbing. We pretended we were mountain climbers.
From the crater we continued to the MacDonnell ranges. Stopping to take photo of the amazing hills and mountains as we went.
We stayed at Glen Helen resort. This time sleeping in simple bunk house accommodation. A small room with 2 bunk beds, a light, fan and communal bathroom and shower. We were only going to stay 2 nights but the service, food and location was amazing so we stay 3 nights. I can’t recommend this place enough.
We spent our days exploring the gorges of the Macdonnell rangers and having the occasional cold swim.
With reluctance with left Glen Helen and made the short trip back to Alice Springs. We had to get ready for the next part of our journey, and meet up with family who are flying in to join Alec and myself on our next part of the journey.
The story of the missing child.
Glen Helen resort is located near the Glen Helen gorge. The main section of the gorge and swimming hole is approximately 500 metres walk from the resort.
Alec and I had arrived back to Glen Helen after another day of exploring the gorges. We were having a treat and relaxing on the resorts deck which over looked the river and the cliffs of Glen Helen gorge. While doing this I started chatting with a family from Western Australia. Alec got bored with daddy chatting and wandered in the reception and bar area. By this stage the staff had gotten to know Alec. I assumed he had found someone to play with or at the least had found something to occupy him.
After about 10 mins one of the staff members found me and said they think Alec has wandered down to the gorge. They had received a report of a child by him self down by the water.
I toke off down the gorge and found Alec coming back up with some fellow travelers . They had realised he was alone and got him to follow them back up.
Alec was a little upset when I reached him. I gave him a big hug and we had a talk about what had happen. He told me that I had promised him a swim and that’s why he wandered off.
A couple of days later we were back in Alice springs and just so happened to be camping next to the family from Western Australia. I woke up early one morning desperately needing to pee. Alec was still sound asleep so I grabbed my shower stuff. I figured I might as well have a morning shower while at the amenities block.
I quickly had my shower then headed back to camp. As I got closer to camp I could see my neighbours up and about and around my camp. Then I saw Alec up and about.
Alec had woken up and decided to get up and look for daddy. The family had heard Alec and was looking after him. I was so embarrassed. Twice in as many days this family had seen me fail as a father. They didn’t seem to mind but I did.
From then on I have been much more cautious. I have changed how I parent to accommodate Alec’s new-found independence and his ability to use zips.