Mudgee to darwin Day 10 and 11, Kulgera to the big rock/s

Monday, Jul 22, 2013 at 18:37

Member - Lisa & Peter (NSW)

Mudgee to darwin Day 10 and 11, Kulgera to the big rock/s

After the bone jarring roads of the last couple of days, we decided to head up the bitumen to Uluru. We stopped to look at Mt Conner and the salt lake on the other side of the road, checked out Curtin Springs (nice looking free campground here) and got to Yulara campground early in the day. We set up camp, then took a camel ride to see the rock at sunset. Before the ride, we saw their poddy camels, one only less than a week old, that loved to suck our fingers. We rode a tall (very!) camel named Spinifex. This was a great experience, the guides were very enthusiastic and helpful, and obviously loved their work. The camels all looked very healthy. As their passengers were loaded each camel stood up (or rather launched into the air) and some grumbled quite loudly. The ride meandered along among the dunes, with several stops for photos, the guides were happy to take pics of us on our own cameras as well as having a couple of professional photographers along. The camels were very relaxed and just ambled along. When we got back the guides sat each camel down in turn and helped us unload ourselves. Spinifex folded his front legs down, then waited a while before lowering his back end, leaving us in a precarious position for a short time, must have looked very funny (sadly no pic of that).

While we thawed out (it was freezing cold) we had beer or wine plus some homemade bread with Dukkah,and had a look at their pics of the ride, plus some footage of the camel races. They had a very informative display of camel facts and figures. In the old camel trains,a male camel would carry up to 400kg, and grazing camels can go up to a week without water.

After getting dropped back at the campsite, we sat by the pig (Ozpig campfire) and ate our corned beef (cooked while travelling) with mash, veg and white sauce.

The next morning we were up before dawn, taking a drive to the sunrise viewing area. there was way too many people, but a nice view of Uluru as the sun rose. There was a bit too much cloud for great pictures, and it was cold again. Then back to camp as we needed to do some washing. After lunch we went for a wonderful flight in a helicopter (bell jet ranger), first to Kings Canyon crossing 100 miles of beautiful desert country including Lake Amadeus. We landed at Kings Canyon and walked up the floor of the canyon, admiring the native flowering shrubs, and listening to the bird life. We spotted a native parrot (port Lincoln parrot) sadly a bit far away for a good pic. After the walk, it was back in the chopper to fly over the canyon, then back to fly close to Kata Tjuta and Uluru. We got some great pics as the sun got lower, and saw a string of wild camels along the shore of Lake Amadeus. The whole experience took about 4 and 1/2 hours, and though it was expensive, it gave us a great perspective on the whole area and was a wonderful way to see the countryside.

Back at camp, we went to the Outback Pioneer Hotel for dinner (nice ala-carte restaurant) and a couple of drinks.
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