AAT kings tour, Ayers Rock Resort to Kings Canyon, is big day out. That’s why Im breaking this article into two, otherwise we just cannot do it justice.With chilly night air carpeting the outback, we left the warmth of our hotel and comfortable beds for the trip to Kings Canyon, which started from the hotel at 4:30am. During the planning for the whole trip, we knew this was going to be the biggest day and it did not disappoint.
Ivor was our driver today, whilst Mitch & Tachi were our guides. Our safety brief for the coach included wearing seatbelts, as we were going to be travelling through the outback where the chances of wild animals darting out onto the road in front of the bus, was a definite possibility.
The best part of the coach ride, we were not crammed onto this big coach like sardines. There was plenty of room to spread out, and before long, most passengers had drifted back off to sleep. After all, within about 15 minutes of leaving the resort, we were now completely out of all services, no phone or internet for the rest of today. Fantastic!Ivor carefully guided the comfortable coach along the deserted outback highway. Mitch added the extra set of eyes for wildlife spotting. Yes certainly seemed like we were in good hands, so oh well, yawn and catch a few zz’s for most. Not for me, I find it very difficult to doze when travelling, but was happy to chill and watch the road ahead.
As light started to filter onto the horizon, passengers stirred, some watching the incredible hues of sunrise light up the outback sky. For the past few hours, we had only had a couple of vehicles heading in the opposite direction or the bumps as we crossed cattle barriers between stations. Other than that there had been a whole lot of nothing. The odd cattle beast or wild brumby came into view on the roads edge as light broke, watching whilst we nosed our way carefully past.
Mitch began to share a few things with us, encouraging people to wake up and start to stretch in anticipation of the station breakfast we were about to consume, all located within around 3 hours drive from the resort.Kings Creek Station is a working cattle & camel station, settled in 1982 by Ian & Lyn Conway. Ian is the grandson of an early indigenous pioneer, whilst Lyn was born in Adelaide. They met in Alice Springs. The station is around 1800 square kilometres, 1700 of which are Crown land, the remaining 110 square is freehold. In the vastness of Australia’s outback, this working station is considered to be a mere hobby farm. Out here, 250 acres is required to maintain 4 head of cattle. That’s a lot of land for not much return.
Not only have they set up this station, Ian & Lyn have poured a lot of their time into providing educational opportunities for Cultural Aboriginal children from this remote outback area. You have to admire people who give back to others.
Over the years, the station has evolved from a working cattle station to becoming the largest exporter of wild camels in Australia, as well as tapping into the lucrative tourism market.
Ian & Lyn have built this station, including the homestead, cafe and the now camping area, all from the ground up. When they came out here there was nothing. One cannot begin to imagine the hardships faced over the years struggling to turn this vast area into a business and family home.Often, Ian will come down and join the tour visitors for breakfast, but unfortunately on this occasion he was not at home. I love to not only delve into the history of how things came to be, but to speak with those who were involved. What you can learn is infinite, knowledge is an incredible part of our life.Leo is the part dingo dog who might be hanging around the breakfast station whilst you visit. He’s allowed your scraps but only if he sits and shakes. Leo didn’t see that as a problem and was most happy to oblige. Unfortunately for Leo, this hearty breakfast was exactly what I needed to start a day which had some physical challenges ahead. Sorry Leo, you missed out on mine!
Charlie on the other hand is the white cockatoo who has his residence on tree branch outside the cafe. Charlie is a little more dismissive, choosing to pose or interact only if it suits him. He’ll let you know if he’s had enough, either turning his back or chewing at the shade cloth whilst always keeping one knowing eye on what you are doing. To me it would have been an absolute treat to spend a few days on this station. But thats not what today was about, and by 7:15am we had vacated this oasis on our way to traverse Kings Canyon, located around 36kms away. I’d love to come back to this area and really delve into the workings, its hard to do something like this justice when you’re just passing through.
As I said, not far to Kings and by 9am we were making our way up the stony climb, onward and upward!
Thank you to all the staff at the station, you were happy to chat, filled our bellies with a good hearty breakfast, and provided an area for some welcome stretches prior to the rest of our day.
If you have the opportunity to visit this station, don’t pass it by. They have a lot of activities as well as accommodation choices available. Immerse yourself in the outback by learning what life is really like here. Hopefully one day, the opportunity will present itself for us to return.
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