Category Archives: Northern Territory

Road to Kings Canyon

Natural pointillism of the road
Natural pointillism of the road

The road from Glen Helen to Kings Canyon was quite an adventure. It was our first long stretch of unsealed road on the trip. I had driven a kilometre in the Barooga State Forest finding Paradise beach, and about 500 metres to get to Stanton Bend at Rutherglen, and 20 km round trip to get to the Australian Museum of Dinosaurs near Winton, but this was a 120 km rattler. While most of the road was find, the few bad patches were horrible to drive – rattling at 40km/h, bone shaking at 60km/h and deafening at 80km/h. We managed to shake off and shatter one or our driving mirrors and dislocate our toilet flap.

Outback humour
Outback humour

The road was pretty straight, but there were a couple of blind bends when we went through gorges. We found the “politically incorrect” street sign shown in the left. I remember it from last time we drove this road (15 years ago). The tin on the other side had been amended from “Put um back down” to “Take a break”.

Kings Canyon

Our next big sight was Kings Canyon. It starts with a terrifying walk up a ridge line.


At the top there is a great view of the plain around.


You then walk through these amazing structures that change at different places, some are like beehives, others like wind carvings.


You get these views of the other cliffs with interesting “swiss cheese” erosions.


Depressingly, half way through the walk you come on a deep chasm you need to climb into and then our the other side – at that point of the work, every contour line is precious!


The walk was very unusual because it rained gently thoughout. As Carmel quipped “How many people have seen Kings Canyon in the wet!”


However, Ash did not mind and enjoyed the various shapes to explore


As did I


The most depressing part of the visit though was the diesel prices!


Glen Helen Gorge

Our first long stop in Northern Territory was at Glen Helen Gorge. This place is 130 km west of Alice Springs. It sounds a long way, but we drove to Alice and back twice while we stayed there!


The camp site is at the base of a beautiful cliff – all vertical strata. You can walk down to the gorge but there is a deep pool keeping us from travelling through. I had intended to use our canoes to travel through, but there was no point – it was a small pool.

Glen Helen Gorge from the far side
Glen Helen Gorge from the far side

As you can tell, Carmel and Ash did a tour of the gorge from the air.


Dog and I felt like the doctors from M*A*S*H having to run to a dusty hill top when we came back to greet the travellers.


Other airborne residents were very friendly.


Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles)

TripToKarluKarluAfter crossing into Northern Territory, we reached the northern most point of our tour, just east of Tennant Creek, and then we turn for home, but stopped to walk around Karla Karla. (Well, poor dog had to stay in the car – he will not see much of the sights of NT alas.)

We reach the Devil's Marbles
We reach the Devil’s Marbles

The walk around the stones is most pleasant, and quite astonishing. There are rocky outcrops all over the NT, but for some reason only here are large, nearly spherical boulders formed.


When you get close, you cannot see how it is happening, but you can see daylight as a new boulder separates from the base rock.


Ash enjoyed the climbing opportunities the boulders offered.


Even Carmel allowed me to take a photo of her.