I’m a firm believer that it’s the parts of the journey you don’t plan for that have the potential to make the most memorable moments. Our travels through the Northern Territory proved this theory. We had a list of most popular icons we wanted to tick off our list. When we arrived in Central Australia we headed straight to Australia’s largest icon, but once we’d explored Uluru with the kids, we discovered there was more to the region than just the popular monolith.
We visited the Olgas, only taking a short look because the kids were so little and had already done a lot of exploration, it was a beautiful sight, and I can’t wait to take them back there now they are getting older.
We’d made friends with an overly friendly emu at Curtin Springs who apparently had a fetish for hot chips and made its way into the car in search of a treat, and I may or may not have given a little squeal at it’s enthusiasm.
Then we figured, while we were in the area, we should probably visit King’s Canyon, so, not knowing where we were going to stay, we headed off into the unknown to discover another part of Australia’s brilliance.
Central Australia is red. The dirt stains clothing, cars, skin, anything that comes into contact with it, so at this stage of our journey, almost everything had taken on an outback hue.
As we travelled toward Kings Canyon we spotted a place to stay; “Kings Creek Station”. A working camel station that also offers accommodation, so we figured why not. To this day I still remember the conversation Matt had with the guy who checked us in, and my reaction at the time makes me giggle now.
“Would you like a grassed site or are you happy just on the dirt? We try our best to keep a couple of grassed sites.”
(Remember the outback is dry and dusty, keeping green grass here DOES take a lot of effort, and it was something we hadn’t seen in a while, let alone set our tent up on!)
“Nah mate, don’t waste your grassed site on us, we’re happy with the dirt, kids are covered in it already.”
I tell you, grass seemed like such a luxury at the time, although I didn’t really mind, I was used to the dirt by then, but I really remember wishing we could have just one day with some greenery under the tent. If we had to make the choice again though, I’m sure we’d do the same thing, that red stain is part of the outback experience.
So, what do you eat for dinner when you’re staying on a camel station? Why, camel stroganoff of course. We figured we should get into the spirit, and while I haven’t had the opportunity to eat camel since, it was a nice meal at the time, and I’m sure we’ll give it another go when we take the kids back again, this time trying one of the famous camel burgers.
Kings Creek Station was the first campfire we’d had in a while, so we pulled out the marshmallows, took in the amazing outback sky, and it was such the perfect place to base ourselves for exploring Kings Canyon the next day.
There is just something so beautiful about the Northern Territory, it’s industry, it’s people, it’s culture and it’s red dirt that stains everything from your clothes to your skin, before making it’s way to steal your heart. It’s the little things, the unexpected things that will make your journey so much more memorable. I can’t tell you enough to look beyond the major landmarks and soak in the small, memorable moments you’ll look back at so fondly for years after your travels.