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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Australia: Watarrka (King's Canyon)

A view into from above King's Canyon
Peering into King's Canyon

I was loath to leave Trephina Gorge, but I had to if I wanted to see any of the rest of the Red Centre, so I said goodbye to the crowd, who all assembled to wave me off, and bumped back to Alice Springs, where I shopped, checked over the car, filled it up, and struck south.

Exploring King's Canyon

King's Canyon from the bottom of the gorge
Looking up into King's Canyon from the bottom of the gorge

Sunday, far from being a day of rest, was my chance to explore King's Canyon. I got up before the sun, showered, breakfasted, and hopped in the car, only to find that Oz had decided it was going definitely to be a day of rest for him: the engine wouldn't even turn over. Mechanical failure never bothered me before, though, so I got a jump start from the two lads camped over the lawn from me, thinking that the 35km run to the canyon would charge up the battery, or at worst would prove it was totally dead. Whatever, I got there in one piece, and on time.


Kathleen Springs
Kathleen Springs

After exploring the canyon, I decided to head out to the only other walk in the park, at Kathleen Springs. Oz, though, had other ideas: his battery was truly dead, so after a push start – thank you Dennis and Marion! – I trucked into King's Canyon Resort and tracked down the service station. King's Canyon Resort is the cause of most budget travellers' complaints, but I was very glad it existed, with its stock of new car batteries. A$87 lighter – twice the price of a battery in Melbourne, but worth every cent – and after a bit of hacking around under the bonnet, Oz was back in business, but not after both the couples I'd met in the canyon had come over to check I was OK, and to admire the cheapest and best-travelled car in the whole resort. I'd just broken through the 20,000 kilometre mark on my trip, and it saddened me to see a battery that I'd bought new on my departure reduced to an acid-charred lump of plastic, but at least it'll be a selling point: 'New battery for sale, comes with free Toyota Corona.' Actually, I shouldn't say things like that... cars have feelings too, and it's still a long way to Melbourne.