Camping cost: $1536.73 Sites: 40 Average: $38.42

peteg's blog - travels - NT 2003 08 - 2003 08 18 AliceSprings

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Once again, up before sunrise after a crappy night's sleep. It's amazing how little you need on holidays; I function quite well on bugger-all when I'm not stressed. Checked in at the co-located Adventure Tours office, and grabbed some breakfast from Melanka's bar, conveniently trading from 5am or so.

Natural Born Killers

We got new guides on this trip, fortunately — if only for diversity. I got the impression that the various chaperones have their pet likes and dislikes, and hanging out in central Australia is a majority dislike. (Conversely, the Alice-Darwin trip gets a thumbs-up for unfathomable-to-me reasons.) Paul was new to this gig; he was a bit fresh-faced and green, but affable and more adept than his verbal foot-shooting would lead one to believe. Steve was the old hand, adopting the Woody-Harrelson-in-Natural-Born-Killers look, topped off with rose-coloured coke-bottle-lensed glasses. This was not a reassuring motif for a bloke who's you out to the middle of nowhere, but completely at odds with his world view.

This time the bus was small, with hardly any leg room or anywhere to stash your bag.

First on the list of to-sees was King's Canyon, a big crack in the Earth with all kinds of weirdly-named places: The Ampitheatre, The Lost City, The Garden of Eden. There's a waterhole there, and being winter and in a shady spot, it was bloody cold. I didn't try to swim, but instead watched a pair of ducks bilk the international tourists out of their junk food.