Well were back from our trip through central Australia. We crossed the Simpson from Birdsville across the QAA and French Lines to Dalhousie where we had a couple of days just soaking in the springs. Then through Mt Dare to Curtin Springs and on to Yulara for a few days of admiring Uluru and Kata Juta. Then to Kings Canyon where we spent a couple of days walking up and round the Canyon. It was quite a bit drier and a lot more windy than the 8 years ago. There was no water in the pools around the rock and the waterhole at Garden of Eden at Kings Canyon was probably at least a metre lower.
From Kings were went through the Finke Gorge NP on the boggy hole track to Palm Valley. Before reaching the Boggy Hole track we can up against some foreign tourists bogged down to the chassis in bulldust on Giles Road. Huge signs say 4x4 only, bulldust and corrigations in pictures and words, but they still attempted it in their hired Toyota Camray. There isn't any accessable tow points on the camray but we managed to hook up the strap on the front pull him out off the dusthole and then pulled him back through the hole back in the direction they came.
The Finke Gorge track was new territory for us and was very enjoyable - quite different and interesting scenery right along the track. We had a beautiful sandy (not dusty) camping spot. There was a den on dingos close by with pups old enough to go out hunting - you could see all the large and small footprints round the camp in the morning. I managed to locate the den a got a glimpse of one of the pups. Dad had been quite obvious around the camp the afternoon before.
From Boggy hole we went to Palm Valley where we had one of the warmest days for a while. The track to the camping area has been gravelled since our last trip and it was much drier - no water to cross on the way in - so it was easy driving (boring Mark would say). We did the walk through the valley the next day and then drove on and camped at Redbank Gorge in the West McDonalds. Namatjira Drive had been recently bitumened so no washed out creek crossings between Gosse Bluff and the Lookout and no rocks to get punctures like last trip.
We had specifically bought some blowup boats to go up Redbank Gorge. Last time we really wanted to go up - but the water is so cold there is no way could swim unaided (unless you come from one of the scandinavian countries where I believe it is a much more common practice). So Mark and I and Adam and Larissa carted our boats, paddles, batteries and pumps up the K and a half or so to the gorge. The water was much lower then our last visit but we decided to have a go anyway. We took both boats over the first main pool but left one on the rocks and all piled into one to go up the gorge. It was so much fun and the gorge is just spectacular. After going over a number of rocks with the boat and through a number of pools we got to a section which was just too narrow to get the boat through so we never went right through the gorge. (Next time maybe a wetsuit and surfmat). This was such a great experience I would recommend it to anyone.