When I arrived in Kings Creek station via bus, Lily from Kings Canyon Wilderness Lodge was there to pick a few of us up. She was petite and in her 40’s with a sly smile. She drove an dirty, beat up SUV, perfect for this desert environment.
The Australian outback is not at all what I was expecting. I had expected this red wasteland – flat, red, and barren. But instead I was surprised to find green plant life all around. Short, bushy, vibrant trees filled the landscape and seemed to glow against the red landscape. I had arrived in Autumn in the Northern Territory of Australia and I quickly determined that it’s the best time to be there – the temps were pleasant, the flies weren’t as bad as the summer, and there were green bushes.
With no internet or cell connection – this camping is the real thing. Never mind that inside the tent is a queen size bed, electricity, and separate tented bathroom with shower and hairdryer. Ok – it’s just about the real thing. Actually, it’s my kind of camping – it’s glamping! This glamping experience was a bit ‘rougher’ than the others I experienced in Australia but there is a reason it’s called glamping… it still was glamorous even though it was out in the middle of nowhere!
The tent was completely canvas and built on a decked platform. It had 5 zip up windows, electricity, a separate tent bathroom, and evena little back ‘door’ and patio to sit and look out on the scrubby bushes of the dusty, red outback. I didn’t actually spend much time in the tent though as there were a number of communal activities that kept me busy at the camp. It started with drinks by the fire served up by Lily and then we were all ushered to a rustic table. We sat outside under the stars eating canapés of smoked kangaroo, cheese, and avocado. The dinner and dessert were also just as impressive with salad, mashed potatoes, barramundi fish, lamb, and sticky date pudding for dessert. Lily was our entertainment bonding all of us traveling strangers together under the stars. She wore a little black dress while she gracefully placed logs on the fire and served food and stories up in an equal amount.
The people who live in remote communities always fascinate me. Lily said that shehoards newspaper and magazines because they get one mail delivery a week and one truck comes through the station a week. I found myself doing a little inventory in my head of my backpack trying to remember if I had any old magazines I could give her before I left! Once I retired to my tent after a nightcap of port around the fire, I heard the howling as soon as I lay down to go to sleep. Dingoes. The sound came from my left; it felt as if it was far away. I hoped it was far away. I dozed off for a few hours, however it felt like minutes when I woke up againto more howling. I could also hear a slow whistling hum. I lay there with my mind churning on the whistling sound. What was it? Then I realized it was the wind blowing through the tough, scrubby green brush trees in the outback. I wanted an outback glamping experience, and now I was getting it – complete with a pack of howling dingoes.
Despite my restless dingo filled night, I had to wake up early the next day for the main reason I came here to Kings Creek Station; the Kings Canyon Rim hike. Our Guide, Graham, pointed out various plant life and trees during the hike – some of which was over 600 years old. He also shared stories about the aboriginal culture from this area. The hike was a total of 6km and it wound around the top of the canyon providing you views over the sheer sandstone cliffs and into the valley 150 m below. The only challenging part of the hike was the initial 10 to 15 minute uphill climb to get to the rim. But it’s worth it as once you get to the top you have 3 more hours of walking and enjoying the lovely views.
Besides the hike, there’s plenty more to do during a two-night stay in the area. There are camel rides, helicopter rides, ATV rentals, and a small restaurant at the nearby Kings Creek station. The outback doesn’t really have towns – they have stations. The stations (ranches) were the only things really on this land. Kings Creek Station was a camel farm and tourist bus stop. Most of the stations herd cattle and they are normally about 1,000,000 acresand can have upwards of 8,000 to 15,000 head of cattle on them. The areas are so vast that they herd them with helicopters!
The little station café served up a rather unusual but tasty camel burger as camel meat is a staple out in these parts of the outback. Get the deluxe burger and you’ll find a lettuce, tomato, cheese, onions, fried egg, and a pineapple slice on your burger! After a few nights listening to dingoes, swapping stories by the campfire, sleeping in a tent, hiking, and eating camel burgers – I felt like I had a real outback experience!
Sherry Ott is a long term traveler, blogger, and photographer with one goal in mind – to make you wish you were somewhere else. She seeks out epic adventures to intriguing places and writes about her around the world adventures on Ottsworld.com. You can also follow her live travels on Instagram and Twitter.