Friday 29 January 2010

Better off red

I have to write an off-road Northern Territory story so I've been nosing through stuff from a trip I did through the Red Centre four years ago. That was fun, especially since NT Tourism was working with Lexus on this one, and we had six brand-new LX470s to drive - nine cup-holders each, need I say more?

It was tragic, actually: the guy who took these photos, Sam Tinson, was one of those eager snappers who wants to cover every angle, so he spent most of the time with his sunroof open, lying on the roof of his vehicle taking photos of the rest of the convoy as we bounced along in a cloud of fine dust. His car was full of the staining red stuff within the hour, while even ours, with the windows tight shut (air-con full on, naturally), were infiltrated - the leather upholstery and walnut veneers were never the same again.

We drove from Alice Springs along the Mereenie Loop past Palm Valley and Kings Canyon to Uluru (Ayers Rock for the unreconstructed), staying in fancy lodges or camping under the stars. Guess which I remember better?

>>> At night it’s a different story, however, and the prospect that a heat-seeking reptile might choose to share my swag as I slept under the stars had enlivened many moments of quiet reflection on the road to Palm Valley, in the West MacDonnell Ranges south-west of Alice Springs. This is the kind of thing that gives Kiwis both an added dimension of excitement when camping in Australia, and a reputation as complete wusses amongst the natives. Too polite to hoot scornfully at my fears, the camp director assured me that the low wooden platforms scattered around the site were not only multi-functional – bed, table, bench – but also carefully designed in height and overhang to be an insurmountable challenge to any snake. "Depends on the size of the snake," Matt from Melbourne chipped in helpfully. "Have you seen a really big snake rear up?" And he turned dismissively from the knee-high platform to consider the dimensions of the dining table, where the wine glasses at each setting on the linen cloth caught the flickering light from the campfire...



MsDarkstar said...

I do not approve of snakes in my bed, either.

TravelSkite said...

No, nor spiders or beetles either. Call me leggist - I insist on two, no more, no less.


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