Departure was at 5:00 a.m. Everyone had to make their own breakfast, wash up, roll up their sleeping bags, load their things in the truck and then we were ready. We admired the sunrise from a lookout point, but this time only with about 50 other people. Looked nice, but we were ready to look for “crawling animals”. We marched between the boulders of Kata Tjuta for about three hours, on the lookout for animals all the time. All life seemed to be extinct at ground level, but there was a lot of interesting bird life. We were able to observe Zebra finches and other bird species from a distance of about 1m.
The group became impatient. We explained to our driver that we were tired of viewing platforms, tourists and red stones. We wanted to explore the wilderness, looking for “critters”. He seemed surprised, because that’s exactly what most visitors don’t want.
Wanting to make us happy, he drove us into the absolute wilderness. We were finally there and we turned around stones to our hearts’ content to look for “crawling creatures”. Now we were completely satisfied, although we still didn’t find any animals.
Surface measurements on the red sand indicated a painful 63 °C. We assumed that the animals also disliked those temperatures and were most probably active in the morning or evening. So we used the time to drive 300 km to the next destination, the Kings Canyon.
Here a waterhole between the rock walls in the middle of the desert awaited us. Because it only rains 3-4 days a year we were absolutely baffled where the huge amounts of water had come from. The water temperature was 22-23 °C. The view resembled an oasis.
We set up camp and went looking for campfire wood in our immediate surroundings. Here everybody had to show how great they were and we all returned more wounded than after a battle. Later we had a barbeque over the open flames of the cosy fire.
Many of us were sleeping in the open air - in a camp but without a tent - for the first time. A really great experience! A night beneath 1000 stars. The sky was clear. The animals we hadn’t found during the day didn’t show their face at night either. But nobody really needed a snake in their sleeping bag...