Kings Canyon and Uluru
We depart Alice, which is bustling in the daytime, but rather depressing at night. A society that uses police officers to racially profile potential alcohol purchasers is broken in so many ways.
We drive to Kings Canyon, the long way round via Hermannsburg. The old mission is still run by Lutheran volunteers, albeit as museum and gallery now. It still feels pretty paternalistic to me, and the whole place has an undertone of unresolved issues. The Namatjira family paintings and general art history are amazing though.
The back road to Kings Creek station is rough, but we make it ok. The Kings Canyon walk is spectacular. Similar to ones I hiked years ago in Utah. Back at the station we eat camel burgers and watch a dingo check out of camp each night.
Then we drive to Uluru, which only T has seen before. The resort town at Yulara is surprisingly tasteful and well run, with a decent supermarket, pub, gallery, a busy auto mechanic (who fixed my unbalanced wheels), and lots of activities for D2 to do. We even get to catch up with some fellow travelers we met in WA.
The rock itself does not disappoint; it's a special place. We walk round it in the day (D2 cycles). At sunset we line up for the view and get the obligatory colour changing photos. Then we get up at 5am to drive to Kata-Tjuta for sunrise, with Uluru in the distance, followed by a walk in the Valley of the Winds, which is also stunning, and quite different to the rock.