No pain, no gain they say. Well after the “pain” of daily 6am gym starts the “gain” bit came when I was able to make it up the 500 steps to the rim of Kings Canyon in the George Gill Range in Watarrka National Park to experience the riches of Australia’s amazing prehistory.
The climb was so worth it despite having to lug up the obligatory two litres of water. To see actual rock-hard evidence that hundreds of millions of years ago central Australia was once a seabed was truly mind-blowing. That evidence of ancient beginnings is not only trapped in the rocks: the prehistoric guise of the cycad plant, sprouting randomly in crevices and profusely in the lush Garden of Eden gorge hidden deep in the canyon, reveals its true “living fossil” status. A defining feature of the canyon, ochre beehive-like domes giving rise to the name The Lost City, were formed over millions of years by erosion in vertical cracks in the sandstone.
Truly mind-blowing…ancient sea beds.
Another “living fossil”…dinosaur descendant.
All this stunning photographic potential hasn’t been lost on the creative industries with Kings Canyon featuring in the film Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Carmichaels Crag, on the outer rim of the George Gill Range, providing the dramatic backdrop for the Qantas children’s choir in their rendition of I Still Call Australia Home.
The added bonus for the home stretch after the six-kilometre, three-hour trek? Our packs were no longer laden with two litres of water.