Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Websites Listed in My Favorite Bathroom Book (Part 12)

It's time for me to look at another website in my favorite bathroom book!

Today I'm going to be looking at Kings Canyon Resort, which is somewhere in the Northern Territory.

Yesterday I wondered again...what if I end up wanting to go to the Northern Territory instead of Tasmania? What if something happens, or I see something, that compels me to want to visit. Is there a way to make it somewhat affordable?

I realized there is: Go on a shorter trip. Lodging is going to cost us probably close to $200 a night.  If we subtract 8-10 days from our itinerary, that will save us $1600-2000. Although I think often we spend less than $200 per night...especially if we're staying at holiday parks. So, that's kind of an overestimation.

But anyway, if we cut out some nights, it will save us some money.  We can use that money for airfare and over-priced lodging around Uluru.

Yesterday I started looking at flights to the Alice Springs and Uluru area. Then I ended up looking at flights to Brisbane, and I got bad news. You can't fly directly to Brisbane from DFW. We have to either stop in Los Angeles (which Tim insists we don't do again, and I agree with that).  Or we have to fly to Sydney and then hop over to Brisbane. With that I have to ask, should we leave the airport then, and spend a day or two in Sydney? We probably should.  OR we could go to Los Angeles, but make it fun—spend a few days at Disneyland.

Also, this is all me worrying about something that's not going to happen for 8-9 years. (yes, I'm crazy). So by then, they might have direct flights to Brisbane. Actually...who knows. They might even have teleportation; or super fast jets that will get us to Australia in less than an hour.

Well...now I shall start looking at the Kings Canyon Resort website.

They say they're located between Alice Springs and Uluru. I forgot how far apart those two places are? Is it an hour or two; or much longer?

Let me look at Google Maps.  It's six hours! Wow.

I just added Kings Canyon Resort to the map.

Google Maps says it's four hours from Uluru, and five hours from Alice Springs.  That doesn't seem very convenient to me.  I think it would be easier to fly into Alice Springs, stay there for sometime if you're interested; then drive to Uluru. From what I remember, you can't stay very close to Uluru, but I'm pretty sure there are places closer than four hours away.

Yes. Here we go. TripAdvisor has a short list of lodgings that are about five miles away from Uluru.

I think it would be better to stay there...unless you save a ton of money by staying at Kings Canyon Resort. Or maybe it's a good place to stay if you want to do something off the beaten path. Maybe the King's Canyon area is less beaten than the Uluru area.

Here is the about page for the Kings Canyon Resort. It includes a warning that there's no mobile phone coverage.

The page includes a photo of the area. There's lots of beautiful redness. In the past, I would say it reminds me of Australia. Now it makes me think of Arizona.

There's links here to a lot of other things. The website is a bit overwhelming. I'm not sure where to go next.

Here are their weather averages.   I think I'd like May and August the best. It's in the mid to low 70's (23-24 celsius). To me, that's perfect weather.

They also have a list of sunset times. It's interesting. There's not much variation. The earliest is June with 6:33 pm, and the latest is January with 7:35 PM.  I'm guessing part of the reason is there's no daylight savings time. But is that all? Is that why we (here in Texas...and other places I've lived) have such variation?

I'm having a hard time finding sunset information. I thought I could find a chart somewhere about Texas. So far, that's not happening.

But this website has Houston's sunset for today.  It's 5:22. Without daylight savings time, it would be 6:22.

Then what about June?

Oh...forget it. I'm not finding it.  I can find current information, but nothing about the summer.

I thought it was about nine, but maybe I'm wrong and it's eight. Then if it's eight and we subtract an hour for the daylight savings stuff, it would be seven. So it WOULD be a short variation like King's Canyon.

Anyway...let's move on.

This page has information on getting to King's Canyon Resort.

You can fly to Uluru or Alice Springs; and then take a small plane to King's Canyon. Or you can fly to Uluru or Alice Springs; then drive to King's Canyon.  Then there's also the option of taking a bus from Alice Springs. It's about five hours. I wonder if there are decent toilets on the bus.  Or do you stop anywhere?

Here's a map of the resort. It looks like it has a variety of options. On the east side, there's a campground and holiday park. On the west side, there's a resort.

There's restaurants, pools, a general store, and a tennis court.  There's also a platform for sunset viewing.

This page has more information about their facilities. And it has a picture of their pool, which looks kind of nice.

Well, they don't have mobile coverage; but the hotel area does have wifi. That's cool.  I wonder if it's included; or do you have to pay extra?

The holiday park has an internet cafe. I wonder how much they charge.

Here's an image gallery.

There's a camel.  I wonder if I'd be brave enough to ride a camel.  The height might bother me.  It's been so long since I've ridden even a horse.

The 26th picture is sort of bird's eye, but from not too high up. It looks pretty nice...the area.

Again though. It all reminds me of Arizona. I keep thinking if I want to see such beauty...and I do, actually. I'll just take a day or two driving trip there.

I started following an Arizona hiking page on Instagram. They have a lot of nice photos.  I'm looking at it now, actually. It doesn't all look like Australia, but a few pictures do.

This one definitely reminds me of the Northern Territory.  This one too.

Here's some video promotions on the King's Canyon Resort website.  Their tagline is private audience with an ancient land.  I like the privacy bit, although I doubt it's true. It might be more accurate to say, we're less crowded than Uluru.  As for ancient land...isn't most land ancient?  I know what they're probably trying to say though. It's about the people on the land.  It has a very old human history.

Ah! Here's something interesting. King's Canyon Resort is owned by a group called Delaware North.  They own several other properties; most of them are in the United States. One of them is in Arizona...The Grand Canyon, specifically. I'm guessing they're an American company.

Well, here's their company website.  Lord Wiki says their headquarters are in Buffalo New York (couldn't find that easily on their website).

The company does a lot of stuff besides lodging: casinos, dining, retail, etc.

Well, that was kind of a twist. I didn't expect this resort in the middle of the Northern Territory to be owned by an American company. Though I'm going to guess that's it's probably run by locals. Hopefully.

Now I'm going to look at the nature page of the Kings Canyon Resort website.  Again, this page leads to a bunch of other pages.

They talk about buttresses made of sandstone.

I like sandstone.

The area has something called Cycad Ferns; and they say they date back to dinosaur times. So maybe that's why they say they're an ancient land. It might NOT be just about the people.  I think other places have plants that are less old.  I wonder if the ferns are truly that old though; or maybe they're just the descendants of dinosaur plants.

Lord Wiki says they sometimes live a thousand years. So no...these exact plants weren't hanging about with characters from Jurassic Park.

The Kings Canyon Resort's  geology page has some history, and a photo of a Thorny Devil.  The original people of the land are the Luritja folks. The first European was Ernest Giles. I think he was the first white guy to find Uluru as well. Maybe?

Nope! Lord Wiki says I'm totally wrong. It was William Gosse. Oops.

There's some information about time stuff here. They say Uluru is KataTjuta are 550 million years old. Kings Canyon is about a hundred million years younger.  Then 65 million years ago is when the dinosaurs became instinct.

That kind of puts things in perspective. Or at least it makes me feel stupid and guilty, because I just bunch it all up in my brain as long-time-ago stuff.

How old's the Grand Canyon then?

According to this geology website, it's probably less than 80 million years old.  It's a baby compared to Uluru!  Still. I'm not wrong about it being ancient.  80 million is still very old.

This page has a list of animals you might see in the Kings Canyon area. There's the usual suspects—kangaroos and emus. But then you also might see camels, brumbies, dingos, and donkeys. And there are a lot of birds.

Oh...wow. On this page, they have a calendar that shows you what you're more likely to see in which month.

January has big lightening storms, so if you have a fear of that, you might want to avoid visiting at that time.

In February, there are hatching thorny devil eggs. How cool! I'd love to see that. Though I'm betting it's done privately. I doubt you walk around seeing hatching eggs everywhere.

April might not be a good time to go if you like reptiles.  It's their hibernation time. But it IS a good time if you like seeing camels having sex. They do their breeding in April.

Well...wait. They continue to breed in May.

And June.

There seems to be a lot of wedge-tailed eagle activity in many of the months.

The camels continue their stuff in July.

And August.

August also has the beginning of flower time.

It looks like the camels stop having sex in September.

This page talks about Indigenous culture.  Here they say it's an important land for the Ulpinyali and Lilla Communities. That's not the people mentioned before. I'm confused.

Lord wiki says the Luritja people live south and west of Alice Springs.  Are the Ulpinyali and Lilla a subgroup within that group? Or are they another group?

I'm not easily finding an answer. If anyone is reading this and knows, please tell me.

Kings Canyon says that their having discussions with these communities about the communities offering tourism opportunities.  It might be something like walks where tourists are taught about bush foods and other things.

Now I'm going to look at the hotel page of the Kings Canyon Resort.

There's a photo of the hotel room. It has a fancy bathtub. I wonder if there's a shower too.

I just heard a siren. I've been hearing them often lately. And then this morning, my mom's friend was the victim of burglary.  Maybe my hometown is becoming more dangerous.

Anyway....

The photo I saw before was of a deluxe spa room. There's also standard rooms available.

They say the rooms include wifi.  I take that to mean it's free.

The cost for the room is $279. That's probably the minimum.

The deluxe room includes the fancy bath, a private balcony, and a buffet breakfast for two. It costs $339 a night.

I wonder how it compares to hotels and motels closer to Uluru.

I'm looking at the Desert Gardens Hotel. The prices look pretty similar.   A standard room there is $280.

I'm really curious about why people would prefer to stay in Kings Canyon Resort instead of close to Uluru.

Here's a description of the hotel restaurants.

Under the Desert Moon is their fancy place. It seems it's outside.  It's open only April through October, so it would be closed now.

They provide the menu.

There's nothing vegetarian. Poo on them.

I'm sure they might provide stuff if you tell them they're vegetarian. But I like when websites actually mention us people.

The Desert Garden Hotel has their menus posted for their Christmas meals, and they have a whole vegetarian menu.

Wow! They even give you two choices for your main dish. That usually doesn't happen. I think usually in fancy meal settings, if there's a vegetarian choice, there's one vegetarian choice.

Now I'm going to look at the camping page for the Kings Canyon Holiday Park.

They don't have cabins...only powered and unpowered sites.  The cost is per person. I don't know if that's typical or not. I haven't done any camping.

Their general store has a lot of Cadbury Bars.  I'd have fun looking at those.  I'm trying to be positive here. I know I've been very negative. The main message coming from me is to go to Arizona (if you're American). If you're in Australia or want to travel to Australia. And you want to go to the Northern Territory, I think it makes more sense to stay near Uluru. But that's just me.

You know what though.  There might be big fans of the Northern Territory. They might make multiple visits, and they want something different from Uluru. So, it makes sense to go to Kings Canyon Resort.

Now I'm going to look at the activities page.

They have a brochure you can download.

The Dining under the moon experience is $99 per person.  That's the one that doesn't seem to have vegetarian options.

There's a 3.5 hour climb, a helicopter tour, and a quad bike thing.

And the camels!

What's nice is they have a 5 minute ride for $8.50. That's good. Then you can see if you like it. And if you do, you can order a longer tour.

Or maybe not. You have to cancel within 48 hours, or pay a 100% cancellation fee.  So if you're there for a short stay, testing out the camels for 5 minutes isn't going to help if you already booked a longer tour.  Or maybe you can wait and book the longer term last minute.

They have a page with their holiday specials. There's some good ones.  There's one where you get 50% off your second night there.

Ah! I just found their FAQ page and there's a question about vegetarians at the Under a Desert Moon Feast. So...what's the answer?

No!!!

Holy shit. I did NOT expect that. I totally thought they'd say, don't worry. We'll cook something wonderful for you. Instead they say, Unfortunately "Under a Desert Moon" involves a set menu that does not allow for exceptions. And by the way, this applies not only to vegetarians, but people with allergies as well.

I really hate restaurants that have this mindset.

I don't think I like this resort.

BUT....

If you have ever stayed there and think it's wonderful...please tell me why!
















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