Read Part I here.
We had arrived in the Red Centre. From Melbourne to Adelaide, via Woomera (nothing to do except have a few drinks with the friendly campground owners) to Coober Pedy (really nothing to do), then on to Uluru (the photo above was taken at the Ayers Rock Campground).
I had been to this incredible spot years before, on a school trip, so I was surprised at how much seeing that massive monolith affected me. I was amazed, once again, at not just the size of it, but the way it stands there amongst flat desert as far as the eye can see, and then further still. Over the years it seemed to have shrunk in my mind, until I was saying such things to Steve as, 'We'll all climb it, you can take Abbey in the hiking carrier' (when we saw the steepness of the climb, we knew that wasn't going to happen and, as I had done it before, I stayed at the bottom while Steve went up) and 'We'll go for a stroll around it' (that stroll turned out to be a three hour walk, so we were lucky we took some food for all three of us).
While we were there, we also visited Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). Walking around and through these stunningly beautiful rock formations was one of those experiences that makes you feel small and insignificant - in a grounding way that puts your problems and worries in perspective.
And then we arrived at Kings Canyon. Once again, a spot I had already been to but, being a teenager at the time, I think I must have been too busy chatting to my friends or being angsty or something, because I had no recollection of just how awe-inspiring the hike around the top of this canyon really is. The sheer red cliff faces, the surprising amount of greenery amongst it all, and the views across the whole thing, are unlike anything you've seen before.
And doing all this with a baby? It was fun. Travelling with a baby is all about flexibility: if they're upset, it's worth taking the time to make them happy again before continuing. It's worth having a long stop to let them crawl around and release some energy, and it's smart to time long drives around nap times. Of course, we had our moments - after all, she was also a teething baby during the trip. But the majority of the time we just loved seeing her playing, crawling and improving her standing skills in the tent, in the red dirt at the base of Uluru, on the rocks atop Kings Canyon... wonderful memories.
PS - it also helps to have a husband who is part Swiss Mountain Goat, to carry the baby around all these long walks and hikes... but Abbey loved being in the baby carrier:
In the next 'Driving Holiday With Baby' posts, I'll tell you about our time in Alice Springs, driving along the Oodnadatta Track, taking a dip in mineral springs, walking on Lake Eyre and our spontaneous winery detour.