In June, one of our Customer Sales Consultants, Clinton, journeyed to the Northern Territory to experience our Cosmos Top End & Central Australia Explorer tour first-hand. Here he shares a once-in-a-lifetime experience for him at Kings Canyon!
First off, let me wish the LGBTQIA+ community and allies a happy Pride Month for June.
I recently had the fortunate experience to travel on our Cosmos Top End & Central Explorer itinerary departing on the 9th of June 2022. I thought what better way for me to celebrate Pride than with my own homage to one of my favourite movies, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. The plan was, in the words of brash young drag queen Felicia, “to travel to the centre of Australia, climb Kings Canyon as a queen, in a full-length Gaultier sequin, heels and a tiara.” Well, as a larger set bearded gay man, I knew going in full drag was never going to work as I was going to struggle reaching the top on my own as it was. But a homage had to be done so a simple dress and wig were packed.
Jeremy was our amazing Tour Director. He was a world of knowledge on Aboriginal culture and history and had pre-warned our group that climbing Kings Canyon was a feat that not everyone would be able to do. So, my first test was to see how my hiking abilities would be at Nitmiluk National Park.
Half of our group stayed at the base area – where there was a beautiful lagoon for them to swim at – while the other half made the journey to the top of Edith Falls. We were greeted with a beautiful waterfall and treated ourselves to a well-deserved dip before heading back. I was exhausted. If this was an easier walk, would I be able to do Kings Canyon? My tour companions were all very encouraging and I decided to do it.
The 6km+ walk is a sunrise hike that can take 3-4 hours. We were up nice and early, braving the cold as we boarded the coach ready to conquer the Kings Canyon Rim Walk. The first park of this hike is the hardest with around 500 steep “steps” to climb. Once I reached the first little plateau, I could tell it was all going to be worth it as the views through the day are your reward.
The 360-degree views from the rim of the canyon are honestly difficult to describe but you do feel humbled by the scenery and vastness of it all. All through the trek there are a palette of colours. The red and oranges of the rocks, the greens of the trees, the changing morning sunrise, the blue skies with scattered white clouds…my iPhone camera was given just as much of a workout as I was giving myself!
Before beginning our descent, I took a private moment to reflect on where I was in the moment; to feel proud of myself and who I am, and what I had just achieved for the day in a tacky orange dress and a wig. Happy Pride!
If you’re after an adventure in the NT, you can find more information, dates and prices for Cosmos’ Top End & Central Australia tour here.