3-4 years ago my daughter and I, and a couple …

Comment on After years of under-achieving, tourism promoters say they are getting cracking by Ian Sharp.

3-4 years ago my daughter and I, and a couple of her mates, one from Melbourne, the other from Germany, did a winter 4WD trip out along the Mereenie loop to Watarka, then on to Uluru, Docker River, Giles, Wingellina and the Corner Post, then up the Sandy Blight track to Kintore and home via Papunya and Glen Helen.
Great trip, permits not a hassle but not done overnight, swags under the stars, campfires, some great camping (a couple of beautiful desert oak sandhill sites plus Curtin Springs, Uluru and Warakurna camp grounds (hot showers much appreciated!).
Docker River was a highlight for the visitors, the interaction with local people, the dog proof gate at the store, the goats, and the great campground a few kms out of town, fireplaces and dunnies, and of course camels. It was fantastic experience for all of us, one I’d like to share in again. And one that many locals and visitors would revel in. Self-drive tours are a great experience and give a sense of adventure. I know that the NT Tourism industry is promoting this soort of experience, but perhaps we need to do more to make this type of adventure travel more accessible to visitors (knowledge/permits/gear, maybe guides?) I think there is huge potential here.
A favourite shorter trip of mine with visitors is down to Old Andado via Mac Clark Reserve, onto Mt Dare and then Dalbousie and maybe Purni Bore and beyond, then return via Charlotte Waters, Aputula, Rainbow Valley. Shorter still, down to Ewaninga petroglyph site, on to Chambers Pillar and back via Titjikala and the art gallery, then across to Rainbopw Valley.
Always a hit with the visitors, and never fail to enjoy them too. And up to Newhaven, great self-drive tracks there with interpretative notes … and the Binns Track north to the Davenport Ranges.
I think Steve Brown is right on this, enormous potential if we can get it right.

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