Following a night of rain and continuing rain in the day, we tackled the Mereenie Loop 4 WD road (part of The Red Centre Way). It is a corrugated road (continuous small ridges across the road, teeth chattering) that passes through aboriginal land, and it was the most direct route to Palm Valley (194 kms). I was nervous because of the rain and it started out very muddy, but we aired down the tyres and Dick did a great job on the driving. I was not keen to have my turn driving! Then we did 18kms on the 4WD road into Palm Valley, which included four river crossings, and ended up in a very nice NP (National Park) campground. Spent a couple of hours around the communal campfire with a few of the neighbors.
From the campground it is 4 kms to the actual Palm Valley, on a very, very rough 4 WD track. It was my first REAL 4WD experience and took a while for the heart rate to slow and the shallow breathing to return to normal. If we hadn’t done the 4WD course I don’t know how I would have coped. Dick took it slow and easy in 4WD low range with low tyre pressure and the Lestervan did very well. Lots of river crossings and rock climbing by the van. The valley features Red Cabbage Palms and Cycads and lots of lovely red cliffs. We did the one hour walk in the late afternoon sunlight and just got out before dark. Quite an experience for me (Dick found it somewhat challenging, interesting, and satisfying because the van worked well and seemed to lumber through the challenges without hesitation; and I think he enjoyed it!)
After the excitement of our 4 wheel drive day we took it easy and only did a late afternoon walk to Kalarranga Lookout-3 kms return from the campground and more stunning views of Palm Valley.