We land in Alice Springs airport around 120 hours from leaving Thailand and having been on 4 other planes, its been tiring too say the least, but the fact that it is around 5am and it is warm than i think it has ever been in the UK, makes me not to hate the place as much as I should! Also finally we fly into an airport that reminds me of home, no unfortunately HARP lager didnt welcome me to Alice Springs, but there is no security, which is nice! We meet a nice guy called Jock who is in charge of, well everything in Alice Springs airport, and he organised our accomodation, and drove us there, and gave us a detailed tour of the area and what we could do, the only thing he didnt do was tuck us in bed once we checked in!
After our nap (well i dont think many people, bar me and Alan, call sleeping for 6 hours a nap) we got up and picked out a tour tht we wanted to go on around Uluru and the various other attractions (other big red rocks) in the Outback. Obviously the tour we wanted to go on was fully booked but we where lucky as a cheaper one was (and as it turned out we dont think we could have had a better trip)
For this particular blog about Uluru, The Olgas and Kata Tjuta, i wont try to describe what i saw or how i felt when we saw these landscapes as i believe it is impossible (or my creative talents wont allow it) to describe these moments, as this is one thing that you really have to see for yourself to experience! I'll just give you my badly written point of view of other things that happened.
The trip that we had signed up to was a 3 day trip to the Uluru - Kata Tjuta National park. We would visit all the natural attractions in the park, learn abit about the aboriginal people and also do a bit of camping!
First day of the trip started at 5am, yes i also thought this to be a silly time to start any trip but i was to find out that this was a later than average start to the day. Shortly after 5 our bus pulled up and our guide got out called our names and introduced himself to me and Charlotte,his name was 'Beej' when he said this my first instinct was to ask him to spell that for me, but I dont think that he or even myself was prepared to try and understand my stupid humour and accent at that time of the morning, so I kept quiet! We picked everyone else up and headed off the outback and national park, which should take us around about 5 hours! I slept, ther is only so much flat red ground you can see, and i saw my share from the plane (around 20 seconds). We stopped a few times on the way, once at a camel farm (apparently they were very important to poineers of the Australian outback) where i learned the guide picked up my NORTHERN irish accent, as his family is Irish, apparently from Tipperary who left in 1879, not very Irish but better than, sure my family is Irish, my dads, grandas mate, sat beside some who knew a potato farmer who lived in a small irish village just outside Germany! Then we stopped at the last bottle shop (offy) for the next century, picked up a handbag of wine (could i by anymore camp) and then headed off to pick up our swags, so we stopped randomly in the middle of nowhere beside a container and we get out and Beej says to me 'pick out the best Swags, we should need about 24!' 'Sure no probs was my reply!' what i really thought was, what is a swag and what makes a swag a good one?' so i go for the ones that ripped and look like they could survive an attack from snake or spider or both! after this good old Beej asks me to help put this branch on top of the trailer, of course it is not a branch but half a tree, and it seems that all the other guys on the trip (2 Swedes who i think where as much use as 2 Turnips, and a crazy Japenese guy, well all Japenese are crazy, right?) arent capable of helping. So i stand there holding this tree as he trys to perfect his reef knot to make sure the tree doesnt fall off and next an oncoming car, which from what i saw would be along this time in 2057! Any way this is finally down and hopefully we dont need to do anything else until we get to Uluru, well of course we do and of course Beej need my help to unload everything off the trailer at our campsite. (well a clearing in the bush that was 100m off the Stuey Highway, no this is properly the backarse of no where!) Now we are finally heading to Park.
We arrive at Uluru at around 1ish which when you are in the desert means it is hot, so we get some time to walk around the information centre which tells us about the aboriginal people who live in the area and who own the rock, and how they believe it was created and abit about the whole aboriginal culutre.
Now there is a big debate on whether or not to climb the rock, you are allowed but the Aboriginals would prefer if you didnt! We decided not to climb the rock (when we where around 200m up) out of respect and a new found fear! So instead we did the base walk which is around 9km, this was to take us about 2 hours, at first seeing Uluru from angles that you have never see it before was amazing, about a hour in the walk in 50 degree heat (i dont care what the temperature in the shade was i wasnt walking in the shade!!) and being swarmed by flies this big lump of red rock was starting to become a bit uninteresting! There where some cave paintings and a spring pool that had been and apparently still are used to teach the young aboriginal boys how to live in the outback and become men, which was cool to look at and gave us a better feeling about not climbing as we wouldnt have seen this. So anyway we finsih the walk and get back to bus to head to the sunset carpark! Here, yes we would watch the sunset but also have dinner. The sunset was (surprise) amazing but because you could see the colour of the rock change colour change as the sun got closer to setting this was also accompanied by about a thousand camera shutters going off every 30 secs as around 40 coaches had turned up with Japenese tourist, ok some may have been Korean and American but they all had big cameras! after the sun set and it was now dark we head back to our campsite which i have no idea how we found it as it wasnt really signposted or on the Ulsterway! But we do and we light a fire, which means i got carried away and smelt of smoke for the next 3 days!
That night I slept in a swag for the first time, it was great, I found out thay a swag was just a outdoor sleeping bag that covered your sleeping bag. This was truley sleeping under the stars as with no artifical light around, it seemed like you could literally see the whole universe, this was the only time i didnt mind getting woke up in the middle of the night as i got to stare at the stars for a bit longer.
Next morning we got up at 4am, but that was ok as it was still pitch dark and we got to see the stars again, we went back to watch the sun rise over Uluru and have breakfast then we headed out to The Olgas, which where a mountain range out big red rock similar to Uluru. This was done early but it was still ridiuculously hot. This was just a lovley 7km which we nearly did twice as we walked past the 'exit', luckily a couple of park rangers called us idiots and pointed us in the right direction. That night we went to a kind of better camp site, it had showers. We ate there and since everyone knew who everyone was kinda had a bit to drink and got a little drunk it was nice! Again sleeping under all the stars, equals good night sleep!
Again 4am wake up and we head to Kings Canyon, we get there around 5am, its still dark and it is already 25 degrees, i have come to the conclusion that Australia is slightly crazy! We do a good bit of a climb and stop at the top as Beej gives us a bit of a talk on what the whole area means to the aboriginal people and what the story is with a few other things around the place, as the sun is rising, is was a good way to start the day! The rest of the walk was nice as it was flat, but half way through we got to a natural pool, which is known as the garden of Eden, it seems i was the only one to get in, but i must have looked like a right wimp because as i decided on my strategy in 2 Danish girls just jumped right (this is where i came to my conclusion that Danish people are crazy). After the swim it was a lesuirely strolls around the other side of the Canyon back to the bus and back to Alice Springs. Which was apparently only 6 hours away. Apparently over the 3 days we travelled over 1300kms, which by my reckoning is very long way to travel!
That night we all meet up, Australia lost in cricket so Aussie were said no one else cared, and mainly everyone drank alot!
It gave me good memories of Alice Springs!