I am now in Darwin! It's a lot different to Tasmania here, it's 30 degrees everyday so I'm glad to be sitting in the air conditioned internet café! For the past 10 days, I've been doing a tour with a company called Groovy Grape from Adelaide to Darwin.
Me and Julie flew to Adelaide on the 15th June, where we were met by Laura at the airport. She took us to do a bit of shopping and then drove us back to her house, where we were staying the night, before our tour left bright and early the next day. It was good to see Laura again and to meet her boyfriend, Richard, who I've heard so much about! The next morning, Laura dropped us at the bus station where we were picked up by our Groovy Grape guides Kev and Shane and headed off through the wine regions outside Adelaide, to the Flinders Ranges. We spent our first night staying in a dorm at Parachilna Gorge.
The next morning, I walked part of the way through the gorge, before being picked up by the bus. I have no photos from this point because I managed to lose all the photos I've taken since being Australia because my memory card wiped itself! Luckily I have most of them backed up, but I've lost everything I've taken since V festival at the beginning of April! That'll teach me to back my photos up more regularly!
On the second day of the tour, we travelled up the Oodnadatta track, stopping at a couple of sculpture 'galleries', Lake Eyre (but the South part, which is not currently full of water), and a natural spring, before camping at William Creek. This was my first experience sleeping under the stars in a swag, which is what people use for camping out here instead of a tent. It is basically like a big canvas bag, like a sleeping bag, that you put your sleeping bag inside and you can then either sleep with your head outside of it, looking at the stars, or pull a flap over your head, to stop you from getting licked by dingoes!!
Before we left William Creek the next morning we stopped at the pub there, where lots of travellers have left their IDs etc behind, so I left my old library card, which for some reason was still in my purse. From there we had a pretty long drive to Coober Pedy (halfway through which I deleted my photos!) which is a mining town about halfway between Adelaide and Alice Springs where people live underground. By which I mean they live in dugouts cut into the rock which is actually pretty clever cos it doesn't get too hot or too cold in there.
After Coober Pedy we headed further into the centre of Aus where we visited Uluru (Ayer's Rock), Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and King's Canyon. We walked all the way round the base of Uluru (but didn't climb it because the aboriginals ask you not to, even though loadsa people do), hiked through the Olgas and around the rim of King's Canyon. All really beautiful places.
Our first tour ended in Alice Springs, where we stayed for one night and had a night out with our tour group. The next morning, myself, Julie and Sarah (who we met on the first tour) headed off on our second tour towards Darwin. On the way we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, and stopped at a place called Wycliffe Well -one of the weirdest places in Aus where they have apparently had lots of UFO sightings. We then watched the sunset at the Devil's Marbles and were back there again the next day, to see them in full daylight too.
Our next stop was the Daly Waters pub - another place where people leave things behind - including their flip flops which people leave hanging on a tree! This time Julie left her library cards and we also left one of the chickens that used to live in our car. That evening we were at Roper river for sunset where we had a swim, and then went crocodile spotting, not far down the river from where we were swimming!! The next morning we went to Bitter Springs, a natural hot spring where everyone had an early morning dip. We also went to Cutta cutta caves which weren't that exciting cos they were quite similar to the caves I've been in in Tasmania. Our last stop was Edith falls which is a beautiful waterfall that you can swim right up to. After you've walked up the hill to get you it, you need to jump in the water because of the heat! From there we headed into Darwin, only stopping on the way to take photos of giant termite mounds (over twice my height) and the Adelaide River war cemetery.