After leaving Asia it was fantastic to arrive in Australia where the mother tongue (or at least a watered down version) is spoken.Having said that customs weren't too keen on making me feel welcome.I was given the twenty questions, my bag was searched and of all the things they could confiscate they took my Coffee Mate.I was thinking of reenacting the Peter Kay 'Dad at customs' sketch but thought better of it.
I finally got through customs thankfully avoiding the rubber glove treatment. The transfer bus from the hostel wasn't at the airport so I took a public bus twenty minutes to my hostel in to Alice.Hostel Bookers had not booked my room at the hostel despite taking my deposit, useless bunch of $#@*ers!I managed to get a room and get myself booked on to a three day tour of Uluru.
I wandered in to town and saw all it had to offer in about fifteen minutes, seriously there is nothing there, goodness knows what the 28,000 people who live there do.I was a little surprised at the number of Aboriginals loitering in the street just drinking, which can be quite intimidating.All the guide books etc. say that it isn't safe to be out after dark in Alice as there is a lot of crime which fairly or not tends to be with associated with the aboriginals.So I cooked at the hostel and had an early night ready for my tour.
The bus was due to arrive at 0510, so I was up bright and early, having packed the night before I was downstairs waiting at 0510 exactly, although I forgotten my sheets so had wake up the guys in the dorm once again.So I get back downstairs, still no bus, an hour passes still no bus, so this would be the second bus that I've booked in Alice that hasn't turned up!Anyway I call the company who don't really have an explanation but will pay for a nights accommodation and book me on the two day 'dash' instead.I had no choice but to except or I wouldn't get out to see the rock at all, the whole time I was drafting a complaint email in my head!
So the following day I was outside at the earlier time of 0430, the trip included the same sights, slightly shorter treks the main issue was the 1600km we had to cover in two days!In order to fit everything in we were on the road from before dawn until after dusk both days.
Kings Canyons is the largest canyon in the world and was absolutely breath taking.We completed a six hour trek around the canyon before having lunch and driving on to Uluru.We reached Uluru just after dark and set up camp.Because the tour company uses the camp site every day there is a semi permanent campsite.The kitchen area was all fairly civilized, the tents were all permanently erected and the guide said we could use the tents but as they are permanently there they tend to attract the spiders, the other option was to use a swag, a mattress with a canvas cover, kind of like a sleeping bag cover or a one man tent with no frame. After being told that sleeping on the bus wasn't an option, I opted for the swag.Now this would have been ok, except I'm a tight git and refused to hire a sleeping bag for $15, instead I headed to K Mart and bought one for $17.I thought I was being very clever, it's new, clean and I can use it again, the only problem was it wasn't quite adult size so everything from my nipple up was bloody freezing all night.Thankfully all night wasn't that long as we got to bed at midnight and were up again at 3:30 so that we could get to Uluru for sunrise.It was a fantastic sight the rock ran though a spectrum of reds and oranges as the sun rose during the 9km base walk.Although I appreciate the beauty and magnificence of it, I definitely prefer a sun set over a sun rise!
You can still climb the rock if you want to, but I decided not to partly out of respect for the aboriginals and partly that it is bloody steep!
BBQ chicken burgers for lunch (of which I took a doggie bag) then a 6 hour drive back to Alice Springs.If there is one thing this 'dash' has taught me, that is how immensely vast Oz is!
The tour guide reinforced the fact that we shouldn't walk on our own around Alice at night apparently even groups aren't that safe!I knew there was a problem, I just didn't expect it to be so server.
Anyway, not a problem for me this was my last night in Alice and after approximately 10 hours sleep over the past 4-5 nights, the possibilities of me doing anything other than sleep were very slim!