Alice, Alice, who the f*** is Alice!!! Yes, it was onto Alice Springs next to go and visit the big red rock and the other smaller rocks!!!
Luckily I had a place to stay in Alice. The wonderful Suzy, who I met in Tassie, was staying with her boyfriend Mike (tour guide in Alice Springs), and they very kindly invited me to stay with them. It was also arranged for me to go out on tour with Mike the next day, so I knew i would be getting the best tour guide in Alice! (I had better say that in case Mike is reading this! haha). So after arriving in Alice on friday, and having a great night of drinking with the guys, Mike and I left to go on tour at 4.30am the next day...hmm, not the best of plans!!! We were both feeling a little bit worse for wear, and I think it took until about 10am before i socialised with the rest of the tour group!!!
Anyway, the scenery in the red centre is fantastic, and definitely worth the ridiculously early starts you have on tour there. I am sure there are not many places in the world where the road runs straight in front of you for as far as the eye can see, either side of you is an expanse of red desert, the huge sky is vivid blue, with the odd fluffy white cloud, and eagles can be seen hovering above, or feasting on a dead roo at the side of the road. I loved it!...it is very hard to put into words, but it gives you such a sense of relaxation and calm to be somewhere like that, it's just special.
Uluru was great, of course, but i didn't get the whole spiritual feeling that some people get when they visit there...maybe I am just not deep enough!!! Don't get me wrong, it is an amazing big rock (sorry, monolith!), the world's largest in fact, it does rise out of nowhere, and the whole texture of it is very interesting as it is pitted and weathered all over which you don't notice until close up...but it just didn't feel spiritual. The walk round it is good (apart from the heat and the bloody flies!!)....and it is another box ticked!
We saw the sunset at Uluru and the sunrise the next day. Unfortunately, our sunset was pretty much a non-event, some people experience Uluru glowing blood red for a few seconds...but when we were there it just got dark!! Sunrise was much better though, and it appeared to change colour regularly so every 10 seconds we were taking photo's as it was 'slightly pinker than in the last photo!'
I personally preferred my time at Kings Canyon and Kata Tjuta to Uluru, as there walks there are more interesting, and you get some fantastic views. Also, kata Tjuta actually has more spiritual significance for the Aboriginals than Uluru.
The tour was 3 days, and the 2 nights were spent sleeping in swags under the stars, which was a brilliant experience. I thought I would be a bit apprehensive going to sleep in the swag, not knowing what wildlife might venture out of the bush overnight, but i wasn't at all, and i actually really enjoyed it! The best thing about it looking up and seeing the millions of stars, they are absolutely amazing in the outback. I think I could see more than i have ever seen before, it was beautiful.
After the tour I had another week in Alice Spring, which is enough for anyone! There isn't a lot to do there other than eat, drink, watch dvd's and sleep...which is pretty much how I spent the week! It was great to spend time with Suzy though, and we did have fun!
When I left Alice, I did a two day tour to get back to Adelaide, staying overnight in Coober Pedy, which is a small opal mining town where most of the population live underground because of the extreme temperatures there....very bizarre!
So then I was back in Adelaide, and planning to visit the Barossa Valley (wineries) and Kangaroo Island....