Day 143 and it was yet another early start, this time leaving our hostel at 630 in a taxi for Brisbane Airport. We checked in and boarded our flight for Alice Springs. On the flight we were served breakfast, with Burns eating 3 weetabix's and 2 rolls. As we landed we were told to add half an hour to all our clocks and watches as there was a new time zone. Half an hour hardly seemed worth it. As soon as we stepped off the plane, there were flies everywhere. Literally flying into your ears, eyes nose and mouth. A shuttle bus took us to our hostel, Toddys. The outback was deserted, red sand the odd tree as far as the eye could see. Once we checked in, we wandered to town to get our tour tickets. The 10 min walk seemed to take forever as it was about 40 degrees! For dinner we bought pasta, and some Doritos to munch on. The tour guides advised us to to take between 2-3 litres of water each, so we had to lug 12 bottles back to the hostel, not good. In our room there was an Auzzie bloke who was a trainee guide and he told us we 'Had' to buy Fly nets. He said that there were no flys in Alice Springs compared to the Rock area. He actually guranteed us that if we didn't buy one we would swallow at least 5 flys on our trip. Hence, we headed out straight away and bought some fly nets for $7.50. Us lads went in the pool for a cool down, and then had a nap afterwards. After the nap we had dinner, with the highlight being finding a Penne bit of pasta in our spirals. After dinner, we put our waters in the freezer and headed to bed early as we had to get up at 530am for our long drive into the outback.
Day 144 and it was Day 1 of our Rock Tour. Burns was up first to check the footy scores, and by 6 we had packed our day bags and prepared ourselves for the 6 hour drive ahead. Our guide on the tour was a jolly Auzzie bloke called Greg. We would later find out his nicknames were Yogi or Baloo as he looked like these characters. Our Group consisted of 7 english people (James + Kevin plus us 5), 4 dutch people (3 girls and 1 funny bloke), 4 german girls (who barely talked but were nice none the less), 2 swiss girls (who were lazy and didnt do to much), 3 Danish people (Dad, Mum, and a daughter), and 1 Italian lad called Bruno who barely spoke English.. We left Alice Springs and saw a road sign saying 453km to Uluru! (Ayers Rock). Me and Helen foolishly chose the back seats on the 21 seater bus, with the sun shining through the back window on our heads, the one place where there wasn't a curtain. A couple of hours in we stopped for a break and the flies were everywhere. Even standing outside for 5 mins, people were getting so annoyed they would put their fly nets on. It was mental. Greg made us all introduce ourselves on the bus to the others, saying our name, what we did, our fav colour and lots of other random facts (which leg we hop on and our super powers). As I was last up, he made everyone ask me anything they wanted which could of been a bit embarrising but wasnt to bad. Another stop and we went to the toilets in the bushes with the flys still bothering everyone. We finally arrived at Kings Canyon at midday and we prepared ourselves for a 3 hour walk in the middle of the day. To make matters worse, the first part of walk was up 'Heart Attack Hill'. 30 mins later and we were out of breath, hot and sweaty but taking hundreds of photos of the great views. One guy in the group, the Italian guy called Bruno, was trigger happy with his camera taking a photo every 5 mins. He was very funny though. Imagine an Italian gangster in a film who speaks with a strong accent, as everything he said made people laugh, and he often only understood people if they put on a fake accent. In the middle of the walk we were overjoyed to stop at the 'Garden of Eden' which is a watering hole which you could swim in. Another 2 hours of walking and we were back at the bus by 4.
A short while later we stopped for ice creams which went down a treat. As we were stopping to collect firewood we saw wild horses in the road and then running next to the road. We collected fire wood by shaking down trees and branches. Burns managed to get a massive scar on his head, which made him look like Scarface. On the way Greg pointed out what we thought was Ayers Rock in the distance with people scrambling to take photos out of the window. He soon told us it wasn't Uluru but was what the guides called 'Fooluru' as it was a mountain which looked just like the rock. We would soon realise Greg was a bit of a joker. It was very dark by 7ish and we nearly hit not 1, but 2 cows crossing the road. We stopped to buy some beer and have our final toilet break in a place called Curtain Springs. A fact about this place, is that it is the size of Holland, but only has 14 permanent residents. At the camp site we started a massive fire and started cooking a feast, Chill Con Carne, Pasta, Potatoes and Veg. It took about an hour to cook in the dark with me Burns and James stiring the Chilli for about 45 mins! Once cooked it tasted awesome, even though we could barely see what we were eating. After dinner we unrolled our beds, Swags. They are basically sleeping bags with a matress in. As people were about ready for bed we found a cockroach on the floor by us. To make matters worse, we then found a Scorpion. This made the girls get figity, but we all went to bed and were ready for a 6am start.
Day 145 and we woken by Greg at 6 and told to roll up our swags. The nights sleep was very disjointed with lots of people snoring and for once it wasnt me! We had breakfast and tea and then hit the road about 7 heading for Kata Tjuta. After a few hours on the road, we stopped for the Kata Tjuta walk. It was mega hot, over 40 degrees we were told. With fly nets on and water bottles filled, we trekked through the rocks and hills in the middle of the desert. Me Burns and James passed a lot of the time with Football talk and him insisting David James was a good keeper (he was a Portsmouth fan). After an hour Greg told us to walk on following the path and he would meet us on the other side, and he gave me and Coops the responsibilty of keeping an eye on numbers. The walk was tough and long, but the views were superb. Bruno joined in the footy talk, when he could understand and it turned out he loves Alan Shearer. We also started talking about one Joe Cooper (Lauras 9 year old brother) who we hear big things about from Laura. He's a goal machine apparently playing for Charlton juniors and we tried to compare him to a young Alan Shearer, but Bruno wasnt having it. We eventually met Greg who had biscuits for us! We then walked back to the Bus, but it was so hot it took a while. At one point Helen had at least 100 flys all over her, it was crazy. On the bus we drove to the Uluru cultural centre, had lunch and then learned about the Anagu (Aboriginal) tribes who have lived in the outback for thousands of years. Greg told us some of the stories they believe in and how the world and the rock were created.
We drove to the base of the rock where Greg showed us some caves and symbols painted on the rock itself. It was so hot it was unbareable to stand there, I could barely concentrate on what he was saying and Luke was so tired he was falling asleep. After an hour or so, we drove to the sunset viewing area of the rock where we parked our van, and as a team piled the swags onto the ground so we could sit and have a beer. People started taking photos of them 'leaning' on the rock, and all sorts of others. At one point we built a pyramid in front of the rock and it then collapsted, and another one was of some of us lads with our pale white thighs out. It was horrific. Dinner was Chilli chicken, and Satay Noodles. We got the feeling Greg was a bit of a chef, as his cooking was excellent and he could chop tomatoes and onions like Gordon Ramsey. We watched the sun go down while drinking a few beers and the rock did change colour, which was awesome. We were the last group there at about 8 and we then headed to our camp site for 9ish. The campsite had toilets and showers which were a welcome change! The showers had a stupid shelf in which got right in the way of the water and all you could here was people shouting 'Whats with the Shelf?!'. We hit the hay about 10ish with the stars looking amazing.
Day 146 and we were woken at 430! and it was still pitch black. We packed up quickly and drove to the sunrise viewing area and Greg was adamant we be first there as it is a tradition of his. We were first and we had brekkie and cups of tea while everyone else was arriving. Soon there were loads of people taking photos and doing all sorts of poses and we did one of everyone hopping as it was one of the questions Greg asked us when we were on the bus on the first day. At 7 we drove to rock itself and started the 2 hour base walk round it. Greg left us and would meet us at the end but it was still really hot. Burns and Helens stomachs didnt agree with the food the night before and were in need of the toilet all the way round. By the time we got to the end they literally ran to the toilets! At this point we had some cake (from Greg) and we ate the leftover Doritos we brought. After a 2 hour drive, we dropped Bruno off at the airport and he got a great reception from everyone as he had become a bit of a cult hero over the 3 days. He was very funny. On the way to lunch we stopped at a toilet area and did a couple of group photos. There was another tour who we had seen a lot and we took photos with them. Their guide looked like Jesus! but us lads also thought he looked like Johnathon Greening. For lunch we stopped and made sarnies, but there were so many flies they all got stuck in the tuna brine and no one would eat it! We then drove for several hours before stopping for a camel ride! The group before me and Helen had a camel fall over while running with people on its back! It looked really bad and the owners said it was the first time they had seen it. Luckily the girls werent hurt, but it made us all a bit nervous. Me and Helen went on the camel called Moana, who was apparently the best. They were huge and could run up to 70kph! We also saw some Wallabies and a Dingo on this farm.
After this it was our final drive back to Alice Springs. We stopped at the Alice Springs sign and took photos as a group again. When back at Toddys we all showered and got ready for dinner and to meet up with the group for some drinks. Luke and Burns Ordered Camel steaks! while I had Kangaroo Chilli Con Carne. The food was brilliant. A nice note was when Greg arrived we all gave him a standing ovation and he ran down the table clapping peoples hands. He was a brilliant guide who made our trip awesome. After a few beers we headed to the 1 pub in town, BoJangles, and had several more drinks. The best thing about this pub was the back to front toilets. The door handle was on the wrong side so when you pushed it, you walked into the door as it didnt move. The taps operated water for the opposite sinks and the handryer buttons operated the wrong ones. It was quite weird and James got really confused as he was drunk and had no clue what was going on. Me and Burns ended up getting drunk rather quickly as apparently when your dehydrated from the desert, any alcohol hits you really hard! We staggered home with the others, and said goodbye to our fellow group members and all agreed to add each other on Facebook. We got to bed about 1ish knowing we would have to checkout at 10am as we would be flying to Cairns for our last few days in Australia.