It was a long drive down to Alice Springs and it took two whole days of driving! We had booked to go on a three day tour of King's Canyon, the Olgas and Ayers Rock on Wednesday so we had a few days to look around Alice Springs and recover from the long drive. We were surprised at how modern the city is. We had expected a small outback town with a pub and a petrol station, but it was a lot larger and had a more lively town than Darwin. We had read that Alice Springs is the best place to buy aboriginal art. So we had a look around some of the galleries and found three paintings we liked. We couldn't decide which one to buy so we were a bit bad and bought all three!
Then it was time for our tour. We were picked up at 6am and after about four hours of someone else driving we arrived at our first stop - King's Canyon. It was very hot and we did a very long and difficult walk up one side of the canyon, down in to the middle and then up and over the other side. A walk which nearly killed Rachel. However the views were fantastic and there was a great little rock pool in the middle of the canyon, where we stopped for a much needed swim. The pool was full of tadpoles growing in to frogs and one baby frog made itself very comfortable on Rachel's hand, which was really sweet. The walk took roughly three hours, after which we could relax on the bus while we drove to our campsite. Dinner was cooked on the campfire. We were very tired and slept in swags under the stars.
The next moring we woke early again to do another walk. This time around the Olgas. This walk was a bit easier as it wasn't so steep, but it was still very hot. We had to get there early because the walk closed at 11am because of extreme temperatures. We got there just before 11am. We did the valley of the winds walk, which was very beautiful with amazing views. After the walk we went to relax in the swimming pool at the campsite.
In the evening we watched the sunset at Uluru (Ayers Rock). We didn't have the best weather for a sunset, instead there was a massive thunderstorm. With heavy rain, dark clouds and fork lightening. Sion tried to get some photos of the lightening but was too slow. We enjoyed the thunderstorm, the rain lifted our spirits and everyone cheered at the lightening. That evening when we went back to camp we played some games and got to know the other people on the tour a bit better.
The next day we once again got up early to see the sun rising. This was very spectacular and we could see Uluru changin colour. We then did a base walk, which is 7.5km long, this showed us how big it actually is! It is 348m high, taller than any building in Australia, and goes in to the ground 6km.
We then had a 5.5 hour drive back to Alice Springs, we were very tired so it didn't seem that long. That evening we went out for a meal and a few drinks with some of the people on the tour.
It is now a very long drive to the east coast with not much to see! The only thing of interest is the Devil's Marbles, a collection of large boulders along the highway between Alice Springs and Tennant Creek.