Before I came to Australia, one of the only things I knew I really wanted to do was to go and visit that giant rock in the middle of the country. I have a fascination with bridges but there’s nothing more incredible than natural beauty; I was blown away when I visited the Grand Canyon last year so I knew I had to go and see the world heritage site for natural beauty, (and red sand!!).
Two of my work friends/house mates; Becca and Becca (both from Manchester) ditinguishable via Blonde/Brown, Loud/Quiet, Tall/Small were going on the Uluru tour so after a good week at work I jumped at the chance to go with me. The tour itself was 2 nights in a hostel, 2 nights camping, including all food and transport within the outback for just $350. However, the flight for Melbourne to Alice Springs cost $500 return because they know the only reason why people fly to the middle of Australia is to see this giant rock (and the odd worker or two who probably get paid expenses anyway) Sunday morning 9am boarding the plane after an epic leaving party for the two Beccas who’d had half an hour sleep (surprised they were let on the plane) I forgot pretty much everything you need for the outback, sunglasses, suncream, camera charger (battery was on one,) bikini and towel. Pretty much had with me, one pair of shorts and five t-shirts. Serves me right for packing at 3am i guess.
We finally arrived in Alice Springs 2.5 hours later, skipping 1.5 hours ahead in time after the most disgusting plane food to date: ‘falafel and aubergine’ wrap and all we wanted to do was sleep so we headed to our hostel and passed out for the day. Quick trip out for food and back to sleep for our 5am wake up call. 5am Monday morning we boarded the bus and headed into the wilderness, the first thing to mention is that we were in 40 degree heat on a tiny mini bus packed with 24 people – thank god for a/c and the litres of water we stocked up with. Our first stop was at the Camel Farm, Blonde Becca: “if we can get 3 on a camel i’ll definitely pay $100 to do it.” Unfortunately we wern’t allowed three on a camel but it was a mere $6 for two on a camel; probably the cheapest thing i’ve found in Australia in terms of value. Second stop was at a Cattle station where I got to stroke a dingo, he’d been living with the family since he was a pup so wasn’t too wild.
5 hours later we arrived at our camp site where we fuelled up on sandwiches before heading to the Kings Canyon. We had the choice of a 1km walk through the middle of the canyon or a 6km trek around the perimeter of the canyon. “go big or go home” i went big and nearly died on the first part of the trek, only 300 steps in 40 degrees…. eazy. The canyon was beautiful, formed by an eathquake had created amazing rock formations in the red and yellow sandstone. 4.5 l water and 3 hours later we were back on the ground and made our way back to camp for some spaghetti before laying our swags for the night. A swag is an Australian sleeping bag, basically a foam matress inside a sleeping bag. Probably one of the best nights sleep i’ve had in my life, you could see every star in the sky, the milkways, several planets and complete silence.
Tuesday, the second day of the tour we got up, packed up and headed to Uluru, passing a sign ‘next services 184km’ I can’t really tell you that much because you should just go and see it yourself !! we walked half the perimeter of the base, about 6km taking thousands of photographs, rhino came on the walk because he also really wanted to see the beauty. Around 6pm we headed to sunset where we watched the sun set on Uluru changing the brown rock into a magnificent deep red colour.
Wednesday morning we awoke to The Lion King soundtrack at 4am to go and watch the sunrise behind Uluru; again one of the most beautiful things i’ve seen watching the sun rise above this giant rock uplifted onto this vast flat plain of desert. After the sunrose we headed to Valley of the winds, 7.5km trek completed before 10am… why not. The valley of the winds was like a scene from the Land Before Time, the rocks formed small valleys in between them hence gaining its name. After our trek we had a quick lunch and headed back to Alice Springs for a group pub dinner and once again passed out in bed from the heat/so much walkkkiiinngggggg…..
The next day I flew back to Melbourne, only had to wait on the aeroplane for an hour at Melbourne airport on the runway because we weren’t allowed to get off due to a storm brewing overhead.