Coming back to Australia still feels a bit like coming back home. I never thought it would after 8 years. But here I am, back in Australia and I it still feels a bit like home. When I came here 2008/2009 for an internship I stayed for 6 month but never took the chance to travel the Great Ocean Road nor to the Red Centre.
So I came back for a short 1 month visit.
Flying in to Melbourne gave me a chance to catch up with some old friends and finally visit that beautiful city down South. After 4 days I move on to Adelaide taking a 2 day/1night ‘very touristy’ tour via the Great Ocean Road and The Grampians National Park (Follow me around Down Under – Melbourne, Great Ocean Road, Grampians National Park).
From Adelaide I fly into Alice Springs and take off to an extraordinary Outback tour for 3 days/2nights (The Rock Tour). In case you are thinking about an organised outback tour you should arrive the day before as you will get an introduction (they’ll tell you everything you need to know and bring – don’t forget a fly net) from your tour operator and you’ll be picked up around 5:30am the next morning.
My tour starts and my pickup is 5:25am in the morning. We start the day with a long drive towards Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the Norther Territory. On our way we stop for some breakfast and booz (which makes me pretty angry, ‘cause we could have just bought it in Alice Springs, which would have been way cheaper, but during the introduction they told us, we could buy some booz on the bus. I assumed they wouldn’t drive us to the only liquor store in the DESERT – you can imagine the prices).
Arriving at Uluru we go to the Cultural Centre for 2 hours and after that finally make our way to the attraction we all came for. Uluru, THE big red monolith in the middle of nowhere, at the end of the world. Even though I don’t expect to be enormously impressed, it gets me with its magical touch. For the rest of the day we take some smaller walks around Uluru.
For sunset we drive to the so called Uluru Sunset View Point, where we meet around 300 other tourists – oh my god, you cannot imagine.
Nevertheless the sunset is stunning, the food not so much (and being on a cheap tour, which is in general fine, made me sad that night, cause all the other tours get fancy nice dinners with champagne and white cloves service).
When arriving at the campsite we prepare our swags on the camp ground of the desert. I’m very nervous as the guides warn us about snakes, scorpions, ants and dingos. We should sleep on our shoes and shouldn’t have anything around. To be on the safe side they’d also recommend to spray the rim of our swag with insect repellant. And you bet, I nearly spray the whole bottle.
During the short night I am restless, as I am sleeping ‘far’ away from the others and everything I hear makes me jump.
But in the end I must have dozed off for a few seconds cause I don’t realise at first when they wake us at around 4:30am the next morning.
We go back to the Sunset View Point for breakfast and sunrise and you bet, it is one of the most spectacular sunrises I’ve seen in a while. From there we make our way to Kata Tjuta for a 2 hour hike.
The rest of the day we spend driving towards our new campsite and stop over at another camp for lunch time and a quick swim in the pool.
In the afternoon we all have to get off the bus to collect wood for our campfire. Non-stop I am thinking about an article I read before the trip, where it is described that snakes lurk in the woods but all goes well and after about 30 minutes in the dust we have enough wood for the night.
The second night we spend in a much nicer campground. We all help cooking and I’m responsible for Dampa, a traditional beer and cheese bread, baked in fire. We sit around the fire, eat and drink, laugh and discuss. The night comes fast and the moon is so bright that the whole area seems to be light up. Our tour guides have a nice surprise for us later that night. They bring an Australian delicacy the tail of a kangaroo. When they bring it, it is so fresh, the blood is still tripping on the sandy ground. We roast it in the embers of the campfire until you could hear the sound of a tea kettle’s boiling water – a sign that it is ready to eat. I am keen on experiencing new things but the fresh tripping blood got me and I let the others try and watch them while chewing and nodding.
Last exciting stop of the tour is a 2 hour morning hike in Kings Canyon which is beautiful and just right in terms of lengths, wildlife and nature.
When we come back to Alice Springs I’m happy. It was a great experience but let’s face it, I’m not an outdoor girl, I love nature and all you can see and do but there is noting better than a comfy bug free bed.