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The Great Trek

Down Under - Oz

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 11 May 2009 | Views [582] | Comments [2]

Hi Everyone

Firstly thanks to everyone who is actually reading this, it's great when we can see that poeple are viewing our journal.  I know the entries are a bit sporadic but we do try!  Anyway on with the show!

We've been in Australia now for about a month.  We arrived in Darwin in early April (can't even remember the date now!) because Jay managed to find really cheap flights from Singapore so that was a bonus, something like 35 pounds each so we snapped it up!!  Darwin has to be the hottest and most humid place we've visited, more so than Thailand and Singapore!  You step out of the airport and you drip with sweat, not a pleasant sight!  Nothing much really to report on Darwin, lots of bars etc but nothing jaw dropping!  Only glad that there was a high fence around our hostel, the locals make a habit of drinking down dark alleyways and they frightened the hell out of me!

After a couple of days we caught the Greyhound bus to Katherine (about 5 hours directly south of Darwin in Northern Territory) where we stayed for a couple of nights before continuing on the bus down to Alice Springs.  Katherine too didn't have much going for it, plenty of drunk Aboriginals lined the streets asking you to buy them alcohol.  There is a law in NT that you have to show ID when you buy booze (Jay thought they were taking the piss when they asked him!) but it's to track what people are buying across the territory to ensure they don't exceed a limit. Jay made some friends in Katherine and was introduced to Bundy Rum...I didn't see him much for those two days!

We caught an overnight bus down to Alice Springs where we had booked to go on a 3 day/2 night camping adventure around Uluru (Ayers Rock).  The triip was amazing and such a great experience.  I wasn't too keen at first but then my scouting instincts kicked in and I was loving it: getting dirt under my finger nails, wearing the same clothes for three days, not washing my hair - LOVELY!

Our first day was at Kings Canyon.  We walked up Heart Attack Hill (there's a very good reason for calling it this!) to reach the top of the canyon.  The views were spectacular and well worth the hard slog to get there!  We walked all around the canyon itself, found a water hole and took a dip before climbing to the top again and then making our way down.  Flies are a big problem in the Northern Territory (I supopse not if you're used to them!) so I adorned my fly net for the duration of this trip - best investment of the whole tour I think!

We made our way to the camp and then the heavens opened, fortunately there was a shelter for us to huddle under until it stopped.  We built a fire and Jay took over the kitchen to prepare a wonderful feast: a mountain of chicken satay and rice!  Once the rain stopped we grouped around the fire and prepared our swags for the night (they're a kind of outdoor weather proof sleeping bag, with a sleeping bag inside - not forgetting the monster cover to pull over your head if the monsters come around to sniff you!)  Sleeping under the stars is a real treat, everyone should do it at least once in their lives if they can.  Once the clouds had cleared we were in for the best sight ever and we blissfully fell asleep around the fire.

Next day we were up early to pack up and move onto Uluru.  We stopped on the road side to look for witchetty grubs, I wasn't impressed at this point...I was cold, hungry and not in the mood!!!  We found one and it was passed around the group for people to pose in that typical way: it being dangled from high about to fall into their mouths (not many people actually took a bite though!  We didn't cos there wasn't much left of it by the time it reached us - such a shame NOT!

Back in the van and a 2 hour drive to the rock and when it appeared it was a breathtaking sight, this huge single rock in the middle of nowhere.  Queestions of how? why? when? who? came to mind, we were gobsmacked!  We drove past it and onto the Olga, a cluster of rocks again just in the middle of nowhere.  We were told an Aboriginal story of how these rocks were created and it goes a little something like this: Two little boys were making a huge Mud Pie and as they were bring the mud together, they picked out the big rocks and tossed them over their shoulders (these are the Olga's) and the mud pie becomes the Ayers Rock, then boys decided to slide down the side of their mud pie hence making the strange lines on the face of the rock!

We did a 4 hour walk through the Olga rocks which was hard going but managed to take some amazing photos which I think Jay has put on here.  HOnestly the pictures don't do any justice to what we actually saw!  We had lunch and then headed to the cultural centre for a look around - still the flies persisted to try our patience!

We made our way to the camp where we had dinner and then sang songs around the fire until we fell asleep - very cheesy!  Us Brits were belting out the classics that evreyone was soon singing along to and then every now and then you'd here a little German voice come out with one of there's and of course we can't join in!! Very funny!

The next day (up early again to pack up) we made our way to the rock to do the base walk: a 2 hour walk right around the rock so you could see it from every angle.  There are certain places that you can't take photos as they are sacred to the native people but there was always some stuborn Europeans and Asians who would completely ignore that!  Very sureal walking around this rock, there are lots of perculiar shapes on the face of it and at one point we saw what looked like Darth Vader's head!!  You can now walk up to the sumit of the rock but the Aboriginals perfer you not to (it's like walking on an alter) so we didn't do that.  Of course there were some who couldn't see past the end of their noses and did it anyway!  I have to thank this trip for my new shapely legs, so much hill walking but my oh my they are looking good!!!

We headed back to Alice and then went for dinner with our new friends.  They were a great bunch of people who we still keep in contact with now.  We were amongst the eldest there but that didn't stop us getting down with the kids!

The next day we flew to Brisbane and were welcomed with open arms by my cousin Jane and her husband Dave.  They are such a cool couple and we loved staying with them, they have a beautiful home and it was sooooo nice to kick back and have some home cooked food for a change!  We went to their little holiday pad in Moffat for the weekend, a lovely little unit near the beach only an hour outside Brisbane! 

After a few days with them we caught the train to south Brisbane to meet another cousins and her family (Emma, Neil, Jacob and Luke).  It was lovely to spend time with them and to get some advice too, they moved out here 3 years ago from Aylesbury so they know what we're going through!

We headed down to Surfers Paradise for 5 days which was a bit like Blackpool but hotter!

Then back into Brisbane city, (loving the shops) and now we're heading back to Jane's for a few days before flying to Sydney on Thursday 14th May to see some friends we made in Phuket.  Then we're flying to Dunedin on Monday 18th where we'll finally have made it to our new home!!

Had to cut this short because internet time is running out!!  Will post some more later!

Lots of love





omg that was a massive update......
keep them coming lic.
your pictures are amazing!!!!!!!
enjoy the rest of your travels and send big hugs to nanny haze and grandad h from tillie.

  jennie shayne and tillie May 14, 2009 7:05 AM


Hey horwood! We liked your blog and decided to showcase it this week in our "Feature Stories this month" so that others could enjoy it too!

Happy travels!

~World Nomads

  World Nomads May 25, 2009 1:57 PM

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