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Alice Springs and Uluru Tour

AUSTRALIA | Sunday, 19 April 2015 | Views [118]

So, I managed to get out of the cold in Adelaide to experience the warm in Alice for a few days before it went down to cooler temperatures just like in Adelaide. A couple days it was warmer back at home. My first impressions of Alice were not the best. Small town with not a whole lot to do. And I thought I was getting a bit bored in Adelaide! I decided to take a day off my first full day in Alice and just hang around the hostel organizing stuff and getting my tan on. It felt good to just hang out for a bit instead of rushing to the next thing.

The next day it was a 5 am start to get ready for my Uluru tour. Unfortunately I didn't get much sleep as I started talking to people back home and stayed up way passed midnight (wink) and finally got a few hours before go time. Luckily my hostel was able to store my extra bags and they had breakfast early so I was able to intake some nutrients before getting on the bus. It was a long drive to Uluru, about 6 hours with stops included. I managed to get in some rest between talks from Bez, our guide. However, it was not a good time to forget your headphones, as I did, but I survived... clearly. We got dropped off at our lunch site for a quick bagged meal before heading off to Uluru. We visited the cultural center first where we learned about the origin story of Uluru and some traditions and cultural idiosyncrasies. Then, it was a quick ride over to Uluru where we could walk to 10 kms around the base. It was a quite warm day, about 36 degrees, and the flies were out in full force as well. The flies are just as bad as everyone tells you. They're just annoying is all, and don't hurt you, but it's just tedious to constantly have to swat away at your face and body. It really is a giant rock in the middle of the desert. The contrast of red dirt and rock with green foliage and blue skies is quite beautiful, I was able to a few nice photos from the trek. Through the walk I was able to chat with a couple different people from our group. We had a family, a few solo travelers, some couples and friends all traveling in our group. When we finished the trek, it was hard to tell whether we got a tan of if it was just red dirt... it was mostly red dirt. We had ourselves some delicious snacks and headed to the viewing point to see the sunset over Uluru. We got more snacks and champers to enjoy the sight. The sun sets behind you and you can see the colors change on Uluru. It was very pretty. Next, we headed to our campsite for the night. We all helped out cooking dinner, chicken stir fry, and then got our swags out to sleep under the stars. I was exhausted from little sleep and wanted to crash around 7 before I even ate, but, then I started talking to some of the other people and ended up getting my second wind. It wasn't until after 10 that I finally climbed into my swag and it was way too hot, I don't think I even went in my sleeping bag until the middle of the night. The stars were amazing. You get a real good look at the Milky Way in the southern hemisphere. I finally managed to find the Southern Cross, it's smaller than I keep remembering, so I keep missing it. I always seem to think that it will be the size of Orion of something, but it's not.

After a quick nap overnight, it was time to get up early again to see the sunrise at Uluru. We weren't the first group there, but we did have some pretty good viewing spots. Once the sun was fully up, we got a look at Kata Tjuta and how the sun was playing on the domes, then it was off to Kata Tjuta for the Valley of The Winds walk. Thankfully it was open all day today as the heat was down. It was overcast and cooler, though our friends the flies were still out, but the wind helped keep them away. On tour, it seemed like each day got better and better. The terrain was much rougher for this hike, lots of loose rock to contend with, but we all made it. The rock formations were stunning and it was great to be able to walk in that place. That was all done in the morning. We made it back to our campsite for a lunch of burritos and then it was time to pack up and make the 3 hour drive to Kings Canyon where we would be spending the night at a different campsite. We made a pit stop for some fire wood. I was excited that I got the biggest piece, though I received many scratches, slivers and scrapes for my efforts. Also, I had made the mistake of wearing white shorts that day, not the best thing to wear whilst bush camping in the outback. We had actual tents at our new site, and most people slept in them, especially because it did start raining at one point, however, I wanted to sleep out under the stars again. We had time to decompress when we got to the site and after dinner, we had kept the fire going to roast marshmallows and chat each other up. I couldn't stay up nearly as late this time. I brought my swag onto the grass and snuggled up. I got some amazing sleep that night. I only woke up once and didn't even notice the dingo that strolled through camp, he didn't take my shoes, so I was happy with that.

The next day it was another early 5 am start to eat breakfast and catch the sunrise at Kings Canyon. I opted to do the long 3.5 hour hike. We first had to get up heart attack hill, yes, it's really called that, and yes, people have really died from heart attacks whilst climbing it. It was rough, but we all survived. We stopped at the top and watched the sun rise for a bit before Bez pushed us on. The terrain wasn't as rough at at Kata Tjuga, but it wasn't perfectly smooth either, a nice little challenge. Bez took us down to The Garden of Eden where we had a bit of a rest and even ate some apples. Yup, eating apples in The Garden of Eden. We didn't see any serpents though. That was quite a lovely place to just sit and rest. It was quite lush and green there as well, a complete contrast to the red sand and rock everywhere else. We kept on moving and once we got on top of the canyon more we could see the other formations and how they looked sort of like beehives and a lost city. We even got to take a picture of ourselves at Priscilla's crack! As soon as Bez asked if anyone had seen 'Priscilla', I immediately yelled "yes, yes, yes!" like a crazy person. If only I had a frock and some heels, that would have made for a great picture! Around noon, we finished and made our way back to the campsite for lunch. This time it was camel and beef burgers. Camel tastes alright, no too different from beef actually. We loaded our bags, rolled up our swags and got ready for the 6 hour journey back home. We stopped at a couple different road houses and one even had a baby joey there for us to pet. Some naps, an emu farm and a little bit of Stuff You Should Know, and we were back in Alice. It was perfect timing for me, because about a half hour after I got back we had a free BBQ. Granted it was nowhere near as elaborate as our Dreamtime BBQs, but hey, free food is free food. I took it graciously even though I was feeling mildly sick. Everyday on tour I ended up waking up with a sore throat, not good. I called it a night fairly early and knocked off to bed.

The next day was sick rest day for me. I managed to make a quick trip into town for juice and snacks then cracked into my Kangaroo Island honey that I was saving to help myself get along. It was basically a day in bed drinking tea, breakfast juice and eating honey and cinnamon while I watched some shoes and took a nap. I did feel better in the evening and even went into town to The Rock Bar where there is apparently live music every night starting about 8. It was full of quite a few people, but, though the band was set up, they weren't playing. After waiting over an hour, I finally called it quits and headed back to the hostel. Another fairly early bedtime after talking to my friends up in Cairns, seems like the excitement keeps on going there, I'm glad I've started to adjust my trip so as to get more time back up there with them.

That's it so far. One more full day in Alice then it's a 24 hour train ride up to Darwin where hopefully there will be a bit more happening, especially since I'm staying there over a week and don't have any tours booked as of right now. If anybody knows anything fun/cool to do in Perth, let me know so I can check it out. Until next time guys, keep on livin' the dream!

Cheers,
-Celina

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