Highs & Lows
Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
85Trip End Jan 08, 2012
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It started with a 6:00am pick up. The bus driver seemed as sleepy as the passengers which did not inspire us with confidence, until we realised there were two of them and the one who was taking the first stint did seem much more alert than the other. In fact, the first driver we had seen, soon went to the back of the coach to catch up on some sleep!
In the planning stage, Uluru looks quite close to Alice Springs, in fact, Alice is the nearest town to it. However, the reality is that it’s about 460km away – at least a five hour drive each way (toilet & refreshment breaks included)
After the refreshments, it was another 2,5 hour drive to the first real stop. As we were approaching Uluru-Kata Tjuta (the name of the national park), we spied out of the window our first glimpse of Uluru. Wow! Except, hold on, there’s one problem... why is it grey and not red? "Ah," said our guide, “well spotted. This is Fooluru not Uluru. Back in the day, people used to come here, catch sight of it, think it was Uluru and go back with photos of it, only to be told that no, it wasn’t Uluru but Mt. Connor which is similar in appearance. Hence its nickname, ‘Fooluru’.”
Ha! Ha! Ha! All very droll, that was the kind of thing I needed to get a photo of. I reached for my camera, but it wasn’t there. I searched my pockets, my bag, even my seat, but there was no sign of it. I tried to think of the last time I had it, and the only thing I could think of was when after photographing the emus I had it on a table next to me while I was having coffee at the service station 200+km back....
The remainder of the journey was a nightmare as I kept reproaching myself for being so stupid, but then we rocked up (*see what I did there?*) to the Olgas and I soon forgot all my troubles. The Olgas is/are quite close to Uluru, and it/they look like a range of hills or mountains. However, it is a monolith that has split above ground. It is truly amazing. I won’t say I was cheerful when we got off the bus to have a look around, I was still a little upset – one or two of the other passengers looked at me as if to say that I was overcome by the Olgas. There was only one thing for it; my iPod. I suppose the iPod takes good pictures, but they were never going to be the same quality as my camera. However, to quote The Rolling Stones, “You can’t always get what you want.”
So now that I had a temporary solution, back to the trip
A great part of the Uluru experience is not only the guide telling us what each part of the rock was used for (classroom; old people’s home; men’s club; women’s circle), but also the significance of the ‘carvings’ in Aboriginal folklore, ‘Dream Time’
The end of the day was a little unusual. All the coach parties turned up at a point where you can see the colours change on Uluru as the sun sets. Unfortunately it had been quite an overcast day, so that wasn’t as good as it could have been. However, the thing that the different tour companies do is offer dinner at sunset. In most cases, that seemed to be either Doritos or salad and copious amounts of wine. For us, we had a bbq, champagne and/or wine. I don’t drink wine, normally, and when I do, I tend to drink it like beer – lots of it and very quickly. Yes, you guessed it, it went straight to my head and I had the quickest 5 hour bus journey in history. I had intended to look out for kangaroos on the way back, as they’re nocturnal, but that plan went out of the window at about 10 seconds after taking my seat on the bus.
Despite losing my camera, it had still been a good day and I do have some photos, it’s just such a shame that they could have been better. Never mind, it’s all part of the Oz adventure!
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