Alice springs

Trip Start Aug 08, 2011
Trip End Jul 22, 2013

Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Monday, April 8, 2013

Day 1

So I've made it safely to the Northern Territory. No major hiccoughs along the way if you don't count forgetting the a 6am flight would be freezing and deciding to wear shorts! That said arriving in hot hot hot Alice Springs, I was quite glad of it! The flight itself was incredible. I was lucky enough to get a window seat and the scenery is unlike anything I've seen before! It's like a sea of red occasionally interrupted by a muddy winding river, a cluster of bushes or strange mountain ranges that seem to arise from nowhere! The poker straight roads seem to go forever with no obvious destination. Once we flew over Alice the roads multiplied in number but as far as I could see still no destination, no houses, just a random maze of roads with no cars! It was quite a surprise to see any buildings at all - so out of place! I then had the happy discovery that my transfer was free so it was a pretty good start to the trip.

Alice springs is much smaller than I thought and is a pretty scary place so I didn't venture out alone. The hostel is good and the girls in my dorm are all very nice. Initially I felt quite daunted - everyone else seemed to have a travel buddy and I felt pretty old compared to the 18year old gap year backpackers! But later I happened across 3 girls in their mid 20s who were heading to town for dinner so I tagged along, not wanting to walk there alone! So in the end I had a really pleasant evening despite 2 hrs earlier having a what-am-I-doing moment! All of the girls I got chatting to today have recently finished similar tours to mine and they've all raved about how good they were! So looking forward to the start of my trip now. This time tomorrow I will be sleeping under the stars in the dessert!

Day 2

It was an early 5am start as we left Alice headed for the red centre. In the morning we stopped at a camel farm where we took a ride on a camel - apparently the fastest in Australia... I'm hoping we will see some wild camels on our travels! We arrived at Uluru just after lunch, had a look around the cultural centre and then walked around some of the base of ayers rock. The rock is amazing - I had been told it was awe inspiring but actually it was also very beautiful with lots of little crevices and trees and the contrast between blue red and green was stunning. Our guide is very knowledgeable about aboriginal culture so we heard lots of stories on our way around. We then stood back and watched sunset from the distance which was spectacular! We then all chipped in to cook dinner and set up our swags to camp directly s under the stars - no tents for us!! It was one of my best mini experiences so far - the stars were just stunning. You could even clearly see the Milky Way! I happily drifted off to sleep and ad one of my most restful nights sleep in a whie - just a shame about the 5am start....

Day 3

Our day began with sunrise over Uluru (ayers rock) which was stunning - the sky was burning red and orange! Then making use of the slightly cooler early morning temperatures (but not by much) we started our hike through the olgas. More red rock formations but quite different from Uluru and there was more greenery. It was a very scenic walk but tough in the outback weather. Luckily I had my rather sexy hat with fly netting as the flies get more mental the hotter it gets! We are now off to a campsite on a cattle far where we are promised a swimming pool although no electricity so we are collecting firewood for an Aussie outback campfire!

Day 4

I slept surprisingly well considering we told ghost stories around the campfire last night before setting up our swags again - this time I saw my first shooting star! Thank god for the early start though as today we climbed through kings canyon and the slightly cooler weather was much appreciated as was the breeze! It was time to face heart attack hill of which we had heard so much about! It was a steep rocky scramble to the rim of the canyon but worth it for the spectacular scenery. Unfortunately a few of our group had to turn back for health reasons but the rest of us continued through the crater and it really was mind blowing! I have never seen scenery like that before - such intense colours! The rock changed from purple to orange to red and the sky was an intense blue. We descended into the crater to see the garden of Eden a pretty little creek but unfortunately we can't swim there anymore! It was a steep climb out but the scenery just got better - it looked like the surface of the moon but red! (Not that I've been...)
After that it was back to the camp for a BBQ lunch. At the camp there are cows roaming loose - I was less worried about snakes in my swag last night than I was about a cow trampling us!
We're on the road now headed back to Alice Springs. We have a night out tonight then a day in Alice tomorrow when most people are still around. But then when I pick up the next bit of the trip I will be with a new group - a shame as just getting to know these guys who are all really nice! The longer tours in Asia should have a bit more consistency!

Enjoy the piccies!
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