Tuesday, 27 December 2011
Alice Springs and Uluru Tour
Adventure Tour group at Katatjuta lookout. We seem to be having a rather nice time, don't we?
Ayers Rock at sunset.
Kings Canyon after walking up "Heart Attack Hill".
I later found out that it was 41degrees when I arrived in Alice, so no wonder I felt like collapsing carrying all my stuff to the hostel. Fortunately for our tour group it was nowhere near as hot. On the first day we drove out to the camp and went to Katatjuta, a similar rock to Ayers Rock but far more complex. To walk around it you cannot even start out if the temperature is 36 degrees or above. We started at 35 degrees and walked a 6km track to the lookout point. This was the hardest walk of the tour but I was completely fine. Drinking water was essential, so inevitably needing the loo all the time became the main topic of conversation. At some point that first day too, I rode a camel for $6. Bargain.
Then we went to the camp site and had a bbq for dinner, kindly organised by Rachel, our superb tour guide. There was beef, kangaroo which I thought was delicious, and then camel sausages. It was quite bizarre to eat camel when I had ridden one hours earlier. Yummy though.
Then we drove over to Ayers Rock for the sunset, which was beautiful. At that moment I got a real sense for how aeseomly old Australia is. To think it's been there for millions of years was astonsihing. There were a lot of tourists, many of whom were not on the el cheapo tour like us, but had champagne and loads of food accompanying this visual extravaganza. Luckily for us, as we were passing a table we saw there was some wine left and raised our voices saying "oh would you look at that, they've gone and left some wine in the bottle" to which the kind waitermanboy said we could have it. So we drank that there and then, and because the waitermanboy was feeling generous, being so close to christmas and all, he gave us a whole bottle for free! Well I thanked the gentleman and wished him a merry day and we ran off back to camp where the wine was consumed gratefully. Then we got into our little swags and lay under the stars praying it wouldn't rain. It didn't but we still had to get up at 3.45am, but it was worth it to see the sunrise at Ayers Rock.
Ayers Rock. It was gorgeous, better than the sunset because all the colours in the sky came to life and undulated quietly before us. We were offered the chance to climb it but it's extremely sacred to the aboriginals and extremely dangerous (somthing like 1/36 die either on the rock or afterwards) so we declined, and opted for the 10km base walk instead. That was done by 9am. I don't think I've ever achieved so much before 9am in my life. Then we wnt to the cultural centre, no biggie, then back to the resort for lunch. I didn't think I'd need by swimmers but there was a pool and some of our gang went it, and I thought, sod it, I'm hot and bothered and I want to swim, so I went in in my shorts and top not giving a hoot.
Then we went to our camp and had dinner. Some of us were rather bored so we played poker with forks, knives and spoons. We were on the swags that night too but this time it rained... unbeknowns to me however as Andrew told me the next morning I was the only one in our group not to wake up. I was lying there, face to the rain, blissfully unconscious whilst everyone else sought shelter. I love this fact.
On the final day, we got up at 5am, breakfasted then left camp for Kings Canyon. We had a lovely 6km walk round there though the weather was rather dull, overcast and raining from time to time, but we had fun ambling along and taking photos. After that we had lunch then drove home, many of us sleeping after our exertions*. That night we all went to Anie's Place for dinner, $5 meals, can't go wrong, then there were about 6 of us left at the end of the night dancing in Bojangles. What larks Pip!
On the way back to the YHA me and Andrew found a shopping trolley, and well, cos it would be rude not to, he pushed me all the way home in it. The next day a bunch of us were on the Ghan, including the 2 German guys, Jens and Toby, more on them later. In fact, ust more later, I can't be bothered at the moment, and we're leaving for Milton now.
*I had to look this up in the dictionary.