Well I’m back in Sydney again after one of the best experiences in my life. I’ve been up in Alice Springs and travelled for five days in the bush on one of the WayOutback dessert safaris.
This is something you really should do if you go up there, it’s been great !!.
So here is the full story.
Day 1 – Uluru (Ayers rock)
We started out bright and early travelling from Toddy’s, the backpacker I stayed at. Toddy’s is quite nice; they got both dorm rooms and ordinary rooms if you want that. All rooms have air condition, even thou it is somewhat noisy. And there are two pools, always nice when the quicksilver creep above 40.
We were picked up there at 5.30, did a round to pick up the rest of the people on my trip and went to the main office to do the registration and stuff like that. The first three days we were 14 people in the truck since they combine the three and five day trips. After the third day six of the people in my group went back to Alice and we picked up two new guys; Klaus and Simon from Germany, who was doing a two day trip.
After that we headed out towards Uluru. Our first stop was Stuarts Wells where we visited the camel farm, and some on the guys had a ride. Most people thou, just wanted a cold drink. The air condition in the truck broke down probably before we left Alice Springs, and since no one complained to much our guide Maryanne didn’t realise it until we got there. After that we continued on, but now with the windows open, which helps. Perhaps not the best start of such a trip but we eventually got used t not having air-conditioning and e got two spray bottles with water that helped people cool down if it got to hot.
After Stuarts Wells we drove on until we came to Mt. Ebenezer Roadhouse an Aborigine owned roadhouse. We stopped there for another drink and to have a look around.
Then we did the last stretch toward Uluru, just being fooled for a few seconds as we came across “foolaru” (Mt. Connor) at first glance it might look like Uluru, but when you have a closer look you can see that it’s not it.
Before we went to the base of Uluru we went to our camping ground and had lunch.
After lunch we went to the Uluru cultural centre, where there is a lot of information about the significance of Uluru in the Aborigine community and also some facts about how the rock came to be, and that what we see is only the top of the iceberg. Uluru is a moonlit, and it goes about 700 meters down.
After about an hour there we drove to the base of the rock and Maryanne told us some of the stories that are connected to it. We also went to see the place where you cold walk the rock. But since it was so hot you wouldn’t be able to do it. And for me that was OK, I wouldn’t have done it anyway out of respect. But we got the option to do an 1 ,2 or 4 km hike at the base of the rock, and I guess we were all a mad since we decided on the 4 km hike. It might be a nice walk except that the temperature was well a bow 40 degrees and flies was all over us the whole time. I guess that was the hardest of all the walks even if it was on flat ground.
After the walk we went back to our camp and then we went for a swim in the pool that is attached to the camp ground. That must be one of the best swims I’ve ever had
Before dinner we went up on a lookout point and had a watched the sunset over Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), having Champagne and hoping to see a red Uluru, but that didn’t happen.
Then we went back, started setting up camp and making dinner, Maryanne gave us a lesson in how to unpack, and pack a swag and we pretty much went straight to sleep after eating and tidying up.
Day 2 – Kats Tjuta (The Olgas)
We got up well before sunrise, packed all the stuff and had a quick breakfast before going of to see the sunrise. The sunrise was actually much better than the sundown, as it came over the horizon it painted Kata Tjuta in red. When the sun had made its début we drove to Kata Tjuta and did a 7.5 km round walk through the valley of the winds. This is a really nice walk, even if it’s rocky at times. After this walk we went back to the camp ground and had another swim and lunch before starting the drive towards Kings Creek Station.
At Kings Creek Station most of us just got straight in to the pool after some cold drinks and an ice cream, but the German couple went and did a helicopter sightseeing. We spent the night at Kings Creek Station, not down in the camp ground at the main site, but a few km further into the bush where the Wayoutback tour company got their own camp site. It was just gorgeous out there, and it even had a panoramic view from the toilet and the shower, since both of them don’t have doors.
Here we had dinner, and then we sat around the camp fire for a while, having a few beers and watching the crickets suiciding in our fire.
Day 3 – Kings Canyon
On day three we started out just before sunrise as we did the day before and drove to Kings Canyon. And we did the 6 km walk, with a stop about half way to have a swim in the pond in there. This was has to be then one I enjoyed the most, it’s really beautiful in there and the walking is actually not that hard, the start up “heart attack hill” in the start is the most strenuous part, but as soon as you get up the rest is pretty straight forward. Getting down into the canyon to go swimming has been prepared well with a few board walks and stairs.
This was the last day of the three day tour peoples so we drove back to Stuarts Wells where we lost six people and got the two new once. Driving back to Stuarts Wells we rode the Ernest Giles Road, which is basically just a dirt road. So we all got a good rattle
After doing the change we drove south east toward Oak Valley Aboriginal Community on the Hugh River stock route. Since I was riding up front at that time I was the one who got to get out at the six gates we had to pass through, actually it was seven, the last one being right at the camp ground. There we were met by Zero. Zero is one of Craigs dogs, Craig being the owner of the land we stayed on. Zero is a cross between a jack russel terrier and a chihuahua, Looks just like a jack russel, just smaller.
We sat up camp here and had dinner. After dinner when we were just sitting around chatting, one of the French guys picket up the wrong water bottle ending up taking a big swig of a bottle of cooking oil
Day 4 – Oak Valley
At day four we had a sleep in, meaning we got up at six just after the sun was up instead of before. Then Craig took us walking in the bush and told us some of the aborigine stories of his land and how to read some of the symbols in the aborigine paintings. He also showed us how his people would have been hunting and living in the old days.
We also went to a hill that used to be the shoreline, and the bottom of the sea. You can easily see that the rocks here are different from the surrounding hills and wherever you looked you would se fossils in the stone.
After having a look around his workshop where he did some painting and wood craft we hit the road again, heading for the East MacDonnell ranges.
We were driving the Owen Springs track when we came to a river passing where a three had fallen across the road, getting around that wasn’t to hard but then we didn’t get the speed we needed to get across the loose sand in the river and we got stuck. So then we had about an hour of digging, filling the track with stone and wood trying to get the truck out.
Eventually we got the truck out of the sand and we continued towards Glen Helen. At Glen Helen we walked the few hundred meters in to Ormiston Gorge and had a swim in the waterhole there. And then we went to the resort in Glen Helen to relax and have a beer and some cold drinks. While we were inn there Maryanne changed one of the rear tyres that had been damaged when we worked on getting the truck out of the sand, I don’t think anyone really knew what she was up to until someone saw here putting the damaged wheel under the truck there the spare had been.
After she got her cold drink to we headed up the road and the out into the bush to the “red truck camp site” It’s not a real camp site, it’s just a big red truck that has been abandoned in the middle of nowhere and somehow it has become a camp ground.
We got our fire going there and had dinner before we crept into our swags for the last time.
Day 5 – Eastern MacDonnell ranges
When I woke up it was a chill in the air. It was the coldest night we had for the whole trip I think. But it wasn’t bad. We did or usual morning routine, having breakfast and loading up the truck.
Then we went on to Ormiston gorge where we did the Pound walk. This is a 3 hours round walk that takes you around the mountains, into the pound and then back down through the gorge. The first part is really nice and easy, but walking the gorge is tiresome, it’s just large boulders and rocks so you use more time watching your feet that the scenery, but when we got to the first waterhole all that was forgotten.
When we came up to the grass we suddenly saw to rock wallabies coming out of the grass, and they were almost tame. We went swimming and he wallabies came to have a look at our cloths and the stuff we left on shore. Then when we walked on, one of them sat in the grass just a meter from where we were walking and had a feed.
A few hundred meters further down we got to the second waterhole, this is the place most people see if the just walk into the gorge, we spent a while here relaxing and swimming before we walked out to the truck and had lunch.
After lunch we drove to Tnorala (Goose Bluff) and had a look at the meteor crater. Maryanne wondered if we were up for another short walk and we found out that we’ll give it a shot.
This walk was into RedBank gorge a 40 minutes return walks with a really nice waterhole at the end.The first part of the walk was very easy, and the last parts were boulders again and we had to take it easy. Maryanne had a slip on the rocks, but it wasn’t worse that a sore bum luckily. After we swam the gorge for a while we walked back out to start the return trip back to Alice Springs, stopping only at Glen Helen for some cold drinks and a quick change out of our swimmers.
Back in Alice Springs I had a few hours at the hostel, having a proper shower and packing my stuff. Then we went to Bojangles for dinner and some drinks.